Over a Fifth of Cases in CFTC’s 2022 Crackdown Were Crypto-Related

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) brought 82 enforcement actions in fiscal year 2022 – a whopping 22% of which were filed against crypto-related entities.

According to the federal regulator’s annual enforcement report published Thursday, the CFTC celebrated several of its big wins from the fiscal year, including filing charges against Tether and Bitfinex, which settled for a combined $42.5 million last October.

The CFTC’s report also highlights some of its other high-profile actions, many of which have not yet been resolved, including charges against decentralized finance (DeFi) exchange Digitex, which it has accused of operating an illegal futures market, and against anonymous members of Ooki DAO, who have been accused of offering illegal, off-exchange tokenized margin trading and lending services.

Read more: CFTC’s Ooki DAO Action Shatters Illusion of a Regulator-Proof Protocol

While many in the crypto industry see the CFTC as the “good cop” of crypto regulation, while the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) plays the role of “bad cop,” CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam seems eager to shed his agency’s reputation as being easy on crypto crime.

“In the face of unprecedented financial market conditions directly impacting American consumers, emerging technological disruption, and growing retail investor participation, the CFTC continues its unwavering commitment to a robust enforcement program ensuring the markets we oversee are open, transparent, fair and competitive,” Behnam wrote in a press statement.

“This FY 2022 enforcement report shows the CFTC continues to aggressively police new digital commodity asset markets with all of its available tools. I personally thank the Enforcement Division’s hardworking and dedicated leadership team and staff,” he said.

Behnam has boasted that his agency – over the past decade – has brought in about $1.5 billion a year in fines from its enforcement actions, which he said was a pretty good "return on investment" for an average budget of about $240 million.

"That's pretty good for the taxpayer, and that's what my response is to anyone who says we're a light-touch regulator," he said last week.

Jesse Hamilton contributed reporting.