Asia Express – Cointelegraph Magazine

Our weekly roundup of news from East Asia curates the industry’s most important developments.

Binance’s secret U.S. users

On Mar. 27, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) charged Binance and its founder Changpeng Zhao with alleged willful evasion of federal law and operating an illegal digital assets exchange. In the 74 page complaint, the CFTC claimed that despite the exchange’s public position of banning U.S. users, internal documents suggest that at least 20% to 30% of the exchange’s traffic came from U.S. customers. That equates to almost three million alleged U.S. users by mid-2020.

Crypto exchanges are required to register with either the CFTC or the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission before soliciting U.S. customers. However, the CFTC allege that Binance ignored such ruling as its executives claimed that the regulations were “not reasonable” in the context of Binance’s corporate structure and that it was more “profitable” to simply bypass them.

Since the allegations surfaced, Chicago quantitative trading firm Radix Trading has confirmed that it is one of the three high-volume trading firms onboarded by Binance and listed in the CFTC complaint. In an official statement, Binance called the CFTC lawsuit “unexpected and disappointing.”

Founded in China by CZ in 2017, Binance quickly became the world’s largest crypto exchange through its low-fee trading mechanisms and wide range of product offerings. However, the exchange also came under intense scrutiny by regulators over allegedly lax know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering measures. Among many items, the CFTC seeks disgorgement of revenue generated by U.S. users’ trading activities, civil monetary penalties and permanent injunctive relief.

Interestingly, a screenshot cited by the CFTC shows that Binance’s top 2019 revenue came from the U.S. and Chinese geographical segments, both being countries where is not authorized to operate.

USA’s unexpected…


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