American regulatory authority, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged crypto asset platform Nexo $45 million in penalties for the unauthorised sale of a crypto lending product.
The SEC maintains that Nexo offered an unregistered Earn Interest Product (EIP) to US investors in June 2020, costing $22.5 million in penalties, and then an additional $22.5 million in fines to regulators. As a result of the charges, Nexo has ceased offering the EIP and will go further to stop offering its services in the US.
SEC Chair Gary Gensler stated: “We charged Nexo with failing to register its retail crypto lending product before offering it to the public, bypassing essential disclosure requirements designed to protect investors. Compliance with our time-tested public policies isn’t a choice. Where crypto companies do not comply, we will continue to follow the facts and the law to hold them accountable. In this case, among other actions, Nexo is ceasing its unregistered lending product as to all US investors.”
Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s division of enforcement added: “We are not concerned with the labels put on offerings, but on their economic realities. And part of that reality is that crypto assets are not exempt from the federal securities laws. If you are offering or selling products that constitute securities under well-established laws and legal precedent, then no matter what you call those products, you are subject to those laws and we expect compliance.”
Nexo holds licenses to operate in nearly 50 countries and recently acquired registration to expand their products and services in Italy.