Terraform Labs and Do Kwon Held Accountable for Fraud in SEC Case

The recent collapse of the Terra ecosystem, a major player in the cryptocurrency space, has taken a significant legal turn. A Manhattan jury found Terraform Labs, the company behind the Terra blockchain, and its co-founder Do Kwon liable for fraud charges brought by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Here is a peek into the details of the case, the accusations against Terraform Labs and Do Kwon, and the likely implications of this verdict.

The SEC’s Case against Terraform Labs and Do Kwon

The SEC accused Terraform Labs and Do Kwon of misleading investors about several key aspects of their ecosystem, particularly regarding the stability of their algorithmic stablecoin, TerraUSD (UST). Here is a breakdown of the key points:

Misrepresentation of UST’s Stability– The SEC alleges that Terraform Labs and Do Kwon misrepresented UST as a stablecoin that could maintain its peg to the US dollar through an algorithmic mechanism. They claim that Kwon presented UST as a self-healing system, while it supposedly relied heavily on continuous trading activity, including large-scale interventions by institutional investors.

Secret Deal with Jump Trading- The SEC presented evidence suggesting a secret agreement between Terraform Labs and a major institutional investor, Jump Trading. According to the SEC, Jump Trading intervened during a previous de-pegging event in May 2021 by buying large amounts of UST off-market to restore its value artificially. The SEC argues that Terraform Labs and Do Kwon deliberately concealed this intervention to maintain the illusion of UST’s algorithmic effectiveness.

Lack of Transparency—The SEC further alleges that Terraform Labs failed to adequately disclose the risks associated with UST and the Terra ecosystem in general. This lack of transparency misled investors about the platform’s true nature and vulnerabilities.

The Jury’s Verdict and Terraform Labs’ Response

After a nine-day trial, the jury sided with the SEC, finding Terraform Labs and Do Kwon liable on all six fraud charges. The SEC expressed satisfaction with the verdict, considering the devastating impact of the Terra ecosystem collapse on investors. The jury reiterated the importance of compliance within the cryptocurrency industry and the SEC’s commitment to protecting investors.

Terraform Labs, however, expressed disappointment with the verdict, maintaining that the evidence did not support the SEC’s claims. They also questioned the SEC’s legal authority in this case and indicated they are exploring their options for appeal.

Do Kwon’s Extradition and Likely Consequences- Drama Unfolds

Do Kwon did not attend the trial due to his current location in Montenegro. He was arrested in March 2023 after attempting to flee with fake travel documents. Both the US and South Korea have filed extradition requests for Do Kwon, and his final destination remains unclear as Montenegro’s courts deliberate on these competing claims.

The SEC’s victory in this case could have significant implications for the cryptocurrency industry. It highlights the SEC’s increasing scrutiny of crypto companies and their possible violation of securities laws. This verdict might set a precedent for future legal actions against other crypto firms operating in the US, prompting them to prioritize compliance and transparency.

While the full impact of this verdict is yet to be seen, it marks a significant development in the ongoing saga of the Terra ecosystem collapse. The legal battle might continue with Terraform Labs’ likely appeal, and Do Kwon’s extradition case remains unresolved. 



Joas Buysse

Joas is a seasoned investor and fintech expert from Bassecourt, Jura, Switzerland. She also works as an administration executive at Stock B. Joas has been working with SB news since 2 years to educate its readers about NFT, Cryptocurrency and Fintech tips.

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