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The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has issued a critical warning to crypto exchanges, signaling heightened scrutiny of the digital asset space.
CFTC's basis for warning
Recent statements from prominent figures within the CFTC have highlighted the regulatory commitment to enforcing compliance with existing trade laws. The warning is particularly significant in light of ongoing legal battles involving major crypto players, such as FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried and Binance's former CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao.
Per the reports, CFTC Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero issued a stern warning to crypto exchanges, emphasizing that "there are no pirate ships in US markets." Goldsmith made it clear that access to U.S. customers is considered a privilege, not a right, and that the CFTC intends to maintain its aggressive pursuit of exchanges that violate trade laws.
The commissioner explicitly stated that there would be zero tolerance for the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or any other measures designed to circumvent Know Your Customer (KYC) rules. This includes attempts to evade detection through pop-up questions that merely ask users to attest to being non-U.S. residents.
In a separate statement, Commissioner Caroline D. Pham emphasized the global reach of the CFTC, stating unequivocally that "the CFTC's reach has no border."
High-profile cases in broader crypto space
The CFTC's warning comes at a time when the crypto industry is witnessing high-profile legal cases.
Bankman-Fried, charged with seven criminal counts, including conspiracy to commit money laundering, has pled not guilty, was convicted by a jury, and is awaiting sentencing at New York's Metropolitan Detention Center. The severity of the charges could potentially result in a prison sentence of up to 115 years.
In a parallel development, Zhao faced charges and resigned from his position as CEO after pleading guilty. Binance, one of the largest crypto exchanges globally, is slated to pay more than $4.3 billion in fines.