The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has filed lawsuits against three DeFi companies – Opyn, ZeroEx and Deridex – for illegal derivatives trading and operating without a license.
According to the agency, all firms are charged with “using blockchain-based protocols and smart contracts to function as trading platforms.”
They are also accused of illegally offering retail commodity transactions and leveraged margin transactions in digital assets, the CFTC stressed.
Opyn, ZeroEx and Deridex will pay fines of $250,000, $200,000 and $100,000 respectively. The companies have agreed to these terms in order to settle the claims.
“Somewhere along the way, DeFi operators realized that illegal transactions become legal if they are facilitated by smart contracts,” said Ian McGinley, director of enforcement at the CFTC.
The regulator is closest to the Californian ZeroEx. In 2021, the agency hired former project lawyer Jason Somensatto as head of fintech research.
However, not everyone in the Commission agreed with the verdict.
“In these cases, there is nothing to indicate that customer funds have been misappropriated or that any market participants have been victims of DeFi protocols. I am concerned that the Commission in these cases is taking another step down the path of enforcement when we should be engaging with the public,” said Commissioner Summer Mersinger.
Recall that on March 27, 2023, the CFTC accused the Binance exchange of violating the rules for trading derivatives and operating without a license. According to the department, the company was also aware that its customers were sanctioned persons.
The CFTC said that Binance intentionally violated the rules. In response to the accusations, platform CEO Changpeng Zhao noted that the Commission’s claims contained an “incomplete statement of facts.” He went on to denounce “enforced crypto regulation” by regulators.
In July, Binance filed a motion to dismiss the CFTC lawsuit.
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