Poloniex Cryptocurrency Exchange Agrees to Pay $10.4 Million to Settle US SEC Charges

The SEC said despite operating its trading platform, Poloniex did not register as a national securities exchange with regulators.

Poloniex Cryptocurrency Exchange Agrees to Pay $10.4 Million to Settle US SEC Charges

Poloniex did not register as a national securities exchange with regulators

Highlights
  • Poloniex chose increased profits over compliance
  • Poloniex was acquired in 2018 by Circle
  • Circle announced last month it plans to go public

The US Securities and Exchange Commission said Poloniex has agreed to pay roughly $10.4 million (roughly Rs. 77.43 crores) to settle charges of operating as an unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange.

The US regulator said Poloniex agreed to settle without admitting or denying the charges.

Launched in 2014, Poloniex was acquired in 2018 by Circle, a payments and digital currency firm whose backers include Goldman Sachs.

Circle announced last month it plans to go public later this year through a merger with special-purpose acquisition company Concord Acquisition in a deal that would value the cryptocurrency firm at $4.5 billion (roughly Rs. 33,460 crores).

In Monday's order, the SEC said from July 2017 through November 2019, Poloniex operated a Web-based global trading platform that "facilitated buying and selling digital assets, including digital assets that were investment contracts and therefore securities." That trading platform was available to US investors as well.

The SEC said despite operating its trading platform, Poloniex did not register as a national securities exchange with regulators.

"Poloniex chose increased profits over compliance with the federal securities laws by including digital asset securities on its unregistered exchange," said Kristina Littman, chief of the SEC enforcement division's cyber unit.

The order came amid a commitment from SEC Commissioner Gary Gensler to better oversee the cryptocurrency sector. Gensler, at a global conference last week, urged Congress to give the agency more authority to police cryptocurrency trading, lending and platforms, which he called a "Wild West" riddled with fraud and investor risk.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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