Robinhood Markets, the popular brokerage known for its commission-free trading, has recently disclosed that it received an investigative subpoena from the United States Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) in December 2022. The subpoena was related to its cryptocurrency listings, custody services, and platform operations. This came after several major cryptocurrency trading venues and lending platforms filed for bankruptcy earlier in the year, including FTX, Three Arrows Capital, Voyager Digital Holdings, and Celsius Network. The SEC’s inquiry into Robinhood’s crypto business is aimed at obtaining information necessary to decide whether to pursue legal action against the company.
This is not the first time Robinhood has been under scrutiny for its crypto business. In April 2021, the California Attorney General’s Office issued subpoenas seeking information about Robinhood’s crypto trading platform, business and operations, custody of customer assets, and coin listings. In August 2021, the New York District of Financial Services fined Robinhood’s crypto division $30 million for failing to invest the proper resources and attention to develop and maintain a culture of compliance. Additionally, the Massachusetts Securities Division scrutinized Robinhood in August 2021 for allegedly targeting inexperienced investors.
The investigative subpoena from the SEC highlights the regulatory challenges faced by the crypto industry, as regulators seek to clamp down on fraud and protect investors. The SEC has been increasingly active in pursuing companies that violate securities laws in the crypto industry. For example, in December 2021, the SEC filed a lawsuit against Ripple Labs, alleging that its XRP token was an unregistered security.
Robinhood’s crypto business has been growing rapidly, and the company has added several new cryptocurrencies to its platform in recent years. However, the regulatory scrutiny and fines imposed on the company have raised concerns about the company’s compliance culture and its ability to navigate the regulatory landscape. The company has stated that it is committed to complying with all applicable laws and regulations and is working to improve its compliance infrastructure.
In conclusion, the recent investigative subpoena from the SEC is a reminder of the challenges faced by the crypto industry and the importance of compliance in the sector. Robinhood’s crypto business is under scrutiny, and the company must continue to invest in compliance infrastructure to ensure that it is meeting regulatory requirements. As the crypto industry continues to evolve, regulatory scrutiny is likely to increase, and companies must be prepared to navigate this complex landscape.