The prosecutor of the former employee of OpenSea, the world’s largest marketplace for non-fungible tokens, involved in insider trading, has stated that he exploited inside knowledge of which assets would be featured on its site to generate “free money,”
The accusations against Nathaniel Chastain, a former OpenSea product manager, were the first in a series of high-profile prosecutions involving digital assets that the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan started last year. According to prosecutors, this is the first criminal insider trading case involving such assets.
In his closing speech as the case neared its conclusion on Monday, prosecutor Thomas Burnett stated that Chastain decided which NFTs to showcase and then profited unlawfully by selling his tokens shortly after. Before getting discovered, he made up to $50,000 on such trades before he was caught on September 1.
“He was using OpenSea’s information like his own piggy bank,” Burnett explained to the jurors. “It was as good as free money.”
Chastain’s attorneys were scheduled to make their closing arguments later on Monday. They claim that his conduct did not constitute insider trading and that the information he obtained did not belong to OpenSea and had no inherent value to the firm.
According to Chastain’s lawyers, OpenSea did not begin prohibiting employees from purchasing or selling featured collections or creators until Chastain’s last day, in September 2021. According to Chastain’s lawyer, David Miller, the company did not treat such material as confidential while he worked there.
Chastain has been charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. His trial in Manhattan before U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman began last week.