The ongoing legal battle between Binance, the world’s leading crypto exchange, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been filled with requests for extra documentation. Recently, the SEC criticized the quality of information provided by Binance and its U.S. arm, claiming that they had only submitted around 250 pages of evidence, some of which were described as “unintelligible screenshots.” Despite the exchange’s agreement to provide evidence, the regulator also accused Binance of preventing its executives from testifying in court.
However, the SEC’s expectations were not met with a favorable response from Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui. In fact, the judge accused the agency of embarking on a “fishing expedition” and making overly broad requests for information that lacked a clear connection to the case at hand. One specific point of contention between Judge Faruqui and the SEC relates to the internal software used by both Binance and its U.S. arm. The SEC argues that this software could potentially demonstrate a stronger connection between the two entities than they have disclosed. Moreover, the SEC’s allegations imply that customer assets held on Binance’s platform could be located abroad, which is a key accusation against the exchange.
Consequently, the SEC requested that Judge Faruqui allow an inspection of Binance’s internal workings and compel the exchange to disclose additional information that they had previously resisted sharing. However, the judge denied this request, urging the SEC to craft more tailored information requests and conduct interviews with additional witnesses instead. Judge Faruqui remarked, “I am not inclined to allow the inspection at this time. At some point, we are going to have to bite the bullet and move on with the case.”
Matthew Martens, a lawyer from WilmerHale who represents Binance.US in court, also weighed in on the request made by the SEC. Martens emphasized that Binance had already responded to every targeted request from the SEC and criticized the “foolishness” of the document requests that were issued by the government. Despite these challenges, the case will proceed based on the information that has been provided so far. However, there remains the possibility of additional discovery if the situation warrants it.
Through these legal disputes, it is evident that Binance’s battle with the SEC is far from over. The SEC’s effort to obtain more evidence and scrutinize Binance’s internal operations is driven by the agency’s concern about potential regulatory violations by the exchange. Binance, on the other hand, maintains its innocence and continues to resist certain demands from the SEC. As the legal proceedings unfold, the crypto industry eagerly awaits the outcome, as it could have far-reaching implications for the future of digital asset exchanges and regulation in the United States.