Former OpenSea Exec Charged With NFT Insider Trading

Nate Chastain allegedly used confidential information to pocket 19 ETH and now faces up to 40 years in prison


Source: Shutterstock


key takeaways

  • The case is considered to be first indictment in a digital asset insider trading scheme
  • Chastain resigned as OpenSea’s product manager in September

The Department of Justice has indicted former OpenSea head of product Nathanial Chastain with insider trading in connection to NFTs in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday. Chastain was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.

According to the indictment, Chastain was accused of buying dozens of NFT (non-fungible tokens) with the prior knowledge that the assets would be featured on the NFT marketplace. 

He then sold them at a profit two to five times the original purchase price using anonymous digital currency wallets and anonymous accounts on OpenSea.

Reuters reported that Chastain acquired up to 45 NFTs between June and September 2021.

US Attorney Damian Williams stated that “NFTs might be new, but this type of criminal scheme is not,” adding that Chastain’s “betrayal” and other insider trading crimes would be stamped out — “whether it occurs on the stock market or the blockchain.”

Chastain resigned from his position after being suspected of profiting from insider information in September 2021. His suspicious wallet activity on Etherscan was initially flagged by perceptive Twitter users.

A spokesperson for OpenSea told Blockworks that Chastain was asked to leave because his behavior was “in violation of our employee policies and in direct conflict with our core values and principles.”

OpenSea admitted that an employee used inside knowledge to outsmart the market, and the company’s CEO Devin Finzer publicly accepted Chastain’s resignation in a blog post. At the time, Finzer claimed that OpenSea put new rules in place to protect against this.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, with investigation aid from the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team.

Each of the charges carry a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Update on June 6, 2022 at 1:49 pm ET: Chastian was asked to leave OpenSea before his resignation.

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

Want alpha sent directly to your inbox? Get degen trade ideas, governance updates, token performance, can’t-miss tweets and more from Blockworks Research’s Daily Debrief.

Can’t wait? Get our news the fastest way possible. Join us on Telegram and follow us on Google News.


upcoming event

MON - WED, MARCH 18 - 20, 2024

Digital Asset Summit (DAS) is returning March 2024. This year’s event will be held in our nation’s capital, where industry leaders, policymakers, and institutional experts will come together to discuss the latest developments and challenges in the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrency. […]

upcoming event

MON - WED, SEPT. 11 - 13, 2023

2022 was a meme.Skeptics danced, believers believed.Eventually, newcomers turned away, drained of liquidity and hope.Now, the tide is shifting and it’s time to rebuild. Permissionless II is the brainchild of Blockworks and Bankless. It’s not just a conference, but a call […]

recent research

Curve's Stablecoin and Lending Market


AMMs are at the root of everything elegant and useful in DeFi.That's why Curve put LLAMMA at the center of its lending protocol.



Given the impressive growth trajectory and unpredictable future of crypto markets, the potential systemic risks cannot be dismissed, the board said


Five years after the ICO boom and bust, the notion of traditional finance assets existing on the blockchain is not nearly as far fetched


The Fahrenheit Consortium beat out competing offers from Novawulf and BRIC


A research paper modeled the reliability and carbon footprint of crypto mining in Texas


Bring in the next million developers, and then we can start worrying about where to find the next billion users



Web3 real estate investing platform Parcl leverages blockchain to address the current bottlenecks facing property investing