- Nikhil Wahi of Seattle used misappropriated information about crypto asset listings on an exchange and sold them for a profit.
An Indian American man was sentenced this week to 10 months in prison for his participation in a scheme to commit insider trading in cryptocurrency assets. Nikhil Wahi, 27, of Seattle, Washington, used confidential information from his brother, Ishan Wahi, 32, a former product manager at Coinbase Global, Inc., about which crypto assets were scheduled to be listed on Coinbase’s exchanges. He had previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the Department of Justice said.
According to the DoJ, Ishan Wahi worked at Coinbase as a product manager assigned to the asset listing team, beginning in October 2020. “In that role, he was involved in the highly confidential process of listing crypto assets on Coinbase’s exchanges,” the DoJ said. Thus he had “a detailed and advanced knowledge of which crypto assets Coinbase was planning to list and the timing of public announcements about those listings.”
Allegations in the indictment and statements made in public court proceedings and filings note that beginning in approximately October 2020, Wahi, 27, obtained from his brother, secret tips about which crypto assets would be listed on Coinbase. Using that insider information, he used anonymous Ethereum blockchain wallets and accounts held under pseudonyms at centralized cryptocurrency exchanges to acquire those crypto assets shortly before Coinbase publicly announced that it was listing these crypto assets on its exchanges. On multiple occasions following Coinbase’s public listing announcements, he then sold the crypto assets for a profit.
In addition to the prison sentence, Wahi was ordered to pay $892,500 in forfeiture.
(Top inset, Ishan Wahi)