In 2023, the majority of CFTC’s whistleblower awards involved crypto fraud schemes, said Christy Goldsmith Romero, a commissioner of the regulator.

As the crypto market remains the top spot for malicious actors and hackers, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) continues to double down on the area with its whistleblower program.

In a statement on Oct. 31, CFTC Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero said most of the agency’s $16 million awards this year involved crypto. She particularly noted the $15 million the agency awarded to “two whistleblowers who provided significant information and assistance that led the CFTC to bring separate successful enforcement cases.” It is unclear if those cases had anything to do with crypto, though.

“With the rise of crypto, more retail customers have come under the CFTC’s jurisdiction, making even more critical the efforts of the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program and the Office of Customer Education and Outreach.”

CFTC Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero

In total, the CFTC has paid almost $350 million to whistleblowers, with over $3 billion in enforcement sanctions ordered in cases related to those awards, the CFTC Commissioner added. Goldsmith Romero noted it would be harder for the CFTC to identify fraud without whistleblowers.

“Whistleblowers help identify fraud and other illegality, interpret key evidence, and save considerable Commission resources and time.”

CFTC statement

In early October 2023, Rostin Behnam, the head of the CFTC, emphasized the need for a robust regulatory framework in the crypto industry, noting that the agency’s enforcement division issued over 130 monetary awards since 2015, with 45 related to crypto fraud, constituting approximately 34% of the total. As per Behnam, roughly 70% of cryptocurrencies should be designated as commodities.

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