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Opyn DeFi protocol founders are leaving crypto after CFTC crackdown

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Zubin Koticha and Alexis Gauba, two founders of the Opyn decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol, are stepping down from the project and “leaving crypto,” according to a statement from Koticha posted to social media on Nov. 14. The statement comes approximately two months after Opyn settled an enforcement action against it from the United States Commodity and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

In his statement, Koticha claimed that the decision was “really emotional” for them. “We thought we were going to be in crypto for the rest of our lives,” Koticha explained. “But unfortunately and unexpectedly, this is the end of the road.” According to him, Opyn will continue under the leadership of its head of research, Andrew Leone, who is being promoted to CEO.

Koticha hinted that the two executives will be working on a new project, stating, “As for me and Alexis – we got something new for y’all very soon.” However, this new project will not be crypto-related, as the two “have made the decision that we are leaving crypto.”

Gauba shared Koticha’s post from her own account, commenting, “Always thought I’d be building in crypto for the rest of my life, so it’s really sad to be leaving.”

Related: Opyn removes liquidity from Uniswap after $370K stolen in DeFi exploit

Opyn is an options trading platform that runs on the Ethereum network. Its development team is headquartered in San Francisco, California. On Sept. 7, the CFTC announced that it was simultaneously issuing and settling an enforcement action against Opyn and two other DeFi teams for allegedly operating an unregistered derivatives exchange. Opyn was ordered to pay a civil monetary penalty of $250,000 and “cease and desist” from violating U.S. commodities trading laws. Attempting to open the Opyn interface from a U.S. IP address now produces a “blocked” error page, and this redirection persists even when using many offshore VPN addresses.

Opyn “blocked” page. Source: Opyn.

The CFTC action against Opyn was controversial even within the commission itself, as Commissioner Summer Mersinger wrote a dissenting opinion claiming that the enforcement action should not have been taken.