• Former Coinbase Employee Ishan Wahi has pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in an insider trading case.
• Wahi had access to confidential data about which tokens would be listed on the popular trading platform, which he shared with his brother and friend for personal profit.
• The U.S. Attorney Damian Williams leading the court case says this is the first insider trading case involving cryptocurrency markets.
Former Coinbase Employee Pleads Guilty to Insider Trading
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that a former product manager at Coinbase, Ishan Wahi, has pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in what is arguably the first-ever recorded insider trading case in the cryptocurrency markets.
Inside Information Used for Personal Profit
Wahi had access to specific information regarding which tokens were set to be listed on the popular trading platform, knowing it would cause their prices to rise. He then got his brother and a friend involved in purchasing these tokens prior to their listings so they could sell them at a profit when their values increased. This is classic insider trading behavior seen in stock chambers, but never before recorded in crypto markets.
Brother Already Sentenced for Involvement
The scheme began more than two years ago back in October 2020 and just last January, Nikhil – Wahi’s brother – was hit with a financial penalty of nearly $900,000 and ordered to serve roughly ten months in prison for his part in the scam as an underling of sorts.
Sentencing Set For May
Now that Ishan has pled guilty, he will likely face harsher sentencing than his brother due to his closer connections with Coinbase and orchestrating role in the plan. His sentencing will take place sometime during May 2023.
Stealing Business Information Serious Federal Crime
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams presiding over the court case commented on how this is “the first insider [to] admit guilt” regarding such activity within cryptocurrency markets and emphasized how stealing confidential business information for personal gain or others‘ profit remains a serious federal crime whether done within equity or crypto markets