In the face of mounting regulatory challenges and the departure of key executives, Changpeng Zhao, the billionaire founder of Binance Holdings Ltd., remains resolute in defending the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
Despite recent setbacks and ongoing investigations, Zhao took to Twitter to express his determination, stating, “we continue to BUILD, and continue to hire.”
Binance, once hailed as a trailblazer in the digital asset sector, has been grappling with a regulatory crisis on multiple fronts. The departures of the chief strategy officer, general counsel, and compliance official have added to the uncertainty surrounding the exchange’s future prospects.
The vacancies left by these executives have raised fresh concerns about Binance’s ability to navigate the intensifying scrutiny from regulatory bodies in the United States, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region.
To counter what he calls “FUD” (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), Zhao has been tirelessly defending Binance against mounting criticism and negative sentiment. While the platform’s share of spot crypto trading volumes has been declining, and its competitors, such as FTX, have experienced bankruptcies, Zhao remains steadfast in his commitment to protect users and uphold Binance’s position as the largest crypto exchange.
The recent departures of Patrick Hillmann, Binance’s chief strategy officer, along with Steven Christie, senior vice president for compliance, and Hon Ng, general counsel, have raised eyebrows in the industry. Hillmann announced his departure on good terms via Twitter, while the new general counsel, Eleanor Hughes, was named as the replacement for Ng. However, the specific reasons behind these departures remain undisclosed.
According to a person familiar with the matter, Binance’s US operations employed nearly 600 individuals. During midyear performance reviews in June, some employees were asked if they were willing to relocate, and those who declined were reportedly let go. Yibo Ling, chief business officer of Binance, was among the US staff members who have recently left the company.
In response to speculations regarding the departures, Zhao refuted the claims made by the media, stating that turnover is a normal occurrence in any company and that the reasons attributed to the departures were inaccurate.
He highlighted Binance’s remarkable growth, having expanded from 30 to 8,000 employees in just six years.
While Binance battles regulatory probes on various fronts, the most notable being the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) lawsuit accusing the company and Zhao of mishandling customer funds and breaking securities rules, the exchange remains resolute.
Binance has described the SEC action as “disappointing” and has expressed its intent to defend its platform vigorously. Additionally, the company faces a lawsuit from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the US Justice Department has reportedly been investigating Binance.
Further adding to Binance’s woes, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission recently conducted searches at Binance Australia locations as part of an investigation into the Australian operation’s defunct local derivatives business.
Regulatory backlash has not been limited to Australia, as France and Belgium have also imposed stricter measures on the exchange. This trend of heightened scrutiny has led to some banking partners severing ties with Binance, making it more challenging for customers to transact and withdraw fiat currency.
According to a report from CCData, Binance’s share of non-derivatives trading volume dropped to 42% in June, marking the lowest level since August 2022. This decline can be attributed, in part, to Binance’s decision to halt certain popular trading pairs, further impacting the platform’s market position.
The native token of Binance, BNB, has also experienced a decline, falling approximately 1% on Friday amidst broader weakness in the digital asset market. Currently trading at around $218, BNB has seen an 11% decline this year, in stark contrast to the 45% gain recorded by the top 100 tokens. The fate of BNB and Binance remains intertwined, with the performance of one often impacting the other.
Dallas Mavericks Owner and Billionaire Tech Investor, Mark Cuban, Falls Victim to Phishing Attack, Losing $870,000 in Crypto Assets
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and a prominent billionaire technology investor, recently fell prey to a phishing attack, resulting in a loss of approximately $870,000 worth of tokens.
The incident occurred over the weekend after months of inactivity on Cuban’s crypto wallet.
Phishing attacks, a prevalent threat in the crypto industry, deceive users into revealing sensitive information, downloading malicious software, and exposing their private data.
These attacks exploit users’ trust, often causing them to overlook the authenticity of incoming requests on their crypto wallets or unwittingly download counterfeit applications designed solely to pilfer their assets.
Cuban’s crypto wallet was emptied of various assets, including U.S.-pegged stablecoins, staked ETH (stETH), SuperRare (RARE) tokens, and some Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domains, according to blockchain data.
The initial discovery of these suspicious transactions was made by the vigilant on-chain investigator @wazzcrypto.
Fortunately, Cuban was alerted to these transactions, and he managed to safeguard over $2.5 million worth of Polygon’s MATIC tokens.
He accomplished this by promptly logging into his wallet and transferring the tokens to a secure Coinbase exchange address.
Cuban revealed that the phishing attack was apparently initiated through a fraudulent MetaMask wallet application that he had unwittingly downloaded.
This incident marks the second high-profile phishing attack in as many weeks, following Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin’s experience in early September. Buterin’s X account was compromised in a phishing attack, although he did not appear to lose any of his own funds.
Nevertheless, unsuspecting users collectively suffered losses of up to $700,000 by sending tokens to a malicious link that falsely appeared to have Buterin’s endorsement.
As the crypto industry continues to thrive, it is crucial for users to exercise caution and remain vigilant to safeguard their digital assets from the ever-present threat of phishing attacks.
RxR Analysis Reveals: Ether’s True Worth 27% Higher than Market Price
RxR, a research-driven partnership between Republic Crypto and Re7 Capital, has revealed that Ether (ETH), the native token of the Ethereum blockchain, is currently trading at a 27% discount to its actual fair value.
This revelation comes as a result of RxR’s innovative approach to evaluating the worth of cryptocurrencies. Instead of relying solely on traditional metrics, RxR’s methodology incorporates a blended version of the Metcalfe law that takes into account both the active user base on the continuously expanding Ethereum scaling networks and the users on the Ethereum mainnet.
Ether, as a fundamental component of the Ethereum ecosystem, facilitates a wide range of activities, from simple transactions to participating in network security through staking, earning interest, and even storing non-fungible tokens. As such, the value of Ether has long been intertwined with Ethereum’s network usage.
Lewis Harland, an analyst at RxR, explained the significance of this approach, stating, “Ethereum’s network valuation exhibits a closer alignment with the updated Metcalfe law index when the active user base of Ethereum’s scaling networks is included in the model, in contrast to when it is omitted.”
Harland continued, “The updated model, which factors in these networks, places ETH’s valuation at $275 billion, indicating that the current market capitalization is trading at a substantial 27% discount.”
Ether’s market capitalization consistently tracks the blended Metcalfe law model more accurately than the traditional model, which fails to consider the growing activity on layer 2 networks or offchain solutions built atop the Ethereum mainnet.
In essence, this analysis challenges the perception that Ether might be overvalued, as suggested by the traditional Metcalfe law Model.
The emergence of Layer 2 technology has undoubtedly become one of the most dynamic and exciting developments in the crypto market. Key protocols, such as Coinbase’s BASE, Arbitrum, and Optimism, have found their unique niches within this landscape.
According to data from L2Beat, the total value locked in layer 2 protocols has surged more than threefold in just two years, reaching an impressive milestone of over $9 billion.
Ripple Labs Objects to SEC’s Request for Appeal in Landmark Cryptocurrency Case
Ripple Labs, a leading player in the cryptocurrency industry, has voiced its strong objection to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) recent request to appeal a pivotal federal judge’s ruling.
This ruling determined that cryptocurrency should not be classified as a security when offered to the public.
On Friday, Ripple submitted a request to US District Judge Analisa Torres in New York, urging her to reject the SEC’s appeal request.
The company argued that the SEC is hastily pursuing an appeal on what it deems a fundamental legal issue applicable to all cases involving digital assets.
Ripple contends that the procedural and legal circumstances in other SEC enforcement actions differ significantly.
To proceed with its appeal, the SEC requires Judge Torres’s permission, as her initial ruling was not a final judgment.
Also, the regulator is seeking to temporarily suspend its lawsuit against Ripple, which accuses the company of selling unregistered securities, pending the outcome of the appeal.
Judge Torres’s previous decision was widely celebrated by the cryptocurrency industry, which has been resisting efforts to classify digital assets as securities subject to regulatory oversight.
In her ruling on July 13, Torres distinguished between the sale of Ripple’s XRP token to institutional investors, which she deemed to meet the criteria for an investment contract under federal securities law, and sales to the general public on cryptocurrency exchanges.
The SEC argued that immediate review of the matter was imperative as the ultimate outcome could have implications for other cryptocurrency-related cases, including similar lawsuits filed by the regulator against Coinbase Global Inc. and Binance Holdings Ltd.
It is worth noting that another Manhattan federal judge, Jed Rakoff, explicitly rejected Judge Torres’s approach in the SEC’s case against Terraform Labs and its founder, Do Kwon. Rakoff concluded that the Terra USD token might indeed be considered a security when sold to retail investors.
In its Friday filing, Ripple emphasized that several critical issues remain unresolved in the case, including whether the sales of XRP to institutional investors fall outside the SEC’s jurisdiction. If the SEC’s request for an exceptional appeal is granted, Ripple indicated its intention to challenge the judge’s determination that these sales constituted securities transactions.
This development comes shortly after a significant legal victory for the cryptocurrency industry in another case. An appeals court in Washington recently overturned the SEC’s decision to block Grayscale Investments LLC’s proposed spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund.
Ripple’s CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, and Chairman, Christian Larsen, who are also named as defendants in the case, have joined the chorus opposing the SEC’s request. They maintain that Judge Torres’s ruling aligns with the best interests of the public and that the case should proceed to trial without further delay.
The case, known as SEC v. Ripple Labs Inc., 20-cv-10832, is currently pending in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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