Trends in CFTC Virtual Currency Enforcement Actions—2015–Q2 2020

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This report analyzes CFTC enforcement actions against virtual currency market participants, including traders, issuers, exchanges, and service providers.

As one of the regulators engaged in the cryptocurrency space, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has been bringing enforcement actions against virtual currency market participants, including traders, issuers, exchanges, and service providers. From January 1, 2015, to June 30, 2020, the CFTC brought 19 such actions.

Virtual Currency Enforcement Action Overview

  • Of the 19 actions between 2015 and Q2 2020, 14 were litigated in U.S. district courts. The other five were resolved within the CFTC as orders and simultaneous settlements.
  • The year 2018 had the highest number of enforcement actions by the newly formed CFTC Division of Enforcement’s Virtual Currency Task Force.
Case Duration

  • As of June 30, 2020, six of the 14 actions litigated in U.S. courts had reached a resolution.
  • The average time from the date of the complaint filing to the case resolution was 292 days.
Allegations

  • The majority of actions involved an allegedly fraudulent scheme, with 14 out of the 19 involving allegedly misleading investors in the trading of commodities, commodity futures contracts or options.
  • Eight of the actions involved a commodity trader allegedly failing to register with the CFTC.

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The views expressed in this report are solely those of the authors, who are responsible for the content, and do not necessarily represent the views of Cornerstone Research.

Authors

  • Chicago

Abe Chernin

Vice President

  • Washington

Nicole M. Moran

Principal

  • Washington

Simona Mola

Senior Manager