Binance.US struggles amid SEC lawsuit and banking hurdles


  • Binance.US faces severe operational challenges after an SEC lawsuit in June, leading to a “radioactive” status with banks and significant revenue declines.
  • The lawsuit accuses Binance and its affiliates of selling unregistered securities and other violations, resulting in over $1 billion in assets leaving the platform.
  • Legal and financial repercussions for Binance.US include a settlement of $4.3 billion for money laundering and terrorism financing law violations.

In a recent development that has significantly impacted Binance.US, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) lawsuit filed in June has led to severe operational challenges for the cryptocurrency exchange. According to Christopher Blodgett, the Chief Operating Officer of Binance.US, during a deposition shared in a court filing on March 5, the legal action has rendered the firm “radioactive” to banking institutions, critically affecting its operations and revenue streams.

The lawsuit, which accused Binance, Binance.US, and its founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao of selling unregistered securities, among other allegations, has led to a drastic reduction in the exchange’s ability to transact in U.S. dollars due to the withdrawal of support from its banking partners.

Following the SEC’s charges, Binance.US experienced a rapid withdrawal of assets, with approximately $1 billion leaving the platform shortly after the allegations were made public. This financial strain forced the exchange to lay off more than 200 employees, accounting for over two-thirds of its workforce, as revenues plummeted by over 75 percent. The loss of institutional trust was further evidenced by the reduction in the number of market makers on the exchange, dropping from more than 20 to less than five.

Legal and financial repercussions

The SEC’s lawsuit encompasses several serious charges against Binance.US and its affiliates, including engaging in wash trading to artificially inflate its trading volumes and the commingling of user funds in an account associated with Zhao at Merit Peak. In response to these charges, Binance.US and Zhao faced immediate financial and operational hurdles. Notably, the day following the lawsuit, the SEC sought a temporary restraining order to freeze the assets of Binance.US amid concerns about the potential offshore transfer of customer funds, a motion that a judge ultimately dismissed.

Despite these challenges, Binance.US, its parent company, and Zhao reached a settlement in November with the Department of Justice, Treasury, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, agreeing to a $4.3 billion fine for violations related to money laundering and terrorism financing laws.

However, the SEC has continued to press its charges against the exchange, seeking further evidence in its ongoing investigation. Zhao, for his part, has pleaded guilty to a charge of money laundering, with a sentencing hearing scheduled for April 3, facing up to 18 months in prison.

The path forward for Binance.US

The SEC’s legal action against Binance.US has impacted not only its operational capabilities but also its financial stability. Still, it has also significantly affected its standing within the banking industry and its ability to maintain and acquire new banking partners. The firm’s characterization as “radioactive” by its own COO underscores the severity of the situation and the uphill battle Binance.US faces in restoring its reputation and operational viability.

Despite these setbacks, Binance.US is confronted with the challenge of navigating through its current predicament while maintaining service for its users and complying with regulatory requirements. The ongoing legal battle with the SEC and the significant financial penalties already levied highlight the critical need for cryptocurrency exchanges to adhere to regulatory standards and practices. As the case progresses, the industry will closely watch the outcomes and potential precedents set by this high-profile legal confrontation.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Mutuma Maxwell

Maxwell especially enjoys penning pieces about blockchain and cryptocurrency. He started his venture into blogging in 2020, later focusing on the world of cryptocurrencies. His life's work is to introduce the concept of decentralization to people worldwide.

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