The recent enforcement actions by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against the major exchanges has recently come under the scrutiny of major industry leaders. The SEC’s enforcement spree has often been criticised for being antagonistic to crypto entities and driving innovation away.
Recently, there have been speculations that government regulators might have orchestrated an insidious plan, bringing into question the integrity of these actions. The SEC came under intense limelight after its lawsuit against Binance and Coinbase in the same week.
In the case of Binance, the SEC filed multiple charges against the exchange and its CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) for operating illegally and commingling users’ funds. According to the SEC, Binance and Zhao engaged in “an extensive web of deception, conflicts of interest, lack of disclosure, and calculated evasion of the law.”
The alleged crimes range from mishandling billions of dollars in user funds to contriving schemes that let deep-pocketed American investors sidestep Binance’s international exchange’s regulatory framework.
Through thirteen charges, we allege that Zhao and Binance entities engaged in an extensive web of deception, conflicts of interest, lack of disclosure, and calculated evasion of the law.Gary Gensler, SEC chairman
Right after Binance, SEC sued Coinbase, another vital pillar in the crypto industry. The firm allegedly acted as an unlicensed broker and exchange. The allegation asserts that Coinbase’s prime brokerage, exchange, and staking programs violate securities laws. Gensler affirmed:
We allege that Coinbase, despite being subject to the securities laws, commingled and unlawfully offered exchange, broker-dealer, and clearinghouse functions.
These lawsuits have made the crypto market suspicious, triggering concerns about the SEC’s intentions. The popular concerns which emerged were- was that it could be an inside job, are regulators aiming to wipe the crypto exchanges off the map to clear a path for Wall Street to dominate?
Preston Pysh, co-founder of the Investor’s Podcast, said that recent applications from Wall Street giants such as Blackrock, Fidelity, Citadel, Schwab, and Deutsche Bank for Bitcoin ETFs and spot exchanges suggest an orchestrated move. He said:
How can’t you think this entire past year was a giant inside job coordinated between the Wall Street parasites and government regulators so they could catch-up.
Similarly, Michaël van de Poppe, an esteemed crypto trader, outlined the uncanny synchronicity of these applications and the SEC’s actions against Binance and Coinbase. Van de Poppe’s sentiment aligns by that of Will Clemente, co-founder of Reflexivity Research, who questioned the sudden interest of these Wall Street powerhouses in crypto which they referred as “worthless Ponzi scheme.” Clemente said:
All [of these firms] trying to get a piece of Bitcoin/Crypto because they think that it’s a ponzi scheme that’s worthless because it has no intrinsic value and is only used for money laundering, right?
On the other hand, Professor J.W. Verret highlighted the potential damage that the SEC’s legal assault could bring to investors. He compared the fallout from the lawsuits to the devastation caused by Bernie Madoff’s infamous Ponzi scheme.
Notably, as the storm continues to rage, one thing is clear: the future of crypto is at a critical juncture. Indeed, its fate is now held in the hands of entities far removed from the spirit of decentralized finance. The SEC and its chief Gary Gensler have been widely infamous for leading an agenda against cryptocurrencies.
In the past weeks, the regulator has intensified their efforts against crypto entities. Binance also filed a motion against the regulator accusing it of making misleading statements and deceiving public.