Live news: Crypto lender Nexo to pay US regulators $45mn over unregistered offering

Crypto lender Nexo Capital has agreed to pay $45mn to settle charges by US states and the Securities and Exchange Commission over failing to properly register a crypto asset lending product as a securities offering.

The SEC on Thursday said that the charges were linked to Nexo’s Earn Interest Product, which allowed US investors to lend cryptocurrency to the company in exchange for promised interest payments.

Nexo agreed to pay two tranches of $22.5mn to settle similar charges brought by the SEC as well as US state regulatory authorities, the agency said. The company also agreed to discontinue the sale of its product to US investors.

“Compliance with our time-tested public policies isn’t a choice,” Gary Gensler, SEC chair, said in a statement. “Where crypto companies do not comply, we will continue to follow the facts and the law to hold them accountable.”

The company is the latest crypto lender targeted by state and federal authorities, who have moved to stamp out interest-bearing crypto accounts targeted at everyday consumers, which some companies have marketed as being akin to bank accounts.

“We are content with this unified resolution which unequivocally puts an end to all speculations around Nexo’s relations to the United States,” said Antoni Trenchev, Co-founder of Nexo.

The agency noted that Nexo voluntarily stopped offering its lending product to new US investors after the SEC charged BlockFi over similar matters in February last year. The lender in December announced that it would halt the programme in certain US states and phase out all of its services in the country, the SEC added.

Bulgarian authorities last week raided the Sofia office of the London-based crypto lender. More than 300 police officers and officials swarmed the office as part of a probe into potential organised crime, money laundering, tax crimes, offences relating to unlicensed banking activity and computer fraud, the Bulgarian prosecutors said. Nexo denies any wrongdoing.

The move is the second SEC crypto enforcement action in a week, with the agency suing digital asset-trading group Genesis and Gemini, the crypto exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins, over similar violations last Thursday.

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