The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) sued crypto exchange Binance for violations of trading and derivatives laws. The lawsuit, filed on March 27, alleged that the global crypto exchange offered its derivatives trading services to U.S. customers without applying for a derivatives license.
The lawsuit from the commodities watchdog in the U.S. took many by surprise with market observers and reporters claiming it to be a political move. Eleanor Terrett, a Fox news reporter tweeted that sources close to the CFTC suggest the commodities regulator decided to go for a lawsuit in order to show the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that this is a commodities issue rather than a securities one.
— Eleanor Terrett (@EleanorTerrett) March 27, 2023
The lawsuit accuses Binance of prioritizing commercial success over regulatory compliance. It said that Binance disregarded applicable federal laws while fostering Binance’s U.S. customer base. The U.S. regulator has accused Binance and its CEO, Changpeng Zhao aka CZ of seven violations of CEA/CFC/USC rules.
Apart from the regulatory violations, the suit also specifically targets Binance’s U.S. trading arms Merit Peak and BAM. CFTC alleged that Binance and its affiliated entities are a common enterprise with UBO and direct control back to CZ.
CFTC in the suit has demanded that Binance and CZ should be banned from engaging in any of the conduct described in this case, trading on registered entities, holding any commodity interest or -directing any trading of digital assets. CFTC also wants Binance to pay back the trading profits, revenues, salaries, commissions, loans or fees derived from U.S. persons and pay civil penalties for the violations.
The CFTC lawsuit against Binance is a big deal for the crypto industry given its general belief that CFTC doesn’t really go after small crypto players and without merit. This was evident in the Bitfinex case back in 2018, which the crypto exchange eventually settled in 2021 with a hefty fine.
Related: 7 details in the CFTC lawsuit against Binance you may have missed
Adam Cochran, a crypto observer reiterated a similar stance and said that the CFTC doesn’t go after small frequent cases ” like the SEC, It’s a different beast and its cases are often fatal.”
Cochran in his Tweet thread noted that the early evidence gathered by the CFTC could prove fatal for Binance. He added that Binance can either fight the case in the U.S. or settle it outside the court, but in all likelihood, they would be forced to cease their operations in the U.S.
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