Digital currencies
Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
Binance has been accused by the US Securities and Exchange Commission of selling unregistered securities and instructing people how to get around geographic restrictions. Photo: Reuters

Binance’s US operations will ‘grind to a halt’ if SEC asset freeze upheld, crypto exchange’s lawyers say

  • Binance’s US arm is urging a federal judge to reject a move by the securities regulator to freeze its assets, saying it would prevent it from serving customers
  • The SEC is suing the crypto exchange and founder Zhao Changpeng, alleging ‘blatant disregard of US securities laws’ that puts customer funds at risk

Binance.US urged a federal judge to reject a Securities and Exchange Commission request to freeze billions of dollars of assets on the cryptocurrency exchange during a legal fight with the regulator, arguing the move would cripple its business and hurt customers.

“Operations would quickly grind to a halt” without the ability to pay employees, vendors, suppliers and professionals or to maintain the trading platform, Binance.US attorneys said Monday in a court filing. “With a freeze of all corporate assets, banking partners would most likely cease to honour requests to transfer funds for any purpose, including customer redemptions.”

The SEC sought the asset freeze after suing Binance.US, Binance Holdings Ltd and founder Zhao Changpeng last week, alleging “blatant disregard of US securities laws” and “years of violative conduct” that puts customer funds at risk. Binance.US is also owned by Zhao.

Defence attorneys argued in their court filing that US customer assets are safe and said “there is no need for the draconian relief sought by the SEC.”

Challenges abound if Binance seeks haven in Hong Kong in US crackdown

According to the June 5 lawsuit, the violations included mishandling customer funds and misleading investors and regulators. The SEC filed an emergency action application for a temporary restraining order to freeze Binance.US’s assets in an attempt to protect customer funds, including through repatriation of client investments held abroad. Binance has disputed the allegations.

Since the lawsuit, one of the exchange’s banking partners already informed Binance.US it will no longer hold its assets starting on June 14, according to the filing. The same partner froze all activity on the company’s account until after the court rules on the SEC’s motion.

The filing comes ahead of hearing on the issue Tuesday before Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington federal court.

The case is SEC v. Binance, 23-cv-01599, US District Court, District of Columbia (Washington, DC).