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SEC Launches Probe Into Binance and Binance Coin (BNB)

The US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating leading crypto exchange Binance and its token Binance Coin (BNB). A Bloomberg report unveiled this news on June 6, citing sources familiar with the matter. The sources requested anonymity to reveal details of the confidential investigation.

According to the report, the SEC is looking into whether Binance violated securities laws. Specifically, the securities regulator seeks to determine whether Binance’s Initial Coin Offering (ICO) involved the sale of an unregistered security. This ICO saw Binance raise $15 million after issuing 100 million BNB tokens at $0.15.

This probe will see the SEC look into Binance’s operations since its launch five years ago. BNB has been instrumental to Binance’s growth. Crypto adopters can trade the token directly or use it for purchases and payments. Currently, BNB is the fifth-largest crypto, with a market cap of $46,469,096,660.

Following the news of the SEC probe into Binance and BNB, the token has plunged 8.50%. At the time of writing, BNB is changing hands at $284.61. However, it is worth noting that the marketwide bearish sentiment has also contributed to this drop. The top-10 cryptos are all bleeding, with Bitcoin (BTC) plunging 5.67% in the day.

Binance declined to comment on the ongoing investigations, saying it is inappropriate. However, the exchange reiterated its willingness to work with authorities and meet set requirements. 

Binance’s Fight to Uphold Credibility Continues

This news comes on the heels of a Reuters report labeling Binance a hub for hackers, fraudsters, and drug traffickers. According to the report, Binance is at the center of laundering illicit crypto. The publication cites the case of notorious North Korean hacking group Lazarus. Allegedly, this group laundered $5.4 million, which it had stolen from Slovakian crypto exchange Eterbase through Binance.

Notably, the report claims this is not an isolated event. Purportedly, Binance has enabled criminal transactions since its launch in 2017. By the end of 2021, Binance had allegedly handled illicit transactions totaling $2.35 billion. Citing blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis, the report alleges that Binance received criminal funds amounting to $770 million in 2019 alone.

The exchange refuted these claims, saying Reuters’ calculations were inaccurate. Furthermore, Patrick Hillmann, Binance’s Chief Communications Officer, said the exchange has transaction monitoring and risk assessment features to curb illicit transactions. Also, he added that Binance works closely with law enforcement to stop criminal networks that use crypto.

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Lastly, Binance added that the report is a woefully misinformed op-ed using outdated information from 2019 and unverified personal attestations.

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