Crypto Whistleblowing

Are you a software engineer that works in the cryptocurrency? Do you may have information that may indicate your employer is engaged in illegal activity?

You are not the only one.
You are not alone.
There is protection for those who speak out.
There are others like you who can help.

What is a whisteblower?

A whisteblower is a person who reports corporate wrongdoing that is in the public interest. Whistleblowers are an essential part of the justice system and serve as a check and balance on corporate greed and corruption. In most democratic countries whistleblowers are protected by the law and given protection against retaliation.

In our era, software engineers have an obligation to our profession and to society at large to call out illegal activity and fraud. The cryptocurrency bubble has seen an unprecendented level of corruption in our industry and the burden sometimes falls on us to assist law enforcement and ensure that this level of criminality does not occur again.

Technology professionals serve as the final backstop in the tech sector against an executive class that sometimes becomes concerned with profits at the expense of the public good.

How can I blow the whistle?

If you feel you have important information, you should gather up all supporting documents and evidence to produce a timestamped paper trail. You should then only dicuss this information and case with legal counsel, law enforcement, and professionals bound by confidentiality.

You can submit tips and referrals anonymously and digitally to several government supervisory bodies:

Many engineers feel afraid or intimidated by their employers or the about going to law enforcement. This should not be the case and know that there is support and legal protection for those who speak out. Whistleblower programs protect the confidentiality of whistleblowers and do not disclose information that would reveal a whistleblower’s identity.

The SEC has issued more than $450 million in rewards to whisteblowers for reporting wrongdoing.

How do I know if my cryptocurrency employer is engaging in illegal activity?

Cryptocurrency fraud is widespread and pervasive across the world, there are an abundance of past cases you can learn from. There are several obvious "smell tests" that may warrent suspicion about your employer:

What are official government guidelines on cryptocurrency crime?

European and American agencies have issued official guidelines regardling financial crime:

Some jurisdictions offer financial rewards for eligible whistleblowers which lead to successful cases:

What does not count as whistleblowing?

Personal grievances such as workplace bullying, harassment, discrimination are not whistleblowing activity. Only cases where the public has been defrauded and the criminal activity is of the public interest. For any other situation you should consult local legal counsel.

What are past cases of cryptocurrency fraud that have been won by governments?

As a matter of public record you can find the details for most of the cases the US government has filed :

For other cases see: https://www.sec.gov/news

What is the Howey Test?

The Howey Test is a legal test that determines whether a transaction represents an investment contract. It dictates that the sale of a security is a transaction in which "a person invests his money in a common enterprise and is led to expect profits solely from the efforts of the promoter or a third party."

The registration, sale and purchase of securities is a regulated activity.

See the official guidelines from the SEC on a Framework for “Investment Contract” Analysis of Digital Assets

What are the common sources of cryptocurrency crimes?

Public cases in the past have included the following sources of illegal activity that lead to prosecution:

How can I disclose internal company documents to the press?

If you believe your information represents a major scandal which is relevant to the public interest you should approach jouranlists who may be able to advise whether the information is credible.

Many financial news outlets provide a SecureDrop service for anonymously disclosing information that you think are relevant to the public interest.