Nexo lawsuit: U.S. regulator fines Nexo $45 million
The U.S. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has fined cryptocurrency lender Nexo Crypto $45 million over its unlicensed cryptocurrency deposit product to U.S. investors. This was reported on the regulator’s official website.
According to the SEC, Nexo began offering cryptocurrency deposit services to U.S. investors back in June 2020. In doing so, Nexo was free to use the assets on deposit to both fund business and pay out to other clients.
The exchange regulator also felt that the provision of cryptocurrency services fell under the Securities Act. SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said the regulator will continue to pursue cryptocurrency companies if they do not follow the law. Because of the investigation, Nexo is now banned from providing unlicensed services in the United States. Nexo confirmed the agreement with the SEC, but decided not to mention the amount of the fine. Nexo CEO Anthony Trenchev said that the company will now focus on providing services for the international market.
At the beginning of 2023, the media revealed that Nexo had come under the scrutiny of the Bulgarian prosecutor’s office because of possible money laundering, tax evasion, and other offenses. The Office of the Prosecutor General of Bulgaria said that “active investigative actions are underway to neutralize the illegal criminal activity of Nexo cryptobank.
Law enforcement agencies are interested in the company’s operating expenses in Bulgaria and are not talking about the firm’s clients. As journalists found out, Nexo is also suspected of violating sanctions against Russia and ties with the founder of the scandalous cryptocurrency pyramid OneCoin Ruja Ignatova. However, these and other charges against Nexo have never been made official.
Earlier, we reported that the Stellar Foundation will advise the CFTC on blockchain.
Polygon Labs president testifies on democratizing the internet with Web3, blockchains
The United States House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce gathered to discuss blockchain technology and the future of Web3 on June 7. Crypto industry members, including Polygon Labs president Ryan Wyatt and several legal experts, appeared before the committee to engage in what transpired to be a constructive dialogue.
This meeting was held just after the SEC announced back-to-back lawsuits against major crypto exchanges Binance and Coinbase. In Wyatt’s testimony, he discussed the potential of blockchain technology and its value to users, and the benefits of building a healthy and well-regulated blockchain ecosystem in the United States.
Wyatt began by addressing the fundamental problem blockchains solve — the “value extraction” problem on the internet. He explained that in the current era of the internet — commonly called “Web2” — large centralized tech companies extract value from users by charging fees for goods and services and collecting user data for their benefit.
According to Wyatt, blockchains solve this problem by democratizing the internet and creating Web3, which is based on decentralized and transparent systems. Blockchains use cryptography and a network of computers to secure and maintain information, eliminating the need for a centralized authority. In this Web3 model, users can control their data and choose when, how, and whether to share it with applications and services.
Regarding how the U.S. government could partner with the industry to advance modernization, Wyatt mentioned that the current regulatory environment is a significant barrier. By fostering a well-regulated blockchain ecosystem, Polygon Labs exec said the U.S. could maintain its competitive edge and ensure the technology industry thrives domestically:
“When regulation does not meet novel technology where it is, the U.S. loses its competitive edge over other countries.“
Finally, Wyatt argued that building a blockchain technology ecosystem in the U.S. benefits Americans by driving economic growth and creating jobs in both the technology and non-technical sectors. It can also allow for better consumer protection by leveraging the transparency of blockchains and aligning regulation with novel technologies.
Wyatt’s testimony provides several examples of Web3 applications and use cases, such as blockchain-based consumer loyalty programs, non fungible tokens in the fashion industry, blockchain-based community organizations, and blockchain solutions for supply chain management in the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Defense.
The hearing comes on the heels of a June 6 Agriculture Committee meeting where members grilled exchange executives and former regulators on compliance and consumer protection. It also marks the first time lawmakers have hosted a crypto hearing that addressed non-financial use cases.
SEC crackdown on Binance and Coinbase surge DeFi trading volumes 444%
The median trading volume across the top three decentralized exchanges (DEX) jumped 444% in the past 48 hours as crypto investors reeled from the United States securities regulator’s recent legal actions against cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and Binance.
According to aggregated data from CoinGecko, total daily trading volumes on Uniswap v3 (Ethereum), Uniswap v3 (Arbitrum) and PancakeSwap v3 (BSC) — which account for 53% of the total DEX trading volume in the last 24 hours — increased by more than $792 million between June 5 and June 7.
Additionally, the trading volume on Curve, a DEX that allows for the trading of stablecoins, spiked by 328%. At the time of writing, the bulk of the trading activity on Curve is focused on trading the U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoins USDC and Tether.
Trading volumes on DEXs briefly surpassed those of Coinbase during May’s memecoin frenzy. Crypto investors rushed to purchase tokens such as Pepe (PEPE) and Turbo (TURBO) through Uniswap and a number of other decentralized protocols as the memecoins were not listed on major centralized exchanges.
As DEX volumes surged, net outflows — the difference between the value of assets entering and exiting the exchange — on Binance reached a staggering $778 million. It’s worth noting that current net outflows are still much lower than the exchange’s total reserve. At the time of writing, Binance maintained a stablecoin balance of more than $8 billion.
The market frenzy comes amid a swathe of legal action against crypto exchanges by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). On June 6, the SEC sued Coinbase alleging it offered unregistered securities and acted as an unregistered securities broker among other charges.
A day earlier on June 5, the SEC sued Binance, Binance.US and Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) under similar allegations. The SEC alleged Binance failed to register as a securities exchange and was therefore illegally operating in the U.S.. According to the charges Zhao was sued as a “controlling person.”
SEC lawsuits squeeze net worths of Coinbase and Binance CEOs
The net worths of Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) have suffered heavy blows due to recent lawsuits by the United States securities regulator.
Armstrong’s net worth was slashed by $289 million and Zhao’s by $1.33 billion within a span of 30 hours after the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Binance on June 5 and then Coinbase on June 6, according to data from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and Forbes.
Zhao — the richest man in the crypto industry and the 54th richest person overall — had his net worth fall 5.1% to $26 billion this week.
While the Binance CEO’s net worth has rebounded by over 106% this year, he is still down over 73% from his highest net worth of $96.9 billion in January 2022.
Armstrong is ranked as the 1,409th richest person by Forbes and took the bigger hit from the SEC’s latest action with his net worth falling 11.8% to $2.2 billion.
The Coinbase CEO has managed to reap the rewards of a market rebound this year, with a 61% increase in net worth over that time.
Despite the recent fall, Zhao and Armstrong have seen net worth increases well above the 9% year-to-date returns for others on Bloomberg’s rich list.
The SEC sued both Binance and Coinbase, alleging the exchanges broke various securities rules, most notably for purportedly offering cryptocurrencies that the regulator considers to be unregistered securities.
Following the lawsuits, a total of 67 cryptocurrencies have now been classed as securities by the SEC.
Binance and Coinbase have both confirmed they will “vigorously” defend the lawsuits laid against them.
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