On February 10th, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fined the cryptocurrency exchange, Kraken, $30 million due to providing staking services to their clients without the proper registration. The SEC argued that Kraken failed to adhere to federal securities laws and did not implement the required “disclosures and safeguards”.

Kraken fined by SEC

Kraken has agreed to a settlement in which it will pay a fine of $30 million and stop offering securities through its crypto asset staking services and programs. If you are unaware of staking, it is a process in which cryptocurrency investors can obtain new tokens by locking their tokens with a blockchain validator through the process of staking.

This happens when the staked tokens are used to validate the data on the blockchain.

The SEC has accused Kraken of offering staking services to the public in order to make high returns with little to no information regarding the company’s financial stability or the ability to pay out promised returns.

Gary Gensler, Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), emphasized the need for crypto businesses to adhere to the proper disclosure and safety measures mandated by securities laws when offering investment contracts in exchange for tokens. Gurbir S. Grewal, the SEC’s Director of Enforcement, then announced the termination of an unregistered crypto staking program designed to protect retail investors.

Kraken has agreed to a permanent judgement that prohibits the company from violating the Securities Act of 1933, and from selling or offering securities through crypto asset staking services or staking programs. They have also halted their staking program and provided monetary relief.

The SEC conducted an investigation with the help of many experts, and a settlement agreement has been made. This agreement needs to be formally approved by a court.

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