The future of crypto hinges on a fight between the SEC and a former burger flipper

The future of the cryptocurrency industry may be impacted by a legal battle between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Changpeng Zhao, the founder of Binance, which is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.

Lawsuit background: The SEC has filed charges against Binance alleging that it misled investors and operated as an unregistered exchange.
* The agency claims that Changpeng Zhao orchestrated “an elaborate scheme to evade U.S. federal securities laws.”
* This lawsuit is part of an aggressive crackdown on cryptocurrency industry since the collapse of FTX last year.
* The SEC seeks to bring cryptocurrencies under its jurisdiction stating them as securities and not as commodities.

The influence of Binance: The platform is significant to the crypto industry, hosting a worldwide user base of 140 million.
* Besides acting as a trading platform, Binance also operates a research arm and a lending business, offers a crypto debit card in some countries, and has a market for digital art and riskier assets like crypto derivatives.
* Yet, the SEC alleges that companies affiliated with Binance trade against its customers, and that its proprietary cryptocurrency, the Binance Coin (BNB), presents regulatory challenges.

SEC’s argument: The SEC, under its chair Gary Gensler, aims to regulate the rapidly growing cryptocurrency industry that currently operates in regulatory gray areas.
* By filing enforcement actions against companies like Binance, the SEC intends to change the loosely regulated nature of cryptocurrencies.
* If successful, these lawsuits could result in virtual currencies and other digital assets being regulated just like stocks.
* Despite this push, the SEC may face strong resistance from crypto companies who are prepared to fight to avoid such regulation.

The man behind Binance: Changpeng Zhao, a former burger flipper, founded Binance in 2017.
* Born in China, Zhao immigrated to Canada and has lived in various parts of the world, which he claims has given him a unique perspective on global finance.
* Despite the SEC’s allegations, Zhao continues to affirm his faith in the cryptocurrency industry and insists he is not against crypto regulation.

View original article on NPR

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