Bankrupt crypto lender Genesis Global has agreed to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission $21 million to settle a lawsuit over its defunct Gemini Earn lending program.
The agreement, filed Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York, will allow Genesis to focus its resources on repaying customers and other creditors. Genesis will pay the fine only if all customers and creditors are made whole, a court document showed.
“The Settlement Agreement is the product of extensive negotiations between the SEC and GGC. The proposed settlement will, among other benefits ... eliminate the risks, expenses, and uncertainty associated with protracted litigation against the SEC,” the filing shows.
The SEC sued Genesis early last year, claiming that Genesis and crypto exchange Gemini Trust sold securities illegally through their joint program, Gemini Earn, to hundreds of thousands of investors.
Genesis, a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, and Gemini, operated by the Facebook-famed Winklevoss twins, offered a program through which Gemini customers could loan their crypto assets to Genesis and earn interest in exchange.
The Gemini Earn program operated from December 2020 to November 2022, when the crypto world was thrown into a tailspin following the collapse of the crypto exchange FTX. Genesis filed for bankruptcy in January 2023, a week after the SEC filed its lawsuit.
“Today’s charges build on previous actions to make clear to the marketplace and the investing public that crypto lending platforms and other intermediaries need to comply with our time-tested securities laws,” SEC Chair Gary Gensler said at the time. “It promotes trust in markets. It’s not optional. It’s the law.”
Genesis did not admit or deny wrongdoing in Thursday’s settlement. A spokesperson has not returned a request for comment.
An SEC spokesperson declined to comment beyond public filings.
Genesis plans to seek court approval of its bankruptcy plan Feb. 14, the court filing shows.