In a significant development for the decentralized finance (DeFi) space, the United States Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has taken legal action against three DeFi protocols operating within the country. The charges pertain to these projects’ failure to register as merchants and their involvement in illegal offerings of digital asset commodities.
The Accused Projects
Nature of the Charges The CFTC has accused these DeFi projects of engaging in unauthorized “leveraged and margined” digital asset commodity transactions without obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals.
Penalties and Cease and Desist Orders As part of the settlement, the CFTC has imposed the following penalties on the accused projects:
- Opyn: $250,000
- ZeroEx: $200,000
- Deridex: $100,000
Additionally, the CFTC has ordered these projects to cease operations that violate CFTC rules.
Smart Contracts Do Not Override Regulation In response to the evolving DeFi landscape, CFTC Director of Enforcement Ian McGinley emphasized a crucial point: the use of smart contracts does not transform unlawful transactions into lawful ones. This statement underscores the CFTC’s commitment to upholding regulatory standards, even in the rapidly changing DeFi sector.
Enforcement in the DeFi Space McGinley also highlighted that while the DeFi space is novel and complex, the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement will adapt and vigorously pursue those who operate unregistered platforms that enable U.S. individuals to trade digital asset derivatives.
This legal action sends a clear message to DeFi operators regarding the importance of regulatory compliance in an industry known for its innovation and rapid growth.