CFTC Penalizes Blockchain Protocol $250K, Files Action Against Successor DAO

The commission said bZeroX offered illegal, off-exchange trading of digital assets, and has also filed a civil action against the Ooki DAO.

AccessTimeIconSep 22, 2022 at 10:05 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:57 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has issued an order filing and settling charges against blockchain software protocol bZeroX and its founders, the CFTC announced in a press release Thursday.

The order penalizes the protocol and its founders Tom Bean and Kyle Kistner $250,000 for offering illegal, off-exchange trading of digital assets, registration violations and neglecting to adopt a customer ID program required by the Bank Secrecy Act compliance program.

The CFTC has simultaneously filed a civil enforcement action charging the Ooki DAO, the successor to bZeroX, with violating the same laws as bZeroX. It seeks restitution, disgorgement, civil monetary penalties, trading and registration bans and injunctions against further violations.

“These actions are part of the CFTC’s broader efforts to protect U.S. customers in a rapidly evolving decentralized finance environment,” said Acting Director of Enforcement Gretchen Lowe in a statement. “Margined, leveraged, or financed digital asset trading offered to retail U.S. customers must occur on properly registered and regulated exchanges in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. These requirements apply equally to entities with more traditional business structures as well as to [decentralized autonomous organizations].”

Commissioner Summer Mersinger opposed the action, however, saying she was disappointed the commission chose to act.

"We cannot arbitrarily decide who is accountable for those violations based on an unsupported legal theory amounting to regulation by enforcement while federal and state policy is developing," Mersinger said in a statement explaining her dissent.

UPDATE (Sept. 22, 22:08 UTC): Added statement of opposition from Summer Mersinger.

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.

Nelson Wang

Nelson Wang was CoinDesk's news editor for the East Coast. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk's disclosure threshold of $1,000.


Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.


Read more about