Exchanges and broker-dealers looking to lure customers will naturally take all reasonable steps to appear reputable and transparent. But some go much further and claim legal status that they do not rightfully possess.
The CFTC Clamps Down on False Claims of Legal Status
According to the CFTC’s announcement, eight firms made representations to customers and prospective clients. Claiming that they were either retail foreign exchange dealers or futures commission merchants registered with the CFTC.
The eight respondents are altux-fx-miner, AstroFXMinners, Avadigital-Miners.com, Globalbitasset, Gold Life Investment, Matchlessfxminer, PrimeCapitalTrade, and Trading-Extramining.
The firms traded many different types of products. Including digital assets, options, futures, and forex. They all claimed CFTC registration. And not only that, but the firms claimed membership in the National Futures Association under a common identification number.
The CFTC’s complaint asks for an order requiring all these firms to stop violating the Commodity Exchange Act.
“The CFTC will continue to police fraudulent claims of registration, which harm customers and undermine faith in our regulated markets,” said Ian McGinley, the CFTC’s director of enforcement.
Learn more about the CFTC’s aggressive moves against entities it deems to have betrayed the public’s trust.
Is the CFTC Overstepping Bounds?
This aggressive enforcement action is of a piece with tough rhetoric coming from the CFTC of late. In a September 7 talk, Commissioner Caroline Pham called for “robust guardrails” around the crypto industry and conveyed her demand for a “compliant” sector.
Pham floated the idea of a pilot program for the digital assets space. But, critically, a program where the CFTC, not crypto firms and exchanges, would devise and enforce the rules. And would have the ultimate say over everything.
The CFTC has grown so proactive that none other than Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, has called on the industry to stand up to regulatory bullying. In a September 13 comment posted on X (formerly Twitter), Armstrong said that decentralized finance (DeFi) players are not really subject to the Commodity Exchange Act.
When faced with a choice between settling with the CFTC, and taking a stand in court, firms should do the latter, Armstrong argued. And thereby build a body of law that will be useful in future legal challenges.
“My hope is that these DeFi protocols take these cases to court to establish precedent. The courts have been very willing to uphold rule of law,” he stated.
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