The United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has been extra vigilant towards crypto entities in the nation. Reportedly, the agency has seized massive amounts of crypto assets in the past months.
According to public notices filed this month, the FBI seized nearly $400,000 worth of cryptocurrencies from Binance accounts solely in May. As mentioned in federal forfeiture documents, the FBI seized Bitcoin and Tether valued at about $397,221 from six Binance accounts between May 2 and 23. The FBI wrote in its notice:
The assets were seized “for violation of federal law.”
To this, a Binance spokesperson suggested that the agency works best to ensure compliance with the regulatory standards. As stated:
Binance actively collaborates with law enforcement agencies worldwide – this includes identifying funds connected to criminal activities to help thwart bad actors.
Notably, Binance has enforced global know-your-customer (KYC) policies and restricts access for anyone identified as a US citizen, irrespective of their actual location. Additionally, it says that devices connected via US cellular providers or with US IP addresses are blocked.
Additionally, the exchange also does not allow withdrawals or deposits from US banks and credit card companies.
Reportedly, US citizens have been blocked from using Binance since 2019. However, some residents, including those in New York, Texas and Vermont, are still unable to access Binance.US, the exchange’s American affiliate.
It is worth noting that crypto investors and Binance fans have found plenty ways following the ban and efforts to block or deny US people. One example of this is when users take to sites like Reddit to share tips for bypassing geographic blocks, such as using a virtual private network (VPN), to conceal their IP address.
Currently, the FBI declined to comment on the seizures or its relationship with Binance. The FBI public noticed show it seized massive amounts of crypto assets from accounts on other exchanges in May. Reportedly, around $30,000 was seized from accounts on Bybit and $16,000 from Freewallet users.
It is also worth noting that the seizure of these assets from Binance particularly clash with the recent allegations it is surrounded with. First, in March, the US commodities regulator filed charges against the exchange for violating the federal commodities laws.
Following that, in June, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused the exchange of operating without a license and offering unregistered securities. It also claimed that Binance and CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) commingled users’ funds.
To the CFTC as well as SEC lawsuit, Binance submitted motions in the US court calling out the regulators’ behaviour. Additionally, it is worth noting that the troubles for the exchange are gonna take a long time as the US DoJ is also investigating the exchange for money laundering concerns and violating economic sanctions on Russia.
Notably, these allegations echo with what the French regulators have charged Binance with. Recently, the French authorities revealed that the exchange has been under investigation since February 2022 for operating without a license and for concerns of using crypto assets to facilitate money laundering practices. On top of it, amid the global crackdown, many countries have risen against the exchange including Brazil, Netherlands, France, Austria, Cyprus, and Germany.