U.S. authorities have filed charges against the former head of products for the OpenSea platform. He is accused of wire fraud and money laundering.
Nathaniel Chastain was arrested Wednesday morning in New York City. He is now scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court.
Previously, Chastain was part of an insider trading scandal.
While working at OpenSea, he was responsible for which NFTs should be published on the marketplace’s home page and later bought them up at an undervalue.
Publishing NFTs on the home page led to more attention and a higher price per token. From about June through September 2021, he sold tokens at two to five times the purchase price.
Insider trading is illegal in traditional financial markets, but the law’s interpretation of NFT remained unclear.
However, law enforcement authorities have indicated that the laws of traditional markets would apply similarly to NFT.
“NFTs may be something new, but this type of criminal scheme is not. It is alleged that Nathaniel Chastain betrayed OpenSea by using its confidential business information to make money for himself. Today’s charges demonstrate the Attorney General’s commitment to eradicating insider trading – whether it occurs in the stock market or on blockchain,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams.
FBI Assistant Acting Director Michael J. Driscoll said the agency “will continue to aggressively pursue individuals who choose to manipulate the market in this manner.”
Last September, OpenSea issued a statement acknowledging Chastain’s actions.