For the past few years investing in Bitcoin and other digital currencies has been a significant phenomenon. People that have invested in these assets have seen dramatic rises in value. While they have started as a very unregulated investment, the CFTC and other regulatory bodies have started putting far more pressure and scrutiny on those that buy and sell digital currencies. Today, there are a variety of crimes that can come with serious penalties that are related to buying, selling, and brokering the sale of digital currencies.
Examples of Crimes
There are several different types of crimes that could be related to trading Bitcoin and other digital currencies. One of the most common is insider trading. If you have knowledge about news that will impact the value of a coin or the whole sector, you will not be able to trade on this news until it becomes more public. If you do trade and are caught, you could be charged with insider trading.
The CFTC will also cover fraud when it comes to Bitcoin. If you own or manage an investment fund or exchange, you will be held accountable for any fraudulent activity that takes place.
If you are charged with a crime that has to do with trading Bitcoin, there are a variety of defenses that you could use. One of the most common is to state that you did not know the news you were trading on was insider information. It is possible to believe that you thought the information was generally public knowledge.
Another defense that you could have could be to claim that you were not being fraudulent with the activities that you are accused of. Bitcoin is naturally and inherently a very risk venture. Those that manage trades for others will have a challenge to ensue their clients are educated on the risks. A good defense would include stating that you gave as much detail about the risks as possible and that the losses an client incurred were normal for the business.
While penalties for these crimes are still being developed, they are generally similar to what would occur with any crime investigated by the CFTC. Those that are charged with illegal digital currency activity could be charged and convicted with financial penalties and jail time. You could also be restricted from trading the currencies again in the future.
Reason to Have Attorney
If you are charged with a Bitcoin related crime by the CFTC having an attorney represent you would be very helpful. Ideally, you should find a criminal defense attorney that has experience with Bitcoin-related crimes and other commodity trading crimes. The attorney will be able to help you to develop a defense plan and then negotiate with the prosecutors. Since Bitcoin trading crimes are still relatively new compared to other trading crimes, the attorney will be able to provide valuable insight and strategies that could help you receive a reduced punishment or even have the charges dropped completely.