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Jump Crypto Under CFTC Scrutiny Following Series of High-Profile Incidents

Last Updated June 21, 2024 2:13 PM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated June 21, 2024 2:13 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Jump Crypto, the cryptocurrency division of Jump Trading, is under investigation by the CFTC.
  • The investigation will focus on Jump Crypto’s trading and investment activities in the crypto market.
  • This probe follows recent controversies and financial challenges faced by Jump Crypto.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has launched an investigation  into Jump Crypto.
This probe focuses on the firm’s trading and investment activities in the cryptocurrency market. It is important to note that this investigation does not imply any wrongdoing by Jump Crypto.

CFTC Probes Jump Crypto Amid Heightened Regulatory Scrutiny

Sources familiar with the matter indicate that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is investigating  Jump Crypto due to its activities in the cryptocurrency market. This investigation follows a series of eventful years for Jump, characterized by notable incidents and considerable financial challenges.

As a leader in algorithmic trading, Jump Trading has recently reduced its involvement in cryptocurrency, divesting from two prominent projects and withdrawing from the competition to establish a spot Bitcoin ETF. Despite these strategic changes, the firm continues to attract attention from regulatory authorities.

CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam, during his remarks at the Milken Conference in May, suggested that cryptocurrency firms should prepare for “another cycle of enforcement actions.” This comment reflects the agency’s ongoing scrutiny, particularly concerning Jump’s derivatives trading activities that encompass both cryptocurrency products and traditional commodities.

Regulatory bodies such as the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regularly undertake investigative missions to gather facts about companies within their jurisdiction. The current investigation into Jump by the CFTC is part of this routine oversight and does not imply any misconduct by the firm.

The Turbulent Years of Jump Crypto May Have Prompted the Investigation

Known for its advanced algorithmic trading and market-making skills, Jump Crypto, the firm’s cryptocurrency division, has provided liquidity to support new crypto projects. Despite these contributions, the division has faced challenges , including significant financial losses and involvement in controversial legal matters, which have drawn increased scrutiny from regulators.

Jump has been involved in high-frequency trading for a long time. The firm ventured into the cryptocurrency sector several years ago but only formally introduced its crypto division , Jump Crypto, in September 2021.

Since its inception, Jump Crypto has acted as a primary market maker on various exchanges and provided essential liquidity for emerging crypto tokens. The firm has also taken on the role of a major venture investor, creating an incubation and engineering arm to support initiatives such as Wormhole, Pyth, and Firedancer.

Jump Crypto: From Rising Star to Controversy in Crypto Industry

Vulnerabilities in Jump’s expansive operations soon surfaced, including a $325 million hack of Wormhole, a decentralized finance platform designed as a bridge between different blockchains. Jump promptly addressed the security breach, demonstrating its financial robustness. Following the collapse of FTX in late 2022, it was revealed in Michael Lewis’s book “Going Infinite” that Jump had been a top market maker on the exchange and had incurred nearly $300 million in losses.

Controversy continued for Jump during the SEC’s February 2023 lawsuit against Terraform Labs and its founder, Do Kwon, over the collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin. In its lawsuit, the SEC claimed that a US trading firm, later identified as Jump, had covertly supported Terra’s peg during a near-collapse in 2021. Although Terraform and Kwon were accused of fraud for allegedly misleading the public about the peg’s stability, Jump faced no charges. During a trial that spring, which included testimony from a former Jump employee turned whistleblower, the jury ruled in favor of the SEC.

In March 2023, the Justice Department initiated a criminal case against Kwon. This complaint also referenced Jump as a “U.S.-based proprietary trading firm” involved in maintaining Terra’s peg, but did not accuse Jump of any misconduct or bring any charges against the firm.

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