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The cryptocurrency industry has racked up $2.5 billion in fines since bitcoin's inception in 2009.
The biggest penalties imposed came from the Securities and Exchange Commission at $1.69 billion, followed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission at $624 million.
The majority of these fines, around $2.3 billion, are related to unregistered securities offerings and fraud.
The bulk of the penalties came in 2020 when Telegram Group agreed to return $1.2 billion to investors and pay an $18.5 million civil penalty to resolve charges to the SEC. It was the largest monetary penalty imposed by US regulators.
The second biggest penalty was a $571 million penalty imposed this year by the CFTC to Control Finance LTD and Benjamin Reynolds for fraud.
The rapid rise in the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in 2017 coincided with an uptick in "initial coin offerings," in which startup businesses and projects raised billions of dollars in crypto through crowdfunding. Many of these ICOs violated securities laws while some were outright fraudulent.
Digital currencies saw a boom in 2021 with many skyrocketing to all-time highs, though regulatory moves by US and foreign regulators have sparked a selloff in recent months. This week, crypto has been battered by China's deepening crackdown on the space.
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