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In a show of regulatory muscle, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) clamped down on illicit activities in the crypto space in 2023.

The Commission’s Division of Enforcement filed a record-setting 96 enforcement actions across diverse markets, resulting in penalties and restitution exceeding $4.3 billion. 

CFTC Flexes Crypto Regulatory Muscles

The CFTC’s unwavering commitment to the integrity of US derivatives markets was evident in its groundbreaking work in the digital asset space. In a statement, Chairman Rostin Behnam emphasized,

“The Commission continues to remain laser-focused on stopping and deterring fraud and manipulation in the US…I am proud of the Division of Enforcement’s groundbreaking work in the digital asset space, which resulted in a record number of cases.”

The CFTC’s efforts were particularly pronounced in the crypto arena, where the majority of anonymous tips received in 2023 were related to crypto-related fraud. This data underscores the pervasive illegality plaguing this emerging market.

Read more: 15 Most Common Crypto Scams To Look Out For

In FY 2023, it brought 47 actions related to digital asset commodities. This represents over 49% of all actions filed during that period. 

Director of Enforcement Ian McGinley lauded the Division’s efforts, saying,

“The Division of Enforcement’s FY 2023 results demonstrate the CFTC’s relentless commitment to accountability, deterrence, customer protection, and ensuring market integrity.” 

Whistleblowers Earn Millions of Dollars

Notable actions included high-profile complaints against major exchanges, Ponzi schemers, and a first-of-its-kind litigation victory against a DAO. The CFTC also charged and won a litigation victory against a digital asset futures platform.

The CFTC’s whistleblower program also played a crucial role in the fight against crypto-related fraud.

Crypto Scam Revenue 2017-2022. Source: Chainalysis
Crypto Scam Revenue 2017-2022. Source: Chainalysis

The program awarded almost $350 million to whistleblowers, with over $3 billion in enforcement sanctions in associated cases. This year alone, the CFTC disbursed $16 million in awards. This includes more than $15 million to two whistleblowers who provided significant information leading to successful enforcement cases.

The CFTC’s aggressive stance on crypto-related fraud in 2023 sends a clear message to market participants. The Commission will not tolerate illicit activities that undermine the integrity of the US derivatives markets.


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