CFTC can issue summons through Ooki DAO’s help chat box, says judge

Regulation

The United States Commodities Futures Trading Commission can serve members of the Ooki decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, with summons through online communications, according to a federal judge.

In an Oct. 3 order granting a CFTC motion, U.S. District Judge William Orrick said the commission could provide a copy of its summons and complaint through Ooki DAO’s help chat box as well as a notice on its online forum. The judge said the court’s decision was based on the CFTC effectively serving the Ooki DAO by providing the necessary documents.

The CFTC filed a lawsuit against the Ooki DAO on Sept. 22, alleging the organization offered “illegal, off-exchange digital asset trading,” violated registration guidelines and broke provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act. The legal action came alongside similar charges against bZeroX and its founders, ordered to pay $250,000 as part of a civil monetary penalty.

Related: CFTC brings $1.7B fraud case involving Bitcoin against South African national

Ooki DAO members discussed how to respond to the CFTC lawsuit, suggesting it allocate funds from the treasury to hire lawyers for DAO members, attempt to elicit support from the decentralized finance (DeFi) community and raise legal funds by selling nonfungible tokens. Many expect the organization will initiate a governance vote to finalize any decision on dealing with the lawsuit.

Many in the crypto space have criticized the CFTC for pursuing enforcement actions against organizations and companies without clear regulatory guidelines. Jake Chervinsky, head of policy at crypto advocacy group Blockchain Association, said the legal actions against Ooki DAO and bZeroX are “the most egregious example of regulation by enforcement in the history of crypto.”

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