The SEC has issued $2.4 billion in cryptocurrency-related fines since 2013

Since 2013, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has levied about $2.35 billion in fines against participants in the digital asset market, according to a Jan. 19 report from Cornerstone Research.

The report, “U.S. SEC Enforcement of Cryptocurrencies: A 2021 Update,” found that between 2013 and the end of 2021, the U.S. SEC took a total of 97 enforcement actions worth $2.35 billion.

Of the total of 97 actions, 58 were class actions and the remaining 39 were administrative actions. Of the 2.35 billion yuan raised through litigation, 1.71 billion yuan came from litigation and 640 million yuan came from administrative litigation.


Source of allegations in U.S. SEC cryptocurrency lawsuit: Cornerstone Research

Most of those charged were “corporate respondents,” accounting for $1.86 billion of the $2.35 billion total. Meanwhile, the remaining $490 million came from individual respondents.

Although the U.S. SEC first fined cryptocurrency participants in July 2013, the report noted that SEC-initiated lawsuits in the crypto space only started to increase in 2017. Between 2013 and 2017, there were only 6 crypto cases initiated by the US SEC.

The agency filed 20 of 97 lawsuits in 2021 — 14 conduct actions and six administrative actions in U.S. federal court. Of a total of 20 enforcement actions, 70% were related to initial coin offerings (ICOs). The report states:

“Of the 20 enforcement actions initiated in 2021, 65% allege fraud, 80% allege unregistered securities offering violations, and 55% allege both.”

The report’s author, Simona Mola, wrote in a statement that the SEC’s latest crackdown on cryptocurrencies may be related to the April 2021 appointment of SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, noting that the SEC’s SEC’s recent crackdown on cryptocurrencies between the end of May and mid-September Law enforcement has “significantly increased”.

“The SEC has taken some of the first actions against crypto lending platforms, unregistered digital asset exchanges, and decentralized finance (DeFi) lenders for the first time. It also imposed what we saw in ICO-related enforcement actions after Telegram. One of the biggest fines ever seen,” she wrote.

“We can expect these draconian measures to continue into the new year,” said Abe Chernin, vice president of Cornerstone Research.

“Given the SEC’s continued focus on this space, 2022 may see further scrutiny of certain market players such as DeFi platforms.”

In the last week of December 2021, Gensler added a new employee, Corey Frayer, to help advise the agency on cryptocurrency regulation. Prior to this, it was reported that Elad Roisman will resign as a member of the US SEC board of directors.

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