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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

California’s DFPI orders two crypto-asset companies to stop operations

Financial Crimes California DFPI Cease and Desist Cryptocurrency U.K.

Financial Crimes

On June 5, the California DFPI issued two desist and refrain orders against securities firms for allegedly offering unqualified securities under California’s Corporate Securities Law (CSL). The first order was against a company incorporated in the U.K., whereby the DFPI alleged the firm offered and sold unpermitted securities to Californians through its website. Since 2023, these alleged securities were interest-bearing accounts where the firm promised to pay interest on deposited assets that would be deployed into decentralized finance liquidity pools. According to the order, these securities were packaged as investment contracts “that were neither qualified nor exempt from the qualification requirement” of the state’s CSL. The second order was against another crypto-asset firm whereby the firm offered crypto asset interest-bearing accounts beginning in 2023 that were neither qualified nor exempt from the qualification requirement under the CSL, and the DFPI had not permitted the firm to sell securities in California. Both orders required the firms to desist and refrain from selling securities in California until the CSL’s requirements have been met.