The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), a leading US market regulator, has accused cryptocurrency behemoth Binance and its founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao of running an “illegal” exchange and a “sham” compliance program.
When Binance, Zhao, and its former top compliance official “engaged in a deliberate strategy of regulatory arbitrage to their economic gain,” the CFTC accused them of “willful evasion” of US law.
Rostin Behnam, chairman of the CFTC, said the allegations against Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, were part of an effort to “identify and deter misbehavior in the volatile and risky digital asset market.”
The CEO of Binance is disappointed
The CFTC’s complaint, according to Zhao, a billionaire who was born in China and immigrated to Canada when he was 12 years old, was “unexpected and upsetting.” Zhao said in a statement that “upon initial assessment, it appears that the complaint contains an insufficient recital of facts, and we do not agree with the characterization of many of the concerns mentioned in the complaint.”
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Zhao was frequently portrayed as the chief rival of FTX creator and crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, who was detained in the Bahamas in December and will go on trial in the US later this year.
A representative for Binance said the company will continue to “collaborate” with regulators in the interim. According to the spokesperson, Binance has made “substantial investments” to make sure that US users are not allowed on its site.
Ineffective compliance program
The CFTC is in charge of regulating the markets for Bitcoin and other commodities and derivatives. Companies like brokers who make it easier for US customers to trade these goods must register with the government. According to its charge sheet, Binance is accused of not upholding the standards expected of a business that operates as a derivatives market and interacts with significant US trading entities.
According to the CFTC statement, “Binance’s compliance program has been ineffective” since July 2019. Zhao gave orders to Binance staff members and users to bypass compliance checks “to boost corporate earnings,” the regulator stated.
scrutinized cryptocurrency industry
According to US media sources, the US Revenue Agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and US federal prosecutors are all looking into Binance.
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Regulators are becoming more and more eager to keep an eye on a market that flourished during the Covid pandemic when many people were confined to their homes and lured by the high returns offered by trading in Bitcoin.
The global cryptocurrency market is now worth more than $1 trillion (€924 billion), although it is still a long way from the $3 trillion peak it reached in 2021.
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