Crypto lender Nexo Capital has agreed to pay $45 million to settle US state and Securities and Exchange Commission fees for failing to properly register a crypto asset lending product as a securities offering.
The SEC said Thursday that the charges relate to Nexo’s Earn Interest product, which allowed U.S. investors to lend cryptocurrency to the company in exchange for promised interest payments.
Nexo agreed to pay two installments of $22.5 million to settle similar charges brought by the SEC as well as US state regulators, the agency said. The company also agreed to stop selling its product to US investors.
“Abiding by our proven public policies is not a choice,” SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said in a statement. “Where crypto companies fail to comply, we will continue to follow the facts and the law to hold them accountable.”
The company is the latest crypto lender targeted by state and federal authorities, who have moved to eliminate interest-bearing crypto accounts aimed at ordinary consumers, which some companies have marketed as akin to bank accounts.
“We are content with this unified resolution which puts an unequivocal end to all speculation surrounding Nexo’s relationship with the United States,” said Antoni Trenchev, co-founder of Nexo.
The agency noted that Nexo voluntarily stopped offering its loan product to new US investors after the SEC charged BlockFi over similar matters in February last year. The lender announced in December that it would end the program in some U.S. states and phase out all of its services in the country, the SEC added.
Bulgarian authorities last week raided the Sofia office of the London-based crypto lender. More than 300 police and officials swarmed the office as part of an investigation into potential organized crime, money laundering, tax crimes, unauthorized banking offenses and computer fraud, said Bulgarian prosecutors. Nexo denies any wrongdoing.
The move is the SEC’s second crypto enforcement action in a week, with the agency to pursue digital asset trading group Genesis and Gemini, the crypto exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins, for similar violations last Thursday.