SEC emergency order to freeze Binance.US assets

Check out the biggest breaking crypto market updates for today:

SEC Seeks To Freeze Binance.US Assets And “Protect Customer Funds”

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has reportedly filed a motion before the D.C. District Court seeking approval to freeze assets tied to BAM Management US Holdings and BAM Trading Services, which are the holding and operating firms for 

The motion also seeks to prohibit the defendants from destroying, altering or concealing records and imposes other sets of conditions on discovery. 

The filing reads, 

“The SEC respectfully submits that this relief is necessary on an expedited basis to ensure the safety of customer assets and prevent the dissipation of available assets for any judgment, given the Defendants’ years of violative conduct, disregard of the laws of the United States, evasion of regulatory oversight, and open questions about various financial transfers and the custody and control of Customer Assets – including by Defendants who claim they are not subject to the Court’s jurisdiction – as described in the Complaint, Memorandum of Law, and supporting materials,” 

The SEC said late Tuesday it filed the emergency action application to a court for a temporary restraining order. 

The regulator also asked the judge to back steps to “ensure that customers’ assets are protected and remain in the US through the resolution of the SEC’s pending litigation of this matter.” 

The filing lists Binance Holdings Ltd., BAM Trading Services Inc., BAM Management US Holdings Inc. and founder Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao of mishandling customer funds, misleading investors and regulators, and breaking securities rules. 

Binance has said it intends to “defend our platform vigorously.” 

In a Tuesday tweet Binance.US described the motion for a temporary restraining order as “unwarranted.” 

“User assets remain safe and secure and the platform continues to be fully operational with deposits and withdrawals functioning as normal,” Binance.US also said in the tweet. 

Among other requests, the SEC wants to ensure that any transfer of Binance.US customer assets exceeding $100,000 should be approved in writing by two of the company’s senior executives and certified by them as compliant. 

In a memorandum, the SEC said “Zhao and Binance have a pattern and practice of commingling customer funds” as well as “in moving funds outside of the US and/or on the blockchain where they are outside of this court’s reach.” 

The memorandum said Binance.US customer assets total over $2.2 billion and described Zhao as “a foreign national who has made overt his views that he is not subject to the jurisdiction of this court.” 

Along with their crackdown on Coinbase yesterday, this is proof the SEC is making an unprecedented attack on the crypto industry – with the intent of killing as much of it as possible.

Most prominent figures in the crypto space are speculating with a United States Central Bank Digital Currency coming soon, the government is trying to get rid of as much competition as possible. 

Still, Bitcoin’s price does not seem to be affected by any of this. As one of the most decentralized cryptos, it’s not likely to be taken down. 

As a result of all this action, however…

Centralized Exchange Volumes Hit Record Lows, Kraken Outage, Binance.US Faces Hard Times

According to blockchain data, centralized exchange volumes have fallen to an all-time low, with DEXs rising in popularity in the cryptocurrency market. 

The numbers show trading activity on centralized exchanges is declining and has reached its lowest point since October 2020. 

The general sluggis market circumstances, the exit of well known companies like Jane Street and Jump owing to regulatory worries, and the rise of decentralized exchanges with meme coin trading are some of the causes of this decline. 

Decentralized exchanges are taking advantage of the rising need for better privacy and quicker assert listing. 

As centralized exchanges see a decrease, decentralized exchanges (DEXs have seen substantial growth. 

By enabling direct peer-to-peer trading, these blockchain-based platforms provide improved security, anonymity, and control over funds. According to recent statistics from Dune, an on-chain analytics company, May has seen a noticeable surge in user activity on various decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms in May 2023. 

This increase in user numbers highlights the growing acceptance and popularity of DEXs in the crypto industry and is similar to the peak levels seen during the bullish market era in 2021. 

Meanwhile, major cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has been having problems with its crypto gateway and delays in the deposit and withdrawal processes. Frustrated users have reported having trouble accessing their money. Delays and gateway issues are viewed as potential roadblocks for investors and traders using the Kraken platform, raising questions about its dependability and effectiveness. 

Add to this the global emergency order to freeze Binance.US assets, and decentralized exchanges are at an all-time high.

Optimism Successfully Completes ‘Bedrock’ Hard Fork, Reducing Deposit Times & Layer-1 Fees

Ethereum layer-2 network Optimism concluded its “Bedrock” upgrade on June 7. The upgrade brings the blockchain one step closer towards its goal of becoming a “superchain,” by reducing deposit times, lowering layer-1 fees and enacting additional security features. 

Bedrock also makes Optimism into a multi-client ecosystem, meaning there would be at least two options for the client software used to run the network. 

In a conversation with Cointelegraph, OP Labs CEO Karl Floersch stated that Bedrock implements multiple gas optimizations the team discovered, reducing the network’s data availability fees on Ethereum by 40%. These reductions are passed on to the user in the form of lower gas fees on Optimism. 

In addition, the upgrade allows the network to recognize chain reorganizations (reorgs) on Ethereum, reflecting these reorgs in the user’s Optimism balance. 

This allows deposit times to be reduced to one minute. 

Previously, deposits from Ethereum to Optimism took an average of 10 minutes due to the need to gain finality on Layer-1. 

Bedrock also implements a two-step withdrawal process to help prevent bridge exploits. 

In addition to these immediate changes, the new upgrade paves the way for further development of the OP Stack in the future, with the ultimate goal of building a multi-network “Superchain,” Floersch stated. 

It features “modular proof systems” that allow developers to create and customize their own blockchain networks. And the software’s validator component, called “op-geth,” has less than 1,000 lines of code that differ from Ethereum’s version, potentially making it easy for validators to switch to.

Luke Baldwin

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