Photo of Rene McNulty

Deceptive advertisements, market manipulation, misappropriation of customer funds, and “Ask Me Anything (AMA)” sessions served as the catalysts of a civil enforcement action the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently filed against bankrupt digital asset services provider Celsius Network LLC (Celsius) and its co-founders on July 13. This is a groundbreaking move by the FTC for two reasons. First, it marks the first time that the agency has filed suit against a digital asset-based company. Second, the FTC’s request for civil money penalties is predicated on a novel theory under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA). Alongside the FTC, the Department of Justice has filed criminal charges against ex-CEO Alexander Mashinsky, and the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have filed separate civil enforcement actions against Celsius.

On July 12, U.S. Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) reintroduced legislation, titled the Responsible Financial Innovation Act that would establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for crypto assets. This proposed bill expands on the bill the senators introduced in 2022 by adding new consumer protections and safeguards to further strengthen the industry against fraud and bad actors, among other additions.

On March 10, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation closed Silicon Valley Bank and appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as its receiver. Silicon Valley Bank had 17 branches in California and Massachusetts. The FDIC transferred all deposits and assets of the former bank to a newly created, full-service FDIC-operated bridge bank

In the second segment of our four-part Crypto Year in Review series, Rene McNulty, Carlin McCrory, and Ethan Ostroff discuss the Federal Reserve and its research and experimentation on Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), examining the steps that the Fed took toward potential CBDC implementation. Our panelists also review recent crypto-related regulatory developments at the FDIC and OCC, discussing what these actions can tell us about regulatory trends and priorities.