Former Coinbase Employee Charged With Insider Trading for Tipping Off Brother and Friend on New Crypto Listings


  • The US Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York has charged a former Coinbase employee with insider trading.
  • The Coinbase employee allegedly tipped off his brother and friend on new crypto listings on Coinbase’s exchanges.
  • He is being charged alongside his brother and friend.

A former Coinbase employee is being charged in what might be the first case of insider trading in the crypto industry.

US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, and the Assistant Director-in-charge of the New York Field Office of the FBI, Michael J. Driscoll, have announced an indictment charging Ishan Wahi, a former product manager at Coinbase Global ‘with wire fraud conspiracy and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to commit insider trading in cryptocurrency assets.’ Mr. Wahi is being charged alongside his brother, Ishan Wahi, and friend, Sameer Ramani.

Ishan Wahi allegedly tipped off his brother and friend ‘regarding crypto assets that were going to be listed on Coinbase exchanges.’ The brothers were arrested earlier today in Seattle, Washington. Plans are underway for them to be presented in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. Sameer Ramani is yet to be arrested and remains at large.

Mr. Ishan Wahi Had Advanced Knowledge of Listings on Coinbase that Was Meant to be Confidential.

According to the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, new listings on Coinbase were kept confidential with the exchange ‘prohibited its employees from sharing that information with others, including by providing a “tip” to any person who might trade based on that information.’

From October 2020, Mr. Ishan Wahi worked as a product manager for one of Coinbase’s listing teams. He was involved in highly confidential processes of crypto asset listings. Beginning August 2021 and through May 2022, he was a member of a private messaging channel reserved for a few Coinbase employees that oversaw the crypto asset listing process.

The Trio Benefited from Insider Information on at Least 14 Occassions.

Beginning June 2021 through April 2022, he had advanced knowledge of such listings and shared confidential information with his brother and friend. The charges further explained that:

After getting tips from ISHAN WAHI, NIKHIL WAHI and RAMANI used anonymous Ethereum blockchain wallets to acquire crypto assets shortly before Coinbase publicly announced that it was listing or considering listing these crypto assets on its exchanges.  Following Coinbase public listing announcements, NIKHIL WAHI and RAMANI sold the crypto assets for a profit.

The trio is reported to have benefited from such insider trading schemes on at least 14 separate occasions.