Ex-Employee at OpenSea Charged With NFT Insider Trading

New York City prosecutors have levied first-of-a-kind NFT insider trading charges against a former OpenSea employee.

Manhattan Attorney Damian Williams says it represents his commitment to stamping out both stock market and blockchain-related trading crimes.

  • The charges are related to insider trading activities carried out by 31 y/o Nathaniel Chastain while working at OpenSea.
  • According to Reuters, Chastain is accused of secretly buying 45 specific NFTs on 11 different occasions. When doing so, he was under confidential knowledge that the tokens would soon obtain listings on OpenSea’s front page.
  • OpenSea is the world’s largest NFT marketplace. Collections listed on the site are due to receive surges in attention and demand. Therefore, collecting them beforehand gives insiders an unfair trading advantage in anticipation of a price surge.
  • The prosecutors allege that Chastain typically sold such NFTs at two to five times what he paid for each.
  • In one trade on September 14th, the suspect quadrupled his money by trading the “Spectrum of a Ramenfication Theory” NFT. He sold it the next morning after its listing.
  • His total activity reportedly took place between June and September 2021. At the time, Chastain had control of what NFTs would obtain listings on the front page.
  • When exposed months ago, OpenSea forced Chastain to leave the company.
  • OpenSea team stated:

His behavior was in violation of our employee policies and in direct conflict with our core values and principles.

  • OpenSea was first made aware of the secret trades thanks to a Twitter user’s evaluation of blockchain data. Since blockchain keeps a full history of crypto transactions, experts have repeatedly stated that it’s not an effective criminal tool.
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Chastain has also faced charges of wire fraud and money laundering, which could potentially land him 20 years in prison.

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