Former OpenSea Employee Charged With First-Ever Count of NFT Insider Trading

The product manager is accused of buying 45 NFTs based on confidential information.

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On Monday, it was reported that prosecutors in Manhattan charged a former product manager at OpenSea for insider trading, marking the start of the first-ever insider trading case involving digital assets. “NFTs might be new, but this type of criminal scheme is not,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams in Manhattan said in a statement. “Today’s charges demonstrate the commitment of this office to stamping out insider trading – whether it occurs on the stock market or the blockchain.”

The 31-year-old employee named Nathaniel Christian is accused of buying 45 NFTs on 11 different occasions based on confidential information. Prosecutors say Chastain selected which projects to feature for his own benefit and sold the NFTs shortly after they became available. Chastain reportedly ran the scheme from anonymous digital currency wallets and accounts to avoid detection.

“When we learned of Nate’s behavior, we initiated an investigation and ultimately asked him to leave the company,” said Opensea in a statement “His behavior was in violation of our employee policies and in direct conflict with our core values and principles.”

Chastain has chosen to plead not guilty to wire fraud and money laundering, both of which carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison. His lawyer has also released an email statement saying, “When all the facts are known, we are confident he will be exonerated.”

In other news, Nike’s RTFKT buys “DotSwoosh” domain for 19.72 ETH.

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