Ishan Wahi, a former product manager at Coinbase crypto exchange, and his brother Nikhil Wahi have reportedly settled their insider trading case with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Ishan Wahi has been sentenced to 24 months in prison, with forfeiture of 10.97 ETH, while Nikhil Wahi has bagged a 10-month jail term and will forfeit $892,500.
SEC punishes Coinbase insider traders
Per a May 30, press release by the SEC, Ishan Wahi, a former product manager at Coinbase, and his brother Wakhil, who received a 10-month prison sentence last January, have both agreed to forfeit their ill-gotten gains.
Nikhil Wahi and his friend, Sameer Ramani, used confidential Coinbase token listing information passed on to them by Ishan to purchase at least 25 altcoins, (nine of which are securities, according to the SEC) ahead of their official listing on the exchange and dumped them shortly after, thereby making massive gains on those trades.
Subject to approval by the court, Ishan and Nikhil have agreed to permanently desist from violating the SEC’s insider trading laws. In addition to engaging in insider trading, the duo also pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
“We allege that Ishan and Nikhil Wahi, respectively, tipped and traded securities based on material nonpublic information, and that’s insider trading, pure and simple. The federal securities laws do not exempt crypto securities from the prohibition against insider trading, nor does the SEC.”
Ishan Wahi has been sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to forfeit 10.97 ETH, plus $9,440 USDT. Nikhil on the other hand, has been sentenced to 10 months in prison and will forfeit a total of $892,500.
Insider trading bad for crypto
Insider trading has become a concerning issue within the cryptocurrency industry, causing detrimental effects on its credibility, investor confidence, and market stability.
This unethical practice involves trading financial assets based on non-public information that can impact their prices. In simpler terms, it involves individuals who possess privileged knowledge, not available to the general public, using it to gain an unfair advantage in trading activities.
One of the core principles of the cryptocurrency industry is decentralization, which aims to establish a fair and level playing field for all participants.
However, insider trading undermines this fairness by granting an unfair advantage to those with privileged access to information. Insiders who trade based on non-public information can profit at the expense of other market participants who lack similar access.
These actions erode trust and transparency, damaging confidence in the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem.
When insiders use their ill-gotten knowledge to execute large trades, they can artificially inflate or deflate the price of a particular cryptocurrency. This manipulation misleads other investors, creating a false perception of market demand or supply.