- The SEC has initiated 13 charges against the largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, alleging violations of federal securities laws.
- The lawsuit has ignited a debate among industry insiders over whether this action may either harm the crypto industry’s growth or bring regulatory clarity to the sector.
The recent lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) against Binance, the world’s premier cryptocurrency exchange, has stirred significant controversy in the industry. If the unfolding cryptocurrency revolution eventually supplants the traditional banking sector, this lawsuit could prove a colossal mistake, according to Jim Bianco, president and founder of Bianco Research.
Today we charged Binance Holdings Ltd. (Binance); U.S.-based affiliate, BAM Trading Services Inc., which, together with Binance, operates https://t.co/swcxioZKVP; and their founder, Changpeng Zhao, with a variety of securities law violations.https://t.co/H1wgGgR5ir pic.twitter.com/IWTb7Et86H
— U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (@SECGov) June 5, 2023
Bianco views the enforcement action against Binance as a fresh attempt by US legislators to deter cryptocurrency from flourishing within the nation. In an email exchange with CoinDesk, Bianco commented,
“If crypto is the design of the next financial system, this [lawsuit] is a huge mistake.”
This action by the SEC is in response to allegations that Binance, under Changpeng Zhao’s leadership, has been providing unregistered securities and staking services to the public, thereby breaching US securities laws. This development follows the Commission’s lawsuit against Justin Sun and three of his companies earlier this year for analogous infringements.
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Aaron Kaplan, co-CEO and co-founder of Prometheum Inc., views the SEC’s firm action as the dawn of a new era of regulated market infrastructure for crypto in the US. This shift, he suggests,
“should help the industry move forward,”
despite altering the competitive landscape.
Binance confirmed to CoinDesk that it had received a Wells Notice, an early warning from the SEC that ultimately precipitated the lawsuit. This development mirrors the predicament of the US-based exchange, Coinbase, which received a similar warning in March for listing potential unregistered securities. Following the news of the Binance lawsuit, Coinbase’s shares slumped 10% on Monday.
The current regulatory ambiguity has led to the departure of digital asset ventures from the US to more favorable jurisdictions, as observed by Richard Mico, U.S. CEO and Chief Legal Officer of Banxa. In contrast, Steve Rosenblum, founder of Libertify.com, and Valerii Brizhatiuk, co-founder of Swisstronik, see the SEC’s action as not only justified but overdue, particularly given Binance’s criticism for operational transparency.
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