Crypto Crackdown: Here Are All The Major Crypto Firms Facing Charges From Regulators This Year

The cryptocurrency trading platform Beaxy announced Wednesday it will shut down due to a lawsuit from the Securities and Exchange Commission accusing it of skirting federal law, becoming the latest firm to be ensnared in a wide-ranging crackdown on allegedly illegal crypto activity.


March 29: The crypto exchange Beaxy ceased operations after it was charged by the SEC with failing to register as a securities exchange, in a complaint that also alleged the company’s founder, Artak Hamazaspyan, misappropriated $900,000 of customer money for gambling and other personal uses.

March 27: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance and its chief executive Changpeng Zhao, alleging the firm had worked to “keep the money flowing and avoid compliance,” including by letting U.S. customers trade on its platform even though it isn’t registered under U.S. law (Zhao called the suit “unexpected and disappointing”).

March 24: Do Hyeong Kwon, founder of the stablecoin TerraUSD and its companion token Luna, was charged with fraud by U.S. prosecutors after he was arrested in Montenegro, adding to a civil suit brought against him by the SEC in February, nine months after the sudden collapse of both tokens last year.

March 22: The SEC announced charges against Justin Sun and three of his companies over the sale of the tokens Tronix and BitTorrent, which the agency said are unregistered securities—the agency also charged eight celebrities with illegally promoting the tokens, including Akon, Lindsay Lohan and Lil Yachty.

March 22: Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase said it received a notice indicating that the SEC had identified possible violations of securities law—the SEC focused partly on Coinbase’s “staking” service, which pays a return if customers allow their crypto to be set aside to help process blockchain transactions (Coinbase called the move “disappointing” and argued the industry has faced “conflicting statements from regulators”).

February 28: Nishad Singh became the third executive from the once-dominant cryptocurrency exchange FTX to plead guilty to charges of criminal fraud, amid a federal investigation into the crypto giant after it collapsed late last year and its former leader Sam Bankman-Fried was criminally charged.

February 22: The Federal Trade Commission announced it was investigating crypto lender Voyager Digital—which filed for bankruptcy in 2022—for the company’s “deceptive and unfair marketing of cryptocurrency to the public,” according to a filing.

February 9: The crypto exchange Kraken agreed to pay the SEC $30 million in penalties and to cease offering staking services to U.S. customers, after the agency said Kraken failed to register the service under securities law (the firm that runs Kraken did not admit to or deny the SEC’s allegations as part of its settlement).

January 19: Crypto lender Nexo Capital agreed to pay the SEC $45 million in fees and fines after the agency charged it with allowing its customers to earn interest on their cryptocurrency savings—though Nexo never admitted to any wrongdoing.

January 18: The Justice Department announced charges against the cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato and its founder, Anatoly Legkodymov, alleging the Hong Kong-based company had processed more than $700 million in illicit funds and failed to meet U.S. regulatory standards.

January 12: The SEC charged cryptocurrency lender Genesis Global Capital and the crypto exchange Gemini Trust—owned by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, two twins who are known for claiming they created the idea for Facebook—with offering unregistered securities to investors with the promise of high interest on deposits through a program called Gemini Earn, causing Genesis to file for bankruptcy a week later.


$19,873. That’s the price Bitcoin—the biggest cryptocurrency in terms of market cap—fell to on March 10, the first time the token crossed under the $20,000 mark since January. This is a 71% percent decrease from its all-time high of $68,990 in November 2021. Bitcoin later rebounded, reaching more than $28,000 by March 29.


SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has signaled for years that the once-freewheeling cryptocurrency sector will face tougher federal regulation, arguing in 2021 that the crypto market—which he called “the Wild West”—was full of “fraud, scams and abuse” because there weren’t enough protections for investors as tokens surged in price. Gensler suggested that investor protection rules that cover equities and derivatives should also apply to crypto exchanges, and has argued some cryptocurrencies are securities, an argument challenged by crypto firms. Despite a surge in prices for tokens like Bitcoin in 2021, crypto markets experienced a loss of nearly $2 trillion in market value the following year amid rising inflation and fears of a recession. Popular cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, ether and BNB fell as much as 70%, 75% and 65% from record highs, respectively, as some cryptocurrency companies collapsed or laid off thousands of employees between June and August. The year concluded with the fall of crypto exchange FTX and its affiliated trading firm Alameda Research, drawing scrutiny about the two firms’ operations that later led to a number of fraud charges against founder Bankman-Fried.


A crackdown on crypto firms is complemented by the shutdown of two major banks that served the cryptocurrency industry. Crypto banking giant Silvergate Bank announced in March that it was ending operations and liquidating its assets—resulting in Bitcoin falling below $20,000 for the first time in nearly two months. The bank is also being investigated by the Justice Department over its dealings with FTX and Alameda Research, though the bank has not been accused of fraud or any wrongdoing, according to Bloomberg. Signature Bank—also known for its crypto operations—was also closed by New York regulators and taken over by the FDIC after facing a surge of withdrawals that coincided with the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

Source: Forbes

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