OpenSea employee accused of fraud is building his defence


  • Former OpenSea product manager Nathaniel Chastain is preparing his case while he awaits a response to his application to dismiss the wire fraud allegations brought against him.
  • Chastain was accused of front-running by reportedly acquiring NFTs that he knew would be listed on OpenSea’s homepage, according to the Justice Department.
  • Now, Chastain is claiming that the FBI violated his rights prior to his arrest, attempting to subpoena his former employer, and attempting to have the word “insider trading” excluded from the case altogether.

According to recent court documents, Nathaniel Chastain, the former OpenSea product manager accused of fraud for allegedly forerunning the posting of various non-fungible tokens to prominent positions in the marketplace, is making three fresh efforts in his defense. 

Chastain is attempting to have the word “insider trading” removed from the case and wants to subpoena his former company, OpenSea. He also alleges that the search of his residence by the Federal Bureau of Investigation violated his rights under the fourth and fifth amendments.

In order to determine whether the data Chastain is alleged to have utilized to make a profit is considered “property” of OpenSea, Chastain asks the court to issue a subpoena to OpenSea. According to the wire fraud allegation, Chastain deceived his company by allegedly using the confidential data on which NFTs would be displayed on the homepage. 

The records included in the subpoena Chastain requests would reveal whether OpenSea executives were aware of Chastain’s alleged conduct. The Slack messages between Chastain and other staff members, any documents or communications mentioning OpenSea’s employee and confidentiality policies, any documents or communications the company shared with the government, and any documents or communications in which OpenSea CEO Devin Finzer and co-founder Alex Atallah mentioned Chastain are things Chastain’s defense team is hoping to get their hands on.

In June of this year, the Justice Department accused Chastain of wire fraud, charging that Chastain traded NFTs that he knew would be displayed on OpenSea’s home page, inflating the price and making money off of sensitive information. The DOJ did not formally pursue insider trading charges, although asserting that Chastain’s acts were effectively insider trading and using that wording papers because insider trading is a crime that directly relates to securities and commodities and NFTs are not officially categorized as such.