During its fiscal 2022, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has filed 82 enforcement actions, 22% of which concerned digital assets, highlighting the federal regulator's increased seriousness to crack down on illicit activities within the emerging space to safeguard consumers, according to a recent report.
Among the CFTC's most high-profile actions from the year included charges against stablecoin-issuer Tether (USDT-USD) as well as cryptocurrency trading platform Bitfinex. The companies agreed to a combined $42.5M settlement in October 2021, when digital asset valuations were at their heights.
In a more recent and unresolved case, the CFTC charged Miami, Florida resident, Adam Todd and four companies that he controlled over allegedly operating an illegal digital asset futures market. Elsewhere, the commodity watchdog charged crypto exchange Gemini in June over its misleading statements in 2017 regarding the attempted launch of what would have been America's first bitcoin (BTC-USD) futures contract.
It's no secret that regulators left and right have boosted their commitment in the past couple of years to make the crypto industry a safer destination for consumers and market participants that seek exposure. For instance, the CFTC bolstered its oversight of cryptos like bitcoin (BTC-USD) and ethereum (ETH-USD) after launching a new technology innovation division in July.
“In the face of unprecedented financial market conditions directly impacting American consumers, emerging technological disruption, and growing retail investor participation, the CFTC continues its unwavering commitment to a robust enforcement program ensuring the markets we oversee are open, transparent, fair and competitive,” CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam, said in a statement. “This FY 2022 enforcement report shows the CFTC continues to aggressively police new digital commodity asset markets with all of its available tools."
Crypto oversight in the U.S. hasn't just been limited to the CFTC. The Securities and Exchange Commission, of note, has brought of raft of enforcement actions in the past year. The agency said earlier this month that Kim Kardashian agreed to pay $1.26M to resolve charges that she touted a crypto asset security to her 332M followers on Instagram without disclosing the payment she received for the promotion.
Some industry leaders believe the crypto regulatory landscape remains fragmented and uncoordinated because there's still not a singular regulatory regime, which could result in a more streamlined rulemaking process. At the same time, they reckon that increased oversight is a positive for the space since more institutions that are wary about entering crypto will have greater clarity about what they're getting involved with. That means more institutional flows would enter the marketplace and crypto adoption, therefore, could expand.
Previously, (Oct. 17) Failed crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital probed by SEC, CFTC.