The Securities and Exchange Commission’s lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase this week have set up a high-stakes battle that will engage all three branches of the U.S. government in a competition for power, determine whether the crypto industry will decamp the U.S. for good, and define the future of digital money.
The SEC’s aggressive actions against Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange, and Coinbase, the biggest in the U.S., are a big flex, one that reveals the agency’s extraordinary discretionary power. In saying “we don’t need more digital currency” in interviews following the announcements, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler suggested he truly does want to destroy the crypto industry.
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By throwing the book at Binance, a thoroughly international company, and its high-profile CEO, Changpeng Zhao (“CZ”), with a suit that, among other claims, alleges that it offered unregistered securities and commingled customer funds, the SEC has sought to demonstrate that its reach extends beyond U.S. borders.