The attorney general of New York is cracking down on two crypto lenders and putting several others on notice.
Letitia James says crypto platforms that offer interest on deposits must register with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to comply with the state’s Martin Act.
Attorney General James announces in a new press release,
“Cryptocurrency platforms must follow the law, just like everyone else, which is why we are now directing two crypto companies to shut down and forcing three more to answer questions immediately.
My office is responsible for ensuring industry players do not take advantage of unsuspecting investors. We will not hesitate to take whatever actions are necessary against any company that thinks they are above the law.”
At time of writing, none of the five crypto companies in question have been named officially.
The Martin Act dates back to 1921 and gives NY State’s AG extensive powers to investigate securities fraud and enforce penalties against violators.
As the press release explains,
“The virtual currency lending products at issue in today’s actions promise a fixed or variable rate of return to investors, and claim to deliver those returns by, among other things, trading with, or further lending those virtual assets.
The most common virtual currency lending products or services are therefore securities under the Martin Act. As a result, entities offering such products from New York or to New Yorkers must be registered with the OAG as brokers, dealers, or salespersons…”
AG James has taken similar steps throughout 2021. Coinseed was shut down last month, and in February an agreement was reached with Bitfinex and Tether resulting in $18.5 million in penalties after a long legal battle.
Redacted versions of the cease-and-desist and information-request letters are available online.
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