The U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has levied $5 billion in fines against Wall Street and crypto giants in its fiscal year 2023 enforcement actions. The fines represent yet another record-breaking year for the agency, thanks in large part to its increased focus on cryptocurrency-related activity.
The agency started the year by placing a $4.5 billion penalty on Coinbase, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, for alleged market manipulation. Coinbase was accused of allowing traders to place orders without honoring their set prices, artificially inflating their trading volumes and prices.
The agency also fined several other prominent firms in the cryptocurrency world, including BitMEX, Block.one and Binance for alleged violations of federal anti-money laundering and securities laws.BitMEX, for example, was fined $60 million for facilitating undisclosed U.S. customers’ illegal access to its digital asset trading platform. And securities law violations netted Binance a $6 million fine.
Meanwhile, the SEC also paid special attention to Wall Street giants. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, and UBS have all been hit with multi-million dollar fines for alleged securities or commodities fraud.
The SEC also filed several actions against individuals connected to high-profile crimes. For instance, the agency criminally charged Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of electric car company Tesla, for his involvement in a securities fraud lawsuit stemming from false tweets made about the company.
These charges and fines demonstrate both the SEC’s commitment to protecting investors’ financial interests, as well as its willingness to crack down on those who engage in suspicious or inappropriate activity in the marketplace. The challenge for the agency in the coming months and years will be to maintain its rigorous enforcement posture as the cryptocurrency markets continue to grow and evolve.