Former Coinbase Product Manager Charged for Insider Trading

Daniel Attoe
Daniel Attoe

Updated · Jul 22, 2022

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Department of Justice announced the charges on Thursday.

First of its Kind

U.S authorities have charged a former Coinbase employee and two others for allegedly committing insider trading. It is the first case of this kind in the cryptocurrency industry.

Law enforcement officials arrested Ishan Wahi and his brother Nikhil in Seattle on Thursday. Ishan, 32, worked for the cryptocurrency exchange as a product manager. Another suspect, Sameer Ramani, a friend of the brothers, remains at large.

According to an SEC statement, Ishan shared confidential information about digital assets that Coinbase planned to list. Using that information, his brother and friend allegedly traded to make profits. Between June 2021 and April 2022, they were said to have done so at least 14 times.

The US attorney for the southern district of New York, Damian Williams, hailed the arrests and charges as proof that the criminals in the industry are not untouchable.

“Today’s charges are a further reminder that Web3 is not a law-free zone,” he said. “Our message with these charges is clear: fraud is fraud is fraud, whether it occurs on the blockchain or on Wall Street.”

FBI assistant director Michael J. Driscoll said the allegations “still constitute insider trading” even though they did not occur in the traditional financial market.

In a blog post, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong described the proceedings as an “unfortunate distraction”. 

“Coinbase takes allegations of improper use of company information very seriously, as demonstrated by our rapid investigation of this matter,” he said.

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Daniel Attoe

Daniel Attoe

Daniel is an Economics grad who fell in love with tech. His love for books and reading pushed him into picking up the pen - and keyboard. Also a data analyst, he's taking that leap into data science and machine learning. When not writing or studying, chances are that you'll catch him watching football or face-deep in an epic fantasy novel.

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