- Chastain faces a maximum of 20 years in jail for each of the allegations.
- According to the DOJ, Chastain’s case was the first known instance.
Attorneys for Nate Chastain, formerly of OpenSea and now terminated from the NFT marketplace on grounds of insider trading, have filed a request to have the charges thrown out. The petition, filed on Friday, asserts that since NFTs are neither securities nor commodities, insider trading could not have occurred.
In June, Chastain was arrested and charged with wire fraud and money laundering by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI for allegedly trading on the information of which NFT collections will be published on OpenSea.
Insider Trading Charges
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital assets that may be used as evidence of ownership for certain works of art or music files; OpenSea is the biggest marketplace for NFTs in the world.
According to the paperwork submitted:
“As alleged, acting with purported criminal intent, Mr. Chastain exploited his advance knowledge of which NFTs would be featured on OpenSea’s homepage by purchasing certain NFTs before they were featured and selling them at a profit after they were featured.”
According to the DOJ, Chastain’s case was the first known instance of an insider trading scam using a digital asset. By definition, insider trading is making use of non-public knowledge to make profitable investments.
According to the accusations, Chastain sold NFTs for “two- to five-times his initial purchase price” by using insider knowledge only an employee would have about which NFTs would be published. FBI agents said he also utilized cryptocurrency wallets and anonymous accounts to hide the money transfers. Chastain faces a maximum of 20 years in jail for each of the allegations against him.
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