The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been ruling the cryptocurrencies market with a heavy hand for several years, but after the lawsuit with Ripple, the policymaker stepped up. In fact, in 2022 the SEC has acted harder than in any other year.
SEC was much busier in 2022
Cornerstone Research writes in a research report that by 2022 the SEC has issued 30 enforcement actions against “participants in digital asset markets,” which includes both individuals and companies. That is 50% more than in 2021, and it is also the highest number since it started measuring in 2013.
Only 2020 came close, when the SEC sued 29 companies and individuals. The research firm shows that the SEC was overall more active in the crypto market in 2020. Thowever, it then processed five more “administrative cases” settled in a district court.
70% of the companies charged were suspected of fraud, 73% were suspected of offering unregistered securities and 50% were suspected of both. In total, there were 79 defendants in 2022. 71% of that was an individual, only 29% was a company. This may be partly due to the fact that in many cases, in addition to one company, several individuals have also been charged.
SEC is not done with crypto yet
A major SEC victory was the lawsuit against BlockFi, which has been ordered to pay a $100 million fine for offering interest accounts based on unregistered securities with remarkably high interest rates. Also, the SEC won the case against LBRY. This company also allegedly sold its token as unregistered securities.
Some lawyers also expect the SEC to go after Yuga Labs, the company that issued the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs. The NFTs would also be unregistered securities. The creators are also accused of seducing celebrities in another lawsuit. The lawsuit with Ripple has also yet to be completed. It is not yet clear what the verdict will be.
Since 2013, the policymaker has taken 127 cryptocurrency-related enforcement measures. This includes 82 court cases and 45 administrative actions. The fines it handed out in total earned the SEC $ 2.61 billion, of which $ 242 million reached the SEC in 2022.