American crypto industry racks up over $2 billion in fines

US financial regulator intensified its crackdown on crypto in recent years

A report by Cornerstone Research shows that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has brought a total of 97 enforcement actions worth $2.35 billion against participants in the digital asset marketplace since 2013.

According to the research, 58 of those actions were litigations and the remaining 39 were administrative proceedings. Of the total $2.35 billion in penalties, $1.71 billion was charged in litigation and $640 million in administrative proceedings.

The majority of those charged were “firm respondents only,” racking up $1.86 billion of the total. Individual respondents were charged the remaining $490 million. 

“Of the 20 enforcement actions brought in 2021, 65% alleged fraud, 80% alleged an unregistered securities offering violation, and 55% alleged both,” the report noted.


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According to the document, the recent crackdown on crypto may be linked to the appointment of SEC chair Gary Gensler in April 2021, as enforcement had been “notably high” between the end of May and mid-September. 

Those tough measures are expected to continue into the new year, Cornerstone Research Vice President Abe Chernin said. “Given the SEC’s continued focus on this space, in 2022, we may see further scrutiny of certain market participants such as DeFi platforms.”

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