The SEC has collected $2.4 billion in crypto-related fines since 2013
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken 97 actions against crypto users since 2013, 20 of which occurred in 2021.
In one report 19 by Cornerstone Research, the SEC has fined digital asset market participants a total of approximately $2.35 billion since 2013.
The SEC Cryptocurrency Law Enforcement: Update 2021 report shows that between 2013 and the end of 2021, the SEC took a total of 97 regulatory actions worth $2.35 billion.
58 out of 97 complaints are complaints and the remaining 39 administrative proceedings. Of the $2.35 billion total raised, $1.71 billion was raised from litigation and $640 million from administrative litigation.
Statistics of the SEC’s crypto-related lawsuits | Source: Cornerstone Research
The majority of the defendants are corporations, accounting for $1.86 billion of the $2.35 billion total. Meanwhile, the amount raised from individuals totaled $490 million.
Although the SEC issued the first fine against a crypto market participant in July 2013, the report points out that SEC-initiated lawsuits in this area really only started in 2017, according to SEC.
The agency filed 20 out of 97 lawsuits in 2021, 14 of which were heard in US federal courts and 6 in administrative proceedings. Of these 20 total law enforcement actions, 70% are related to ICOs. The report states:
“Of the 20 law enforcement complaints filed in 2021, 65% allege fraud, 80% allege violations of unregistered securities offerings, and 55% allege violations of both.”
The report’s author, Simona Mola, wrote in a statement that the SEC’s recent crackdown on cryptocurrencies could be linked to the appointment of SEC Chairman Gary Gensler in April 2021, noting that the SEC’s enforcement actions ended between May and “significantly increased” became mid-September.
“The SEC has taken some of the first actions against crypto lending platforms, unregistered digital asset exchanges and DeFi lending companies. They also issued one of the largest fines we have seen in enforcement actions related to the Telegram ICO.”
Cornerstone Research vice president Abe Chernin said these strict measures will continue into the new year.
“Given the SEC’s continued focus on this area, we could see even greater scrutiny of certain market participants such as DeFi platforms in 2022.”
In the last week of December 2021, Gensler hired new staff, Corey Frayer, to advise the cryptocurrency regulator. This comes after news that Elad Roisman will be stepping down from his position as a board member of the SEC.
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