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CFTC Pays $16 Million to Crypto Whistleblowers in 2023

The United States commodities regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), has made significant payments totaling $16 million to whistleblowers throughout this year for providing crucial information that led to the successful enforcement of various cases. Notably, the majority of these tips pertained to the realm of cryptocurrency. In an announcement on October 31, CFTC Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero highlighted the prevalence of fraud and illicit activities within the cryptocurrency space.

Two whistleblowers were rewarded a substantial sum of $15 million for their contributions, which led to successful enforcement actions in September. However, the specific nature of these cases was not disclosed in the CFTC’s statement.

Romero underscored the vital role that whistleblowers play in curbing commodities fraud, stating that the CFTC relies on their information to protect customers and maintain the integrity of markets. She emphasized, “Whistleblowers help identify fraud and other illegality, interpret key evidence, and save considerable Commission resources and time. The faster we can stop fraud, the more we can protect customers from harm.”

The CFTC has also recognized the importance of education and outreach to combat cryptocurrency fraud. Its Office of Customer Education and Outreach provides guidance on recognizing, avoiding, and reporting fraudulent activities related to cryptocurrencies.

As the cryptocurrency market continues to expand, more retail customers have come under the CFTC’s jurisdiction. The CFTC’s whistleblower program, initiated in 2014, has paid out nearly $350 million to individuals who provided valuable information. These whistleblowers have played a pivotal role in leading to enforcement sanctions that have totaled over $3 billion.

In April, the CFTC secured a record $3.4 billion penalty in a case related to a Bitcoin fraud scheme. The regulator also achieved a significant victory in July when Digitex CEO Adam Todd was ordered to pay $16 million in penalties. Commissioner Romero has consistently stressed the importance of managing cryptocurrency-related risks to uphold market integrity, national security, and financial stability. She has advocated for stronger identity verification measures to reduce illicit finance within the cryptocurrency market. The CFTC’s continued efforts to root out fraud in the cryptocurrency space reflect its commitment to ensuring the protection of investors and maintaining fair and transparent markets.



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