The name Binance chief executive officer Changpeng Zhao has been splashed across the news recently, as the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) launched a lawsuit against his cryptocurrency trading exchange. The CFTC alleges that the business practices of Binance and Zhao violate trading and derivatives rules. The move also sparked a fall in Bitcoin and Ethereum prices as investors nervously weighed the outcome.
In a blog post shortly after the lawsuit was announced, Zhao responded to the allegations, noting that the document contained “an incomplete recitation of facts” and he disagreed with “the characterization of many of the issues alleged.” He highlighted the exchange giant’s compliance technology, which has 750 staff and 16 licenses and registrations worldwide.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, claims that Binance operated a derivatives trading operation inside the U.S., offering trades for a variety of crypto tokens, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, tether and Binance USD. Moreover, the suit alleged that the exchange directed customers in the U.S. to use a variety of methods to evade restrictions on U.S.-based customers. In her press release on the lawsuit, CFTC Chief Counsel Gretchen Lowe called Binance’s actions “willful evasion of U.S. law,” citing internal chats and emails as evidence.
The CEO also wrote that he had two accounts at Binance, one for his Binance Card and the other for his crypto holdings, and that he occasionally converted tokens to pay for both personal expenses and the Card. Citing this, the CFTC listed Zhao as a defendant in the lawsuit, alleging that he was the “direct or indirect owner of entities that have engaged in proprietary trading activity on the Binance platform,” as well as “direct or indirect owner of approximately 300 separate Binance accounts” that engaged in prop trading on Binance.
Reintroducing himself in the blog post, Zhao noted that he had “eaten Binance’s own dog food” and stored his crypto holdings on Binance, as well as outlining a no-day-trading policy for its staff. CZ claims that employees “are not allowed to sell a coin within 90 days of” their most recent purchases, or the reverse, preventing any employees from engaging in active trading.
It remains to be seen what the CFTC lawsuit could mean for Binance’s fate in the U.S., and how it could affect Zhao’s own fortunes. With the CFTC placing a spotlight on cryptocurrency exchanges, other exchanges as well as individual players in the market may need to rethink their own compliance frameworks. In the coming months and years, we may find out whether the CFTC’s pursuit of Binance is a successful effort to establish its authority in the world of cryptocurrency exchanges.
From Complaints to Compliance: Unveiling Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao’s U.S. Lawsuit Battle
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has thrown a spotlight on the cryptocurrency exchange market, filing a lawsuit against Binance and its founder Changpeng Zhao that raises serious allegations about the company’s trading and derivatives operations. CZ has hit back at the CFTC’s claims, referencing Binance’s compliance technology and the exchange’s no day trading policy for its staff.
The lawsuit, filed in a Chicago federal court, says Binance has flouted U.S. financial laws and actively attempted to evade regulations by using virtual private networks. It also alleges that Zhao was either directly or indirectly the owner of entities engaging in “proprietary trading activity” on the Binance platform and owned around 300 separate Binance accounts.
For its part, Binance has 750 Compliance staff employed, with more than 16 licenses and registrations worldwide, and a no-day-trading policy covering its employees. However, documents submitted by the CFTC cite internal chats and emails as evidence, claiming that Zhao and other Binance employees allegedly instructed customers based in the U.S. to use a virtual private network to obscure their location.
Despite all the questions raised by the CFTC lawsuit, CZ has continued to push Binance’s compliance technology and the exchange’s policies for protecting customers. The lawsuit may change U.S. regulators’ view of token regulation, casting doubt on the future of major exchanges in the American market. To find out how it all pans out, we must stay tuned to the CFTC’s pursuit of Binance, and Changpeng Zhao’s path along with it.