The Commodities Future Trading Commission (CFTC) has charged crypto exchange Binance and its CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) with a long list of regulatory violations, sending uncertainty through the digital asset markets.
In a press release from the CFTC, Chairman Rostin Behnam says Binance knowingly broke CFTC rules and has been actively avoiding compliance.
“Today’s enforcement action demonstrates that there is no location, or claimed lack of location, that will prevent the CFTC from protecting American investors. I have been clear that the CFTC will continue to use all of its authority to find and stop misconduct in the volatile and risky digital asset market.
For years, Binance knew they were violating CFTC rules, working actively to both keep the money flowing and avoid compliance. This should be a warning to anyone in the digital asset world that the CFTC will not tolerate willful avoidance of U.S. law. I applaud the diligent and dedicated work of the CFTC’s Enforcement team in bringing this action, and for their hard work in addressing illegal operations in the digital asset space.”
The charges are specifically aimed at CZ, Binance Holdings Limited, Binance Holdings (IE) Limited, Binance (Services) Holdings Limited, and also target former Binance chief compliance officer Samuel Lim for allegedly aiding and abetting the firm’s violations.
The CFTC also alleges that CZ himself has been engaging in unregistered proprietary trading through a series of rogue Binance accounts.
“In addition to the entities that operate the Binance platform, Zhao is the direct or indirect owner of entities that have engaged in proprietary trading activity on the Binance platform, including Merit Peak Limited and Sigma Chain AG, and Zhao is also the direct or indirect owner of approximately 300 separate Binance accounts that have engaged in proprietary trading activity on the Binance trading platform. Zhao has never been registered with the Commission in any capacity.”
At time of writing, CZ hasn’t commented on the allegations, other than a brief tweet of the number 4, a reference to his previously stated goals for 2023, the fourth of which is to “Ignore FUD, fake news, attacks, etc.”
$400 billion has been shaved off the crypto on the day, with the TOTAL market cap currently at $1.10 trillion, down from its open of $1.14. Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are both down just over 2%, while altcoins are bleeding slightly harder. According to crypto trading analytics platform Coinglass, about $100 million in longs have been liquidated in the past 24 hours.
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