The U.S. subsidiary of cryptocurrency exchange Binance has avoided an asset freeze that would have made it impossible to do business, but it has agreed to burdensome terms to keep operating during a civil case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission that charged the company with evading “critical regulatory oversight.”
Under a consent order signed on Saturday, Binance.US has agreed to repatriate assets held for the benefit of domestic customers and keep them under control of domestic personnel, specifically ensuring that parent Binance Holdings and CEO Changpeng Zhao do not have access to such funds; limit company spending to regular business expenses; and submit to expedited discovery regarding the custody and security of client assets. Binance personnel were also ordered not to destroy documents or other evidence relevant to the consent order, among other requirements.
The SEC did not specify the amount to be repatriated and did not respond to an emailed request for more information. In the agency’s announcement of the order, Gurbir S. Grewal, director of the enforcement division, was quoted as saying “Given that Changpeng Zhao and Binance have control of the platforms’ customers’ assets and have been able to commingle customer assets or divert customer assets as they please, as we have alleged, these prohibitions are essential to protecting investor assets.”