Coinbase CEO Claps Back At CFTC’s Anti-DeFi Moves



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The CFTC enforcement director has called decentralized finance (DeFi) exchanges an “obvious threat.” Coinbase CEO expresses concerns over this viewpoint. 

DeFi Exchanges Are “Obvious Threat”

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has raised concerns about the growing influence of decentralized finance (DeFi) exchanges.

During a speech at a conference hosted by the Practising Law Institute, CFTC enforcement director Ian McGinley emphasized the CFTC’s commitment to protecting the interests of regulated markets and customers. 

He stated, 

“The existence of unregulated DeFi exchanges is an obvious threat to the markets regulated and customers protected by the CFTC, and it is one we have taken very seriously.” 

The CFTC believes that unregulated DeFi exchanges pose significant risks and require scrutiny to ensure compliance with financial regulations.

This statement comes in the wake of the agency’s recent charges against three DeFi protocols: Opyn, ZeroEx, and Deridex. 

Enforcement Actions Against DeFi Protocols

The CFTC’s recent actions against Opyn, ZeroEx, and Deridex highlight their determination to enforce existing regulations within the DeFi space. According to McGinley, these three DeFi protocols were charged with engaging in activities that should have been registered with the CFTC. 

As a result of the charges, the protocols agreed to pay civil monetary penalties totaling $250,000, $200,000, and $100,000, respectively. 

McGinley referenced previous DeFi-related cases handled by the CFTC, such as those against Polymarket and Ooki DAO. Polymarket settled with the CFTC for $1.4 million, while the agency secured a victory in its case against Ooki DAO in June. 

These cases illustrate the CFTC’s commitment to blindly follow the word of the law, regardless of whether DeFi products are offered in a centralized or decentralized manner.

Coinbase CEO’s Proposal to Challenge CFTC

Following the CFTC’s actions against Opyn, ZeroEx, and Deridex, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong expressed reservations about the charges. He urged DeFi protocols not to settle but instead to challenge these cases in court to establish a legal precedent. 

Armstrong argued that the claims against these protocols lack substance and questioned whether the Commodity Exchange Act even applies to them. 

He stated, 

“These are not financial service businesses, and it’s highly unlikely the Commodity Exchange Act even applies to them…My hope is these DeFi protocols take these cases to court to establish precedent…The courts have proven to be very willing to uphold rule of law. The only thing this is accomplishing is to push an important industry offshore.”

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. 



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