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Ex-OpenSea Exec Jailed in Landmark NFT Insider Trading Case

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • The US Attorney's Office sentenced Chastain to three months in prison for insider trading in the NFT market.
  • Chastain is also subjected to additional penalties, including home confinement, supervised release, and a $50,000 fine.
  • OpenSea has implemented new policies prohibiting employees from using insider information for trading NFTs.
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Nathaniel Chastain, a former product manager at OpenSea, has received a three-month prison sentence for exploiting his role to gain insights into upcoming non-fungible token (NFT) promotions, which he used for his own financial benefit. 

“Today’s sentence should serve as a warning to other corporate insiders that insider trading – in any marketplace – will not be tolerated,” US prosecutors declared.

Additional Constraints Imposed in OpenSea Insider Trading Case

According to a statement from the US Attorney’s Office on August 22, Chastain’s case marks the first-ever insider trading case involving digital assets.

It states that Chastain will be under additional conditions following his three-month sentence:

“In addition to the prison term, CHASTAIN, 31 […] was sentenced to three months of home confinement, three years of supervised release, a $50,000 fine, and ordered to forfeiture the Ethereum he made trading the featured NFTs.”

US prosecutors claimed that between June and September 2021, Chastain exploited his access to OpenSea’s internal systems. He used information regarding which NFTs will be appearing on OpenSea’s homepage. Chastain then “secretly purchased dozens of NFTs shortly before they were featured.”

Earlier reports revealed that Chastain earned more than $50,000 in illicit profit from the scheme. In a May court hearing, Prosecutor Thomas Burnett highlighted Chastain’s wrongful intent. “He abused his status at OpenSea to line his own pockets, and he lied to cover his tracks,” Burnett stated.

In September 2021, Chastain’s insider trading strategy came to light through the observations of Twitter user Zuwu. Zuwu asked OpenSea in a tweet why it appears that Chastain “has a few secret wallets that appear to buy your front page drops before they are listed, then sells them shortly after the front-page-hype spikes for profits.”

To learn more about NFTs, read BeInCrypto’s guide: What Are Non-fungible Tokens and How Do They Work?

OpenSea Insider Trading Allegations Leads to Changing Employee Policies

Not long after, OpenSea issued an official statement acknowledging that Chastain had used confidential information to profit from NFT sales.

OpenSea’s Trading Volume Chart 1 Month. Source: DappRadar

OpenSea announced a new set of policies following Chastain’s allegations.

It specified that during periods of active promotion by OpenSea, employees were not to engage in buying or selling from collectors or creators. Additionally, team members were informed that using “insider information” for trading NFTs was not allowed.


In adherence to the Trust Project guidelines, BeInCrypto is committed to unbiased, transparent reporting. This news article aims to provide accurate, timely information. However, readers are advised to verify facts independently and consult with a professional before making any decisions based on this content.

Ciaran Lyons
Ciaran is a cryptocurrency journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He particularly enjoys writing about CBDC developments and the practical implementations of cryptocurrency in real-world scenarios.