Binance settles with US for $4.3B, Kraken sued by SEC, Tether freezes $225M USDT, and Pyth Network's $75M airdrop.
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US Officials Announce $4.3B Settlement with Binance

US Officials Announce $4.3B Settlement with Binance

Date:
Nov 22, 2023
| Issue
#
153

Welcome to the latest edition of Datawallet Daily! Here are the top stories shaping the markets and causing the volatility over the last 24 hours:

US officials announce $4.3B settlement with Binance

Binance is set to completely withdraw from the U.S. market, complying with the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) terms. This decision follows a hefty settlement of $4.3 billion, marking one of the largest corporate penalties in U.S. history. The settlement resolves years of investigation into anti-money laundering and sanctions violations. 

The DOJ’s charges indicate that Binance prioritized growth over legal compliance, allowing illicit funds, including those linked to terrorism and hacking, to pass through the platform. The plea deal includes Binance forfeiting $2.5 billion and paying a $1.8 billion criminal fine, sending a strong message about the importance of legal compliance for crypto exchanges operating in the U.S.

Binance’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, after pleading guilty to anti-money laundering charges, has resigned from his position. Alongside his departure, Zhao is set to pay a personal fine of $50 million. In his stead, Richard Teng, previously the head of regional markets at Binance, has been appointed as the new CEO of the company.

SEC Sues Kraken for Securities Law Violations

Kraken is currently facing legal action from the U.S. SEC. The SEC’s lawsuit, filed on November 20, alleges that Kraken operated without the necessary registrations, engaging in unlicensed securities trading and improperly handling over $33 billion in customer assets. The SEC’s charges also include accusations of facilitating trades in unauthorized securities like MATIC, NEAR, and ALGO tokens. 

Kraken remains steadfast, planning to contest the SEC’s claims and asserting that the lawsuit misinterprets the legal and factual nature of digital assets. Despite these legal hurdles, Kraken assures its customers that it’s business as usual and their services will continue without any hiccups.

Tether Freezes $225M USDT Linked to Human Trafficking

Tether, the company behind the third-largest cryptocurrency USDT, has frozen $225 million in funds linked to a human trafficking group in Southeast Asia. This action, the largest-ever freeze of USDT, was taken to assist the U.S. Department of Justice. Tether and crypto exchange OKX, using Chainalysis tools, tracked the funds to self-custodied digital wallets involved in a
“pig butchering” scam. The U.S. Secret Service requested the freeze. 

Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino emphasized the company’s commitment to creating a secure crypto environment. Despite its significant market presence, Tether has been a subject of regulatory concerns, particularly regarding the transparency of USDT’s backing by U.S. dollars and its past legal challenges.

Pyth Network Token Launches with $75M Airdrop 

Pyth Network has made a significant entry into the blockchain oracle space, directly challenging Chainlink with its high-speed, market-focused data feeds. Pyth Network’s approach, sourcing data from first-party financial entities, enables a rapid refresh rate of 300-400 milliseconds, which is substantially faster than Chainlink’s. 

In a strategic bid to boost user involvement and governance participation, the project conducted an airdrop of its PYTH token. About 125 million PYTH tokens, half of the 250 million dedicated to the airdrop, have already been claimed by more than 38,000 wallet holders. The token currently trades at $0.32, placing the network’s fully diluted valuation at over $3 billion. 

Other breaking news

  • Paradigm and Pacmanblur Launch Blast a New Layer 2
  • Bullish Crypto Exchange Acquires Full Ownership of CoinDesk
  • Fantom Foundation Pays $1.7M Bounty for Preventing $170M Loss
  • Bittrex Global Set to Cease Operations
  • OpenAI Employees Urge Board to Resign Following Sam Altman’s Removal
  • Celsius Shifts to Mining-Only NewCo Following SEC Input in Bankruptcy Update

Wrapping up

In today’s edition, U.S. regulators are making significant moves. Binance has agreed to a $4.3 billion settlement with the U.S., leading to CZ stepping down as CEO. In parallel, Kraken faces fresh SEC troubles over securities law violations. It seems U.S. regulators are firmly tightening their grip on crypto companies. In a related move, Tether froze $225 million in USDT connected to human trafficking, following a directive from the U.S. Secret Service. Meanwhile, Pyth Network has launched its own token, positioning itself as a potential competitor to Chainlink. Stay tuned for more updates!