Zachary Coburn is almost $400,000 out of pocket after settling with the SEC for having operated Etherdelta as an unlicensed exchange where security tokens were traded. In total, Coburn has been ordered to pay $300,000 in disgorgement with an additional $88,000 in penalties on top. While the news, published in an SEC document today, has come as a surprise, it has been evident for some time that DEXs operating within the U.S. are going to have to change their business model. IDEX, which has replaced Etherdelta and its Forkdelta spin-off as the most popular platform of its kind, announced earlier this week that it would introduce KYC. It’s also barred residents of New York and a handful of other states from accessing the site.
In a 12-page ruling, the SEC lays bare the facts of the case, citing its report into the collapse of the DAO in which “the Commission advised that a platform that offers trading of digital assets that are securities and operates as an ‘exchange,’ as defined by the federal securities laws, must register with the Commission as a national securities exchange or be exempt from registration.” The document also explains how Coburn operated Etherdelta from July 2016 until November 2017, when he sold it to “foreign buyers.” The report chastises:
While Etherdelta was a small exchange in the cryptocurrency landscape even at its peak, the ramifications of the SEC’s actions are sure to resonate far and wide. Exchanges, both centralized and decentralized, will be carefully examining their KYC and token listing policies in light of today’s report to ensure they aren’t next in the line of fire.