CFTC Fines Crypto Betting Service Polymarket $1.4 Million, Orders Shutdown of Three Markets

US futures regulator has ordered the crypto platform that allowed users to bet on world events, including celebrity engagements and Covid cases, to “wind down” operations of markets that violate CFTC rules and regulations

article-image

SOURCE: SHUTTERSTOCK

share

key takeaways

  • The CFTC filed a cease and desist order against popular crypto betting platform Polymarket
  • The startup allowed users to bet on anything from election results to celebrity engagements to earn cryptocurrencies

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) took its first public action against decentralized finance (DeFi) companies of the year on Monday. 

The regulator fined cryptocurrency betting platform Blockratize Inc., which operates under the name Polymarket, $1.4 million. The CFTC has also ordered the New York-based company to wind down “all markets displayed on Polymarket.com that do not comply with the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA),” according to a statement from the CFTC. 

Polymarket enables users to bet on current events, including politics and pop culture, using cryptocurrencies. Popular bets of the past year included whether or not Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck would get engaged or if the United States would reach 100,000 new daily coronavirus cases before Jan. 1, 2022.  

Users select one of at least two options for the given scenario and place bets, which, under federal law, qualifies the markets as swaps. The CFTC reports that Polymarket has offered more than 900 different event markets since its inception in 2018. 

Polymarket failed to obtain a Designated Contract Market (DCM) and Swap Execution Facility (SEF) registration, both requirements under the CEA, the CFTC said. 

“All derivatives markets must operate within the bounds of the law regardless of the technology used, and particularly including those in the so-called decentralized finance or ‘DeFi’ space,” acting director of enforcement, Vincent McGonagle, said in a statement. “Market participants should proactively engage with the CFTC to ensure that our markets remain robust, transparent, and afford customers the protection provided under the CEA and our regulations.”

Polymarket responded to the filing late Monday afternoon via Twitter.

Loading Tweet..

Reports that the CFTC was investigating Polymarket first surfaced in October 2021. The company secured a $4 million seed funding round the same month. Polychain Capital was a lead investor. 

Polymarket cooperated with the investigation, the CFTC report noted, which helped the company secure a lower fine. All Polymarket markets will end by Jan. 14, 2022, and refunds will be available to users by Jan 24.

This story was updated on Jan. 3, 2022, at 10:09 pm ET to add additional information and a statement from Polymarket.


Get the day’s top crypto news and insights delivered to your inbox every evening. Subscribe to Blockworks’ free newsletter now.


Tags

Upcoming Events

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Screen Shot 2024-05-16 at 14.53.45.png

Research

Loss-versus-rebalancing (LVR) is arguably Ethereum DeFi’s biggest problem, and thus reducing LVR is fundamental to the success of Ethereum. This report dives into the world of LVR. We uncover its importance for AMM designers, discuss the two major mechanism design categories and various projects developing solutions, and offer a higher level perspective on the importance of AMMs in general.

article-image

Yesterday saw Congress’ upper chamber side with the House on a measure aimed at overturning SAB 121

article-image

Oklahoma’s new crypto bill will go into effect in November of this year

article-image

The deposits hit a $20 million cap in just 45 minutes

article-image

Twelve Democratic Senators voted in favor to pass the resolution Thursday

article-image

Pump.fun is “aware” that bonding curve contracts on Pump.fun were exploited, and has since paused trading

article-image

Some investment pros are mulling crypto allocations between 1% and 10% and seeking ex-BTC exposure for interested clients