Kraken Agrees to Pay $30M, Settles Case with the SEC: Details
- Kraken has been charged by the SEC over providing staking services to US citizens without registering these services with the regulator.
- The exchange is closing down staking services in the US and will pay $30 million in disgorgement, prejudgment interest and civil penalties.
- The regulator stated that the exchange failed “to register the offer and sale of their crypto asset staking-as-a-service program.”
- The Twitter crypto community did not support the SEC’s decision, and one user said that the SEC gave “zero guidance” on what compliance means.
Popular crypto exchange Kraken has faced action from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over providing staking services to the citizens of the country without registering these services with the US securities regulator. This resulted in the crypto exchange closing down staking services in the region immediately and it will also pay close to $30 million to the regulator in disgorgement, prejudgment interest and civil penalties.
According to an announcement on Feb. 9, the SEC revealed that it has charged Kraken, the third-largest crypto exchange by spot trading volume, with “failing to register the offer and sale of their crypto asset staking-as-a-service program.” The Commission believes that such offerings are securities and therefore, fall under its regulatory purview.
As a result of the action taken by the American agency, Kraken’s staking operations have now ended in the country. The regulator also noted that the crypto exchange promised returns as high as 21% on users’ deposits but did not register the same with the SEC.
“Kraken not only offered investors outsized returns untethered to any economic realities, but also retained the right to pay them no returns at all,” said the SEC’s Division of Enforcement director, Gurbir Grewal. “All the while, it provided them zero insight into, among other things, its financial condition and whether it even had the means of paying the marketed returns in the first place.”
The crypto community on Twitter did not support the regulator’s decision with one user stating that they failed to form policies and gave “zero guidance” on what compliance means.
The SEC also noted in a Twitter post that two Kraken entities, Payward Ventures Inc and Payward Trading Ltd, have “agreed to immediately cease offering or selling securities through crypto asset staking services or staking programs and pay $30 million in disgorgement, interest, and penalties.”
SEC’s complaint notes that Kraken has been providing crypto staking services in the United States since 2019 and since then, it has promoted the same as an “easy-to-use platform and benefits that derive from Kraken’s efforts on behalf of investors.” The regulator added that staking crypto coins with the exchange meant users’ losing access to their coins anymore. This meant additional risks for investors and “very little protection.”
On the other hand, it is also crucial to note that Kraken released a blog post on Feb. 9, revealing that it will “continue to offer staking services for non-U.S. clients through a separate Kraken subsidiary.”
“Starting today, Kraken will automatically unstake all U.S. client assets enrolled in the on-chain staking program. These assets will no longer earn staking rewards. This applies to all staked assets except for staked ether (ETH), which will be unstaked after the Shanghai upgrade. U.S. clients will not be able to stake any additional assets, including ETH,” said the exchange.
As reported earlier by Bitnation, Kraken also paid a fine of around $362,000 to the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for the violation of sanctions that were imposed against Iranian people. The exchange also agreed to “invest” $100,000 in some additional sanctions compliance controls along with training its staff and implementing technical controls to assist in sanctions detection.