Binance Holdings Limited (Binance), the entity that operates the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance.com, pleaded guilty and has agreed to pay over $4 billion to resolve the Justice Department’s investigation into violations related to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), failure to register as a money transmitting business, and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)
Binance’s founder and chief executive officer (CEO), Changpeng Zhao, a Canadian national, also pleaded guilty to failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering (AML) program, in violation of the BSA and has resigned as CEO of Binance.
Binance’s guilty plea is part of coordinated resolutions with the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
“In just the past month, the Justice Department has successfully prosecuted the CEOs of two of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges in two separate criminal cases," said Attorney General Merrick Garland. "The message here should be clear: using new technology to break the law does not make you a disruptor, it makes you a criminal.”
The Financial Times notes tha the announcements by Justice, Treasury and the CFTC did not address the outstanding prosecution by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has the potential to drive a spike in the freewheeling nature of crypto trading, determining digital contracts are "securities," and subject to regulation.