3 DeFi firms face charges from CFTC

  • The CFTC charged three firms with illegally offering leveraged and margined retail commodity transactions involving digital assets.
  • Critics have voiced their concerns over the CFTC’s enforcement actions.

The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC] has taken significant regulatory action against three decentralized finance [DeFi] protocols for their alleged failure to register various derivatives trading offerings.

In a statement on 8 September, the CFTC revealed that it had issued orders against Opyn, ZeroEx, and Deridex.

Specifically, Deridex and Opyn faced charges for failing to register as a swap execution facility or designated contract market, as well as failing to register as a futures commission merchant.

Additionally, the CFTC found that both protocols failed to comply with customer provisions outlined in the Bank Secrecy Act.

CFTC imposes significant penalties and cease-and-desist orders

All three firms also faced charges for the illegal offering of leveraged and margined retail commodity transactions involving digital assets. As a result of these actions, the CFTC’s orders required Opyn, ZeroEx, and Deridex to pay penalties of $250,000, $200,000, and $100,000, respectively.

Furthermore, the CFTC ordered them to cease and desist from violating the Commodity Exchange Act and the CFTC’s regulations. The firms have agreed to settle the charges brought against them.

Ian McGinley, the CFTC’s director of enforcement, emphasized the importance of DeFi platforms adhering to legal boundaries, stating,

“DeFi operators got the idea that unlawful transactions become lawful when facilitated by smart contracts… they do not.”

He also added that the Division of Enforcement will continue to evolve and aggressively pursue those operating unregistered platforms.

However, not everyone is pleased with the CFTC’s actions. Ryan Sean Adams, co-host of Bankless, criticized the CFTC’s enforcement actions. He considered them as yet another attack on the DeFi sector.

Opyn, one of the DeFi platforms targeted, functions as an investment strategy platform. It had approximately $23 million in total volume locked (TVL) on its protocol at the time of the CFTC’s actions. ZeroEx, on the other hand, operates as an Ethereum [ETH]-based decentralized exchange.

Deridex, the third platform subject to the CFTC’s actions, was an Algorand [ALGO]-powered derivatives platform. However, the project unexpectedly ceased operations in February, resulting in a decrease in its TVL from about $150,000 to $133 as of 8 September, according to data from DefiLlama.

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