One Member of the Coinbase Three Pleads Guilty

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  • One member of the three-man team that illegally profited from Coinbase listing information has pleaded guilty
  • Nikhil Wahi admitted using privileged information from his brother, Ishan Wahi, to earn over $1 million
  • Ishan pleaded not guilty to providing the information, while the third man is still at large

The brother of the former Coinbase executive accused of insider trading has pleaded guilty to being part of the scheme that allegedly earned himself, his brother and another man over $1 million. Nikhil Wahi, brother of ex-Coinbase Product Manager Ishan Wahi, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with the plot, which involved buying up cryptocurrencies in the days before Coinbase announced their listing, using Ishan’s privileged position. Ishan has pleaded not guilty, but Nikhil’s guilty plea may undermine his case somewhat.

Coinbase Three Earned Over $1 Million

News of the plot to use Ishan’s position in Coinbase for material gain came to light in mid May when Ishan was arrested trying to leave New York for India, having told colleagues he had already gone. According to the Department of Justice, Ishan would inform Nikhil and another man, Sameer Ramani, of what coins were about to get listed.

The pair would then buy up large amounts of those coins and sell them if there was a pump in price when the announcement was made.

Nikhil Leaves Brother to Fight Case Alone

Nikhil initially pleaded not guilty with his brother, but has changed his mind, presumably having seen the evidence against him. While in court to file his plea, he told the judge that he “knew that it was wrong to receive Coinbase’s confidential information and make trades based on that confidential information,” and that he understood that his guilty plea meant he would eventually be deported from the United States and “lose everything that I have worked for”.

Nikhil will be sentenced in the coming months, with his crimes carrying a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, leaving Ishan to fight his case alone. Ramani, despite also being charged, remains at large.