Can Cryptocurrency Fraud Whistleblowers Qualify for Rewards?

Yes, cryptocurrency whistleblowers can qualify for rewards. Both the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have jurisdiction over cryptocurrency fraud and both have whistleblower award programs.

The CFTC has jurisdiction over a virtual currency when it is used in a derivatives contract or when there is fraud or manipulation involving a virtual currency traded in interstate commerce. Crypto fraud enforced by the CFTC includes price manipulation (like pump-and-dump schemes) involving virtual currencies, pre-arranged or wash trading of virtual currencies, and virtual currency futures or option contracts or swaps traded on an unregistered domestic platform or facility.

The SEC may consider a virtual currency a security when it is marketed as an investment in a particular company, such as in an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). The SEC enforces securities violations related to crypto asset offerings, crypto asset exchanges, crypto asset lending and staking products, decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and stablecoins.

Through both the SEC and CFTC whistleblower programs, qualified whistleblowers, individuals who voluntarily provide information that leads to successful enforcement actions, are entitled to monetary awards between 10 and 30 percent of the sanctions collected by the government.

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