Over a Fifth of Cases in CFTC’s 2022 Crackdown Were Crypto-Related

The federal regulator’s annual enforcement results revealed that over 20% of the CFTC’s enforcement actions in 2022 involved crypto.

AccessTimeIconOct 20, 2022 at 9:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 21, 2022 at 7:17 p.m. UTC

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) brought 82 enforcement actions in fiscal year 2022 – a whopping 22% of which were filed against crypto-related entities.

According to the federal regulator’s annual enforcement report published Thursday, the CFTC celebrated several of its big wins from the fiscal year, including filing charges against Tether and Bitfinex, which settled for a combined $42.5 million last October.

The CFTC’s report also highlights some of its other high-profile actions, many of which have not yet been resolved, including charges against decentralized finance (DeFi) exchange Digitex, which it has accused of operating an illegal futures market, and against anonymous members of Ooki DAO, who have been accused of offering illegal, off-exchange tokenized margin trading and lending services.

While many in the crypto industry see the CFTC as the “good cop” of crypto regulation and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as the “bad cop,” CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam seems eager to shed his agency’s reputation as being easy on crypto crime.

“In the face of unprecedented financial market conditions directly impacting American consumers, emerging technological disruption and growing retail investor participation, the CFTC continues its unwavering commitment to a robust enforcement program ensuring the markets we oversee are open, transparent, fair and competitive,” Behnam wrote in a press statement.

“This FY 2022 enforcement report shows the CFTC continues to aggressively police new digital commodity asset markets with all of its available tools. I personally thank the Enforcement Division’s hardworking and dedicated leadership team and staff,” he said.

Behnam has boasted that his agency – over the past decade – has brought in about $1.5 billion a year in fines from its enforcement actions, which he said was a pretty good "return on investment" for an average budget of about $240 million.

"That's pretty good for the taxpayer, and that's what my response is to anyone who says we're a light-touch regulator," he said last week.

Jesse Hamilton contributed reporting.


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 a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Cheyenne Ligon

Cheyenne Ligon was a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.

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.