The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) decided to issue a type of report card for itself in which it said that the year had a very impactful and productive one.
This was regarding the crypto market and the enforcement actions it has taken against digital assets in the year.
It comes at a time when there is speculation rampant in the market about the securities regulator approving a Bitcoin spot exchange-traded fund (ETF).
Gurbir S. Grewal, the director of the SEC’s enforcement division, said in the market that they have to use a sense of urgency to ensure investor protection and boost trust in the market.
He stated that it requires using all the tools they have at their disposal, whether it is through demanding substantial remedies, using risk-based initiatives or giving rewards for cooperation.
He went on to say that the Enforcement Division had worked for the public and had protected whistleblowers, along with returning almost a billion dollars to investors who had been harmed.
The report revealed that the total number of enforcement actions that the SEC had taken related to digital assets and crypto asset securities this year stood at over two dozen.
The enforcement actions
This marks an increase in the number of enforcement actions taken in the years before and shows that the SEC has increased their focus where the crypto industry is concerned.
Gary Gensler, the Chairman of the SEC, described the agency as a cop that was following the law and facts to ensure accountability of wrongdoers.
Charges were filed by the SEC against many major crypto firms as well as executives for not registering their crypto exchanges and offerings and for alleged fraud.
Some of the prominent cases include charges filed against Do Kwon, the founder of Terraform Labs, and Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the FTX crypto exchange.
The two were accused of stealing investor funds worth billions of dollars.
Gensler stated that there had been tremendous growth recorded in the crypto market, but misconduct had also gone up.
Therefore, he said that to protect crypto investors, the SEC had pursued enforcement actions vigorously to eliminate any wrongdoing.
Crypto firms, such as Nexo, Gemini, Genesis, Kraken, and Celsius, were also charged by the regulatory body. Nexo and Kraken paid penalties worth $22.5 million and $30 million, respectively.
The SEC also targeted wrongdoers in the NFT space this year, which included charges of conducting unregistered and illegal offerings of crypto asset securities.
These were filed against Stoner Cats 2 LLC and Impact Theory LLC. The SEC also scrutinized many celebrity crypto endorsements in 2023.
Kim Kardashian, the reality TV star, was also charged by the agency for promoting crypto assets on social media without disclosing that she had been paid for it.
Kardashian agreed to settle the charges for a payment of $1.26 million. Furthermore, other celebrities were also mentioned in the report.
These included Miles Parks McCollum, Michele Mason, YouTube celebrity Jake Paul, Lindsay Lohan, Shaffer Smith, Austin Mahone and NBA player Paul Pierce, amongst others.