O'Melveny Insights 2023

16 Crypto Crackdown In 2022, regulators accused crypto companies of, among other offenses, offering unregistered securities, manipulating the market, and trading unregulated derivatives—standard operating procedures in the crypto world. As enforcement ramps up, who will stop the regulators? Certainly not those who lost money or government officials acting on behalf of those who lost money. This is not to say that the agencies will have smooth sailing in 2023. Lawyers representing digital asset projects are more and more sophisticated, and projects whose very existence are threatened will have no choice but to push back against the regulators. With the frenzy of enforcement to come, there will surely be a regulators’ turf battle. It is also possible that the turf will relocate—to, say, somewhere warmer. There are places such as Bermuda and the Bahamas with climates more receptive to digital products, where there is less to fear from US regulators. But as losses mount in the midst of a crypto winter, warm places may be harder and harder to find. After FTX’s astonishing collapse, no regulatory agency will hesitate to investigate any entity in the digital asset world. For the 5th consecutive year, O’Melveny has been named among the top law firms serving fintech companies. —Chambers FinTech