SEC Fines Poloniex $10 Million for Operating Unregistered Cryptocurrency Exchange

Monday’s announcement by the SEC stated that “Poloniex LLC” has agreed to pay over $10 million to settle charges of operating an unregistered online asset exchange.

Poloniex “facilitated the buying and selling digital asset securities” from July 2017 to November 2019. The SEC stated that while the platform was accessible to U.S investors, Poloniex was not registered as a national security exchange and therefore was not exempted from registration. The failure to register was a violation by Section 5 of the Exchange Act.

Kristina Littman of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit stated that Poloniex tried to bypass the regulatory regime. “Poloniex chose to increase profits over compliance under the federal securities laws by listing digital asset securities on its unregistered stock exchange.”

The SEC noted that the order established a Fair Fund to benefit victims.

Poloniex, without admitting or denying SEC’s findings and agreeing to the entry a cease and desist order, paid $8,484,313, prejudgment interests of $403,995, as well as a civil penalty totaling $1.5 million, for a total amount of $10,388,309.

Poloniex, a Delaware corporation that is wholly owned by Pluto Holdings Inc. and Circle Internet Financial Ltd., is Poloniex’s wholly-owned subsidiary. According to the SEC, Pluto sold Poloniex’s trading platform in November 2019 to a third-party.