Smell Something Fishy? The CFTC Will Pay You to Report Crypto Scams
Nestled in the exhibition room at this year’s Consensus conference, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) had a message for conference goers as they weaved in and out of booths representing various projects and startups in the space: “Be on the lookout for virtual currency fraud” and if you see it, let us know.
“The Whistleblower Office of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is issuing this alert to inform members of the public about how they may make themselves eligible for both financial awards and certain protections while helping stop [sic] fraud and manipulation relating to virtual currencies,” a handout from the booth reads.
The CFTC has long classified bitcoin as a commodity, and the document states that the CFTC considers all “virtual currencies [as] commodities under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).”
This same act gives the agency regulatory power to prosecute virtual currency fraudsters. Since the 2017 price run-up, crypto scams have been on the agency’s radar and it’s been keen to keep investors privy to project warning signs. In cooperation with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the CFTC has cracked down on illegal bitcoin brokers and dealers, as well as fraudulent crypto consultants and token rackets like My Big Coin.
In the whistleblowing briefing document, the CFTC uses My Big Coin and CabbageTech as textbook examples of scammy behavior. Among other red flags it warns potential whistleblowers against pump-and-dump schemes, wash/insider trading, unregistered derivatives platforms and “supervision failures or fraudulent conduct (e.g., creating or reporting fictitious trading) by virtual currency exchanges.”
If you notice any of these behaviors in practice,