- The SEC is cracking down on crypto influencers who promote scam projects and manipulate token prices on social media platforms.
- Former SEC chief John Reed Stark warns that these influencers will face prosecution, emphasizing that anti-fraud rules apply to all forms of price manipulation.
- Social media platforms such as Twitter, Discord, Instagram, and Reddit have become hotspots for fraudulent activities, making it easier for regulators to gather evidence and prosecute wrongdoers.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is intensifying its efforts to hold crypto influencers accountable for promoting fraudulent projects and manipulating token prices through social media channels. Former SEC chief John Reed Stark took to Twitter to warn crypto influencers sternly, indicating that their days of operating without consequences are numbered. Stark highlighted that the same anti-fraud regulations apply to all forms of price manipulation, including crypto securities, exchange-listed securities, and penny stock securities.
Stark shed light on the audacious tactics employed by crypto influencers in defrauding their victims. These fraudulent activities predominantly occur on popular social media platforms such as Twitter, Discord, Instagram, and Reddit. Unlike other forms of fraud, securities fraud is relatively easier to detect and prosecute, as the evidence can be extensively documented through the digital trails left by the perpetrators. Stark pointed out that regulators and law enforcement agencies can easily uncover compelling evidence by simply turning on their computers.
Stark referenced the case of infamous crypto influencer Francis Sabo, who faced charges in a $100 million securities fraud case. Sabo, known as Ricky Bobby, utilized social media platforms, particularly the Atlas Trading Discord forum, to manipulate exchange-traded stocks. He gained followers by portraying himself as a trustworthy stock-picking guru and convinced them to purchase certain tokens. Sabo’s actions demonstrated the blatant and arrogant manner in which many social media influencers operate.
Crypto influencers in the regulatory crosshairs
The SEC has been actively pursuing cases involving crypto influencers violating securities laws. One prominent example is celebrity Kim Kardashian, who was fined $1.26 million for endorsing a fraudulent crypto project. Similarly, Bitboy Crypto, a well-known influencer, faces a $1 billion lawsuit for promoting unregistered securities. Additionally, the SEC issued multiple subpoenas to influencers promoting tokens such as Hex (HEX), Pulsechain (PLS), and PulseX (PLSX) in November 2022.
The SEC’s crackdown on crypto influencers reflects the regulator’s determination to maintain transparency and protect investors from fraudulent schemes in the crypto market. As the crypto industry continues to evolve, enforcing regulations and prosecuting those engaging in deceptive practices are essential to safeguarding investor interests and maintaining market integrity.
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