The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a total of approximately $2.35 billion in penalties against participants in the digital asset marketplace since 2013 according to a Jan 19 report by Cornerstone Research.

The report, SEC Cryptocurrency Enforcement: 2021 Update, found that the SEC brought a total of 97 enforcement actions worth $2.35 billion between 2013 and the end of 2021.

Fifty eight of the total of 97 were actions litigations and the remaining 39 were administrative proceedings. Of the total $2.35 billion raised by the litigations, $1.71 billion was charged in litigation and $640 million in administrative proceedings.

Allegations in SEC Cryptocurrency Litigations. Source: Cornerstone Research.

The majority of those charged were “firm respondents only,” racking up $1.86 billion of the total $2.35 billion. Meanwhile, individual respondents were charged the remaining $490 million.

Although the SEC doled out the first monetary penalty against a crypto participant in July 2013, the report points out that SEC-initiated litigation in the crypto space didn’t begin to pick up until 2017. Between 2013 and 2017, there was only a total of six SEC-initiated crypto cases.

The agency launched 20 of the total 97 actions in 2021 – 14 litigation actions in U.S. federal courts and six administrative proceedings. Of the 20 total enforcement actions, 70% were related to initial coin offerings (ICOs). The report states:

“Of the 20 enforcement actions brought in 2021, 65% alleged fraud, 80% alleged an unregistered securities offering violation, and 55% alleged…


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