Bitwise Asset Management distanced itself from charges issued by the SEC and US Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday, which take aim at the former CEOs of defunct startup Bitwise Industries Inc.
The former Bitwise Industries CEOs, Irma Olguin Jr and Jake Soberal, were charged by the SEC with misleading investors about the company’s finances.
“We allege that Soberal and Olguin resorted to blatant fraud, including the creation of fake financial documents, to deceive investors and raise money,” said Monique C. Winkler, regional director of the SEC’s San Francisco Regional Office. “In one instance, the defendants allegedly conspired to send a purported screenshot to investors of a company bank account showing a cash balance of $23.4 million. In actuality, the account had only $325,100 in it. That’s not a bank error—that’s fraud, and the SEC is taking action to hold the defendants accountable.”
Following the announcement, Bitwise Asset Management stressed that it has no relationship with Bitwise industries in a press release on its website. The release reads:
“San Francisco-based Bitwise Asset Management, Inc., the largest crypto index fund manager in America, has no relationship with, and has never had a relationship with, the now-defunct Bitwise Industries, a former technology company based in Fresno, California.”
Bitwise Asset Management is one of the largest and fastest-growing crypto asset managers around the globe. In 2022 it launched an active fund in efforts to attract more institutional investors, and has applied to the SEC for approval to launch a spot Bitcoin ETF.