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News/Binance and CZ Ignite Legal War to Disrupt SEC's Regulatory Grip

Binance and CZ Ignite Legal War to Disrupt SEC's Regulatory Grip

Sep 22 2023

10 months ago3 minutes read
Animated judge robot weighing Binance and SEC in legal dispute

Binance and CZ Throw Down the Gauntlet – Challenging SEC's Sphere of Influence

In a bid to quash the SEC lawsuit, Binance, under the leadership of its CEO Changpeng Zhao, familiarly revered as 'CZ', launched legal offensive operations. They zeroed in on the authority of SEC, contending in their court filing that the SEC has breached its legal bounds.

Backed by a comprehensive 60-page legal petition, Binance and its top brass maintain that the SEC has unlawfully stretched its jurisdiction over matters pertaining to cryptocurrencies. As per the contention raised by Binance and CZ, the SEC is apparently applying new regulatory theories retroactively over cryptocurrency sales dating back as far as July 2017 – a period when there was no clear guidance on cryptos. 

To quote directly from the motion, "The SEC is pursuing these new theories retroactively, seeking to assign responsibility for crypto asset sales that occurred as early as July 2017, before the SEC provided any public guidance on cryptocurrencies."


SEC's Accusation of Overreach and Infringement

CZ in courtroom, focused amid crypto symbols (1).webp

The genesis of this tangle was the lawsuit filed by the SEC against Binance on June 5, branding Binance with charges of peddling unregistered securities and perpetuating unauthorized operations in the U.S.

Adding to Binance's turbulence, the lawsuit from SEC was preceded by another suit initiated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that was launched three months before, bearing similar charges. Lawyers representing Binance contested that the SEC is twisting securities laws, warping this interpretive inconsistency to assert dominance over the crypto zone.


The Avalanche of Financial Impacts

Binance.US was swept by a financial tsunami, recording a shattering 98% plummet in daily trading volumes from September 2022 onwards. As a downstream effect of this bearish trend, on September 13, Binance.US had to slash off 30% of its surviving staff. Amidst these challenging headwinds, Brian Shroder, holding the esteemed dual role of President and CEO of Binance.US, made a strategic exit from the company.


Debating over Asset Custody  and Adherence to Regulations 

Binance finds itself under the SEC's gun with accusations of mishandling customer deposits thrown at them. A claim that Binance categorically rejects.

Consequent to the scrutiny, Binance.US had reached a consensus with the SEC to withhold customer deposits within the geographical canopy of the US., distancing them from any touchpoints with Zhao or Binance-associated entities. 

However, this agreement seemed to have suffered a breach as the SEC alleges Binance.US of contravening the ‘consent order’ by persisting the use of Ceffu - a custody service offered by Binance.


The Suspicious Chronology and Public Sentiments

In an uncanny unfolding of events, Binance's decision to file a lawsuit coincided with an escalating dispute about the custody of Binance.US client assets. This timing drew apprehensions from a section of the crypto community. 

Adam Cochran, a Venture Partner at Cinneamhain, ventured an opinion that Binance's recent legal maneuvers could potentially be a strategic blunder. A roadmap disclosed on June 23 anticipated that Binance would register its motions to dismiss by September 21, sidestepping the magistrate court proceedings.


A Riddle within the European Stablecoin 

Speculations have been rife about CZ sidelining stablecoins in Europe, given the imminent MiCA regulations. But CZ has strongly countered these claims. Despite being caught in the crossfire of regulatory missiles hitting Binance USD (BUSD), Binance has demonstrated its intention to reinforce its stablecoin offerings. 

The MiCA regulations waiting in the wings are speculated to enforce all EU exchanges to delist stablecoins if the issuers failed to acquire an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license.


Key Takeaways

The ongoing legal slugfest between Binance and SEC paints a daunting picture of the intricate fabric of legal, regulatory, and financial dynamics at play. The narrative unfolds with an exhaustive 60-page motion, challenging SEC's overreach, mirrored by a dramatic fall in trading volumes and a 30% staff reduction at Binance.US. 

The statement of legal intents, changing public sentiment, and incoming international stablecoin regulations add further layers to the complexity. This standoff is more than a legal tug of war - it might well be the harbinger of a new era in crypto regulation.


FAQs 

1. What instigated the SEC's lawsuit against Binance?

On June 5th, the SEC flagged Binance for allegedly selling unregistered securities and conducting illicit operations in the U.S, thereby prompting the litigation.

2. Why is the Binance-SEC case a seminal legal dispute for the crypto industry?

Given its potential to redefine the regulatory outlines for the crypto industry concerning the interpretation and application of securities law for crypto trades, the Binance-SEC case could become a regulatory milestone.

3. What are the significant setbacks Binance.US has grappled with since the SEC lawsuit's initiation?

Binance.US has suffered a 98% tumble in daily trading volumes, a 30% reduction in staff strength, along with the resignation of its President and CEO, Brian Shroder.

4. How is Binance maneuvering against the backdrop of the impending MiCA regulations in Europe?

Binance is relentlessly working on strengthening its stablecoin ecosystem, notwithstanding the looming MiCA regulations which mandate that all issuers of stablecoins must be holders of an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license.

5. Where does Binance stand in terms of asset custody as per the SEC's allegations?

The SEC has accused Binance of contravening a ‘consent order’ under which customer deposits were to be sequestered within the U.S. Binance continues to use Ceffu, a custodial service they provide, sparking controversy.

This article has been refined and enhanced by ChatGPT.

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