The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating Yuga Labs for securities violations on the sale of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs. According to a non-named source, the company also investigated the distribution of ApeCoin, which was launched in March. Instead, the Ape Foundation is the "steward" of the Ethereum-based token, which is intended to be used throughout the growing Bored Ape ecosystem of apps and marketplaces.
The Ape Foundation is overseen by a board of directors composed of prominent Web3 designers, including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, FTX Ventures CEO Amy Wu, and Animoca Brands co-founder and executive chairman Yat Siu.
According to a Bloomberg analysis, the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into whether certain assets might be treated more like stocks and therefore should follow the same rules. APEcoin, the token used to the collection, is also being investigated.
In a statement to Bloomberg, a SEC investigation may not necessarily lead to action against Yuga. The Miami-based company, which also includes CryptoPunks and Meetbits, said it is "committed to fully cooperating with any inquiries."
Yuga Labs may be the highest-profile crypto platform to be targeted by the SEC, thanks to backers such as venture capital firm a16z and NBA sensation Stephen Curry.
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The news comes as US regulators take good on their vow to crack down on the mostly unregulated crypto market. Last month, Gary Gensler, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, suggested that proof-of-stake networks such as post-Merge Ethereum may be required to comply with securities laws that regulate securities issuance.