ShapeShift resolves SEC securities charges through settlement

ShapeShift resolves SEC securities charges through settlement


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  • ShapeShift settled with the SEC, agreeing to cease certain operations and pay a $275,000 penalty.
  • The settlement addresses activities from 2014 to 2021, where ShapeShift acted as both market maker and counterparty in trades.
  • ShapeShift transformed into a DAO in 2021, decentralizing its operations and dissolving its corporate entity.

Cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift has stepped up to the plate, addressing its regulatory challenge head-on by submitting a settlement offer to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This indicates the company’s acknowledgment of the SEC’s order to put a permanent ban on certain operations and their agreement to fork over a penalty.

Back in 2021, ShapeShift made a strategic move, morphing into a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) and bidding adieu to the operations that caught the SEC’s attention. For years, from 2014 to the early days of 2021, ShapeShift functioned as a crypto “vending machine,” facilitating trades as both the buyer and seller, which, according to the SEC, was a no-go. They accused ShapeShift of playing both sides of the field, acting as the “market maker” and counterparty for trades. This model allowed ShapeShift to profit from the price differences in trades, a common practice in trading but one that caught the regulator’s eye because-you guessed it-crypto was involved.

ShapeShift’s operations went worldwide, with roots in Switzerland and a huge presence in Colorado. At its peak, it offered a dizzying array of at least 79 assets, some of which were tagged by the SEC as securities under their stringent definitions. Facing the music, ShapeShift agreed to a $275,000 penalty.

Post-2021, ShapeShift took a radical turn. Announcing the dissolution of its corporate entity, it embraced open-source and decentralized operations with open arms. Amid the regulatory struggles, ShapeShift doubled down on innovation, launching the FOX token in November 2019 as a means for users to trade without fees. But the real game-changer came when FOX was became a governance token, kicking off what is considered the biggest airdrop in history.

Despite everything, ShapeShift’s transformation continued without interruption. Its founder, Erik Vorhees, pointed to the regulatory scene as a catalyst for this evolution, emphasizing the transition of regulated activities to a decentralized protocol that was immutable and beyond the direct reach of traditional regulatory frameworks.

Today, the ShapeShift DAO and the FOX token continue to thrive, embodying the vision of a decentralized and community-driven future. The token, once peaking at $1.68, now trades at a modest $0.09.

Pro-crypto SEC commissioners Hester Peirce and Mark Uyeda have pointed out the absence of allegations of harm or fraud in the SEC’s order against ShapeShift. They highlight the ongoing debate around the SEC’s regulatory stance, demanding the need for clarity and consistency in the face of technological advancement.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Jai Hamid

Jai Hamid is a passionate writer with a keen interest in blockchain technology, the global economy, and literature. She dedicates most of her time to exploring the transformative potential of crypto and the dynamics of worldwide economic trends.

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