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SEC Crypto Enforcement Reached New High in 2023

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) crypto enforcement skyrocketed in 2023, with more than a 50% increase in crypto-related enforcement actions compared to 2022, according to a new report. The securities regulator “continues to view cryptocurrency-related enforcement as a top priority, bringing 46 enforcement actions against various digital-asset market participants,” the report details.

SEC Prioritizes Crypto Enforcement

Cornerstone Research released a report this week titled “SEC Cryptocurrency Enforcement,” revealing that the SEC’s enforcement focus on digital assets reached a new high last year.

“The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues to view cryptocurrency-related enforcement as a top priority, bringing 46 enforcement actions against various digital-asset market participants in 2023,” Cornerstone Research described, elaborating:

This number is the highest since 2013 and a 53% increase from 2022.

“In the first quarter of 2023 alone, the SEC brought 20 actions, the highest number in a single quarter,” the report adds.

The report outlines that “of the 46 enforcement actions, the SEC brought 26 litigations in U.S. federal courts and 20 administrative proceedings in 2023. There were more than triple the administrative proceedings from last year, and the number of litigations increased slightly. The SEC imposed $281 million in monetary penalties for settlements reached.”

In 2023, about 37% of the SEC’s enforcement actions were linked to initial coin offerings (ICOs), a decrease from the 47% reported in 2022. Among the 17 ICO-related actions, 82% involved fraud allegations. Notably, the SEC initiated two administrative proceedings related to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for the first time.

The report details:

Chair Gensler has noted that ‘enforcement is a tool, not the destination,’ and the number of SEC enforcement actions brought in the crypto space has ramped up over the last two years.

The SEC brought charges against 124 individuals or entities in cryptocurrency enforcement actions in 2023, with 54% being individuals and 46% representing firms. Notably, the percentage of enforcement actions solely targeting individuals decreased from 50% in the previous year to 39%.

What do you think about SEC enforcement actions against crypto individuals and firms hitting a record high? Let us know in the comments section below.

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