Binance.US, the US arm of the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, has suspended trading for several crypto pairs and reduced its supported convert trading pairs following a lawsuit filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Binance entities and their leadership. The move is seen as a precautionary measure to address potential securities concerns raised by the SEC.
This move came after the SEC filed a lawsuit against Binance on June 5, accusing the exchange of offering unregistered securities. The charges include unregistered offers and sales of BNB and BUSD tokens, as well as various products and programs offered by Binance. Similarly, Coinbase, another popular cryptocurrency exchange, was also targeted by the SEC in a separate lawsuit, alleging the offering of securities in the form of certain cryptocurrencies like SOL, MATIC, and The Sandbox.
Binance.US announced that it would remove certain selected advanced trading pairs on June 8, 2023, and has also paused its Over-The-Counter (OTC) Trading Portal. Over 90 trading pairs of the stablecoin Tether (USDT), eight Bitcoin (BTC) pairs, and two Binance USD (BUSD) pairs are affected by this suspension. However, deposits and withdrawals remain available on the platform.
A spokesperson for Tether suggested that the decision to halt trading for non-USDT tokens could be a preemptive move considering the possibility that these tokens listed on the exchange might be considered securities by the SEC.
Furthermore, Binance.US has reduced the number of supported convert trading pairs and limited options to buy, sell, and convert only a select few cryptocurrencies, including USDT, USD Coin (USDC), BNB, Ether (ETH), BTC, and others. The exchange has also updated the maximum trade amount for these options to $10,000.
Additionally, Binance.US temporarily shut down its OTC trading platform, but there is no information available regarding when it will resume operations.
Binance’s efforts to improve transparency of its reserves have recently exposed red flags in the crypto exchange’s finances. The Wall Street Journal recently headlined with an article stating that Binance is trying to calm investors, but that its finances remain a mystery.
According to a former Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) member and investment manager, a report released by the audit firm Mazars did not bring any tranparency in the matter. It said that information related to the quality of internal controls and how Binance’s systems liquidate assets to cover margin loans was not there.
The report also reported a lack of information about Binance’s corporate structure. It mentioned that Binance’s chief strategy officer, Patrick Hillmann, was unable name Binance’s parent company. Binance has been going through a corporate reorganization for almost two years now.
Both Binance and Coinbase are now facing regulatory challenges, and the outcomes of these lawsuits may have significant implications for the crypto industry.
Mona el isa, formerly of Goldman Sachs, and founder of Avantgarde, one of the world’s-first institutional-grade DeFi companies, has commented on the lack of transparency and proof of reserves in centralized crypto companies like Binance. She points out that these companies do not provide meaningful proof of their asset custodianship practices, which requires implicit trust from users. According to El Isa, if there was more transparency regarding custody, the market could better differentiate between good and bad practices, allowing for effective monitoring and mitigating potential issues.
El Isa argues that decentralized, transparent on-chain funds, commonly found in decentralized finance (DeFi), could be more secure than opaque centralized finance (CeFi) funds. DeFi offers 24/7 auditable transparency, eliminating the need for trust. This viewpoint is in line with her drive to establish Enzyme, which she co-founded. Enzyme is a platform designed to automate and bring transparency to traditional asset management, aiming to create an asset management experience that empowers users through non-custodial interactions, on-chain reporting for transparency, and enforceable and automatable risk management within decentralized governance frameworks.