The pace of the SEC’s crypto crackdown ramped up last week with its highest profile actions against crypto trading platforms since the crypto market turmoil at the end of 2022. The SEC’s actions place crypto trading platforms and the market as a whole on extremely uncertain regulatory footing in the US, and the frustration from the industry is palpable.
On February 9, 2023, the SEC announced that it had settled charges against the world’s third largest centralized crypto exchange by volume for offering a crypto staking program that the SEC deemed to be the offering and selling of unregistered securities.
FINRA recently updated the industry on observations to date from its August 2021 sweep on broker-dealer practices and controls concerning the opening of options accounts and related issues (options account supervision, communications, and diligence).
Covering six key priorities related to digital assets. While this does not constitute a change in policy, it does highlight the administration’s desire to encourage both regulation and innovation in this space.
On March 17, 2022, FINRA issued Regulatory Notice 22-10 clarifying the scope of potential liability for CCOs related to supervision lapses. Specifically, unless a CCO is actually designated, directly or indirectly, with supervisory responsibilities, within the meaning of the relevant rule, supervision failures or deficiencies will not result in a FINRA enforcement action against a CCO.
The SEC’s order found that Blotics violated the anti-touting provisions of the federal securities laws by failing to disclose the compensation it received from issuers of the digital asset securities it profiled.