On March 19, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) ordered digital asset exchange operator Coinbase Inc. to pay $6.5 million following the determination of false, misleading or inaccurating reporting and wash trading between January 2015 and September 2018.
According to the CFTC release, Coinbase "recklessly delivered false, misleading, or inaccurate reports" concerning transactions in digital assets on the electronic trading platform it operated, failing to disclose that it operated more than one trading program and trading through multiple accounts.
Furthermore, transactions of these programs were found to match, resulting in trades between accounts and creating a potentially perceived volume and liquidity. According to the order, "transactional information of this type is used by market participants for price discovery, and potentially resulted in a perceived volume and level of liquidity of digital assets that was false, misleading, or inaccurate."
The CFTC defined wash trading as an operation that consists of entering into, or purporting to enter into, transactions to give the appearance that purchases and sales have been made, without incurring market risk or changing the trader's market position. The Commodity Exchange Act prohibits wash trading, also called Round Trip Trading and Wash Sales.