At long last, after eight months, someone is finally being held accountable for the GameStop shenanigans. No, Dave Portnoy: That someone is not Steve Cohen, nor, with apologies to the angry conspiracy theorists of r/WallStreetBets, is it Ken Griffin. Instead, it’s a couple of enthusiastic wash traders.

The agency alleges that Gu and Lee were “able to generate illicit profits by using broker-dealer accounts that passes rebates back to their customers to place initial orders on one side of the market, and then using broker dealer accounts on the other side of the market….”

“After certain broker-dealers closed Gu and Lee’s accounts in early March 2021, Gu was able to continue the scheme through mid-April 2021 by lying to broker-deals about his trading strategy, using accounts in the names of other people, and accessing these accounts through virtual private networks to hide his activity,” according to an SEC press release announcing the charges.

Fear not, angry Redditors: The SEC isn’t done with this just yet. Why, look, they’ve even called in one of your enemies—you know, the one who called for “legal and regulatory repercussions” for your trading—in for a chat.

“So, who got an SEC subpoena over $GME? Actually, I know who, they’re on my subpoena. With all that’s going on in the world…” [Michael] Burry said in a now-deleted tweet on Friday. He attached a copy of the SEC letter dated Sept. 21.

Speaking of repercussions, the People’s Bank of China’s decision to declare war on cryptocurrencies is having some.

Huobi Global, which was founded in 2013 and currently operates from offices in Singapore, South Korea, the U.S. and other countries, over the weekend said it stopped allowing new customers in mainland China to register accounts. The exchange will also gradually retire existing accounts in China by the end of 2021 to ensure the safety of its customers’ assets, it added.

Another big cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, said Monday that it recently started blocking account registrations using China cellular phone numbers…. FTX, a major crypto derivatives exchange that was based in Hong Kong, in recent days moved its headquarters to the Bahamas, an offshore tax haven.

And the reasons for Gary Gensler & co. to follow suit here continue to grow.

A cryptocurrency expert pleaded guilty to conspiring to violating U.S. law by traveling to North Korea to give a presentation on how to use blockchain technology to launder money and evade sanctions.

Virgil Griffith… was arrested in November 2019 after attending a conference in Pyongyang earlier in the year….

Prosecutors said Mr. Griffith conspired to violate the sanctions law by planning with others to give the presentation at the conference without receiving approval from the U.S. The presentation amounted to services to North Korea, prosecutors said, because it provided valuable information tailored to a North Korean audience. It emphasized that U.S. or U.N. sanctions couldn’t stop the use of blockchain technology, according to prosecutors.

Meanwhile, players in the space continue to search for ways to avoid the eventuality.

Mining bitcoin is an energy-intensive process…. While more nuclear-bitcoin tie-ups are expected, they aren’t likely to be large enough or happen quickly enough to save nuclear plants teetering on the edge of closure, said Bill Dugan… For bitcoin miners, the partnerships allow them to promote projects as having an environmentally friendly source of power.

Benjamin Melnicki joined Robinhood Crypto LLC this week, a Robinhood spokesman said.

Mr. Melnicki was most recently chief compliance officer of digital currency asset management firm Grayscale Investments LLC, a post he had held since January, according to his LinkedIn profile. Before Grayscale, he worked as regulatory counsel at cryptocurrency startup Ripple Labs Inc. and Blockchain.com, a provider of cryptocurrency services to retail and institutional clients, with each position lasting about a year. Earlier, he was director of swap dealer compliance at Bank of America Corp.

Now, one bitcoin bull points out, just imagine how crazy things will be when everyone’s doing it.

The new asset class is dominated by what [SkyBridge Capital founder Anthony] Scaramucci estimates to be about 10% of the financial-service community, he said in an interview Wednesday, calling it a “feeding frenzy” that reminded him of the 1990s dot-com boom.

“The institutions are not there,” Scaramucci said. “Anybody who’s telling you there’s institutional adoption into this space is not being totally honest -- or they’re seeing something that I’m not seeing.”

SEC charges two over wash trades in GameStop and other so-called meme stocks [MarketWatch]
Michael Burry says he was subpoenaed by the SEC as GameStop saga drags on [CNBC]
Cryptocurrency Exchanges Curb Trading From China After Beijing’s Warning [WSJ]
Crypto Guru Pleads Guilty to Advising North Korea on Blockchain Technology [WSJ]
Bitcoin Miners Eye Nuclear Power as Environmental Criticism Mounts [WSJ]
Robinhood’s Crypto Unit Hires New Chief Compliance Officer From Grayscale [WSJ]
Scaramucci Sees Institutional Investors Sitting Out Crypto Craze [Bloomberg]

For more of the latest in litigation, regulation, deals and financial services trends, sign up for Finance Docket, a partnership between Breaking Media publications Above the Law and Dealbreaker.

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