Coinbase insider trading case ends with guilty plea

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Ishan Wahi, a former product manager at Coinbase, has plead guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a case involving insider trading, according to Reuters.

Wahi shared information about Coinbase listings with his brother and his friend, which prosecutors allege resulted in $1.5 million in profits. His brother Nikhil Wahi had previously plead guilty in the case and was sentenced to 10 months in prison.

Ishan Wahi’s case represents a more aggressive strategy against cryptocurrency insider trading, focusing on wire fraud charges instead of criminal securities fraud charges. Wahi is also part of an ongoing civil suit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) related to this behavior — it alleges that the tokens involved are securities.

Wahi’s lawyers filed a motion yesterday to dismiss that case, arguing the tokens can’t be securities as they don’t represent an “investment contract,” are “functional,” and “don’t rely on a centralized intermediary.”

Read more: First crypto insider trading case ends with 10-month sentence

Among these tokens are POWR, created by PowerLedger. Its website bragged that “Powerledger’s POWR token debut on Coinbase [led] to new price highs.”

Other tokens involved include LCX, created and issued by LCX.COM, and RLY, which recently was able to shut down its entire sidechain, seeming to point towards a centralized intermediary.

The SEC has until April 6 to respond to this filing from Wahi’s lawyers.

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