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Binance And CEO Changpeng Zhao Probed By U.S. Justice Department Over AML Checks: Reuters

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Binance And CEO Changpeng Zhao Probed By U.S. Justice Department Over AML Checks: Reuters

Summary:

  • U.S. federal prosecutors asked Binance for documents regarding the platform’s anti-money laundering checks.
  • Authorities also asked for communication records between CEO Changpeng Zhao and 12 other executives.
  • The cornerstone of investigations revolves around whether or not Binance violated the Bank Secrecy Act, per reports.
  • U.S. agencies like the SEC and the Justice Department have increased probes into crypto companies in recent years.
  • At press time, comprehensive crypto regulations and oversight for the industry remain unavailable. 

The world’s leading crypto exchange Binance and its CEO Changpeng are under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department over anti-money laundering (AML) checks, Reuters reported on Thursday.

According to today’s report, U.S. federal prosecutors launched the probe in December 2020 via a series of letters to the giant crypto exchange. The request asked the exchange to turn over documentation regarding AML checks. 

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[DB] U.S. sought records on Binance CEO for crypto money laundering probe: Reuters

— db (@tier10k) September 1, 2022

Reuters reported that the probe focused on Binance’s compliance with local financial crime policies. The investigation sought to determine if the crypto exchange behemoth violated the Bank Secrecy Act.

Under financial law, digital asset exchanges are required to file a registration application with the Treasury Department. The act also makes it mandatory for such exchanges to comply with AML standards, per today’s report.

Furthermore, prosecutors asked for records of communication between Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao and 12 other executives. Authorities also sought to establish if instructions were given for “documents to be altered or transferred from the U.S.”.

Notably, prosecutors mentioned key phrases like “illegal transactions” and “recruitment of U.S. customers in their request.

Binance And CEO Changpeng Zhao Probed By U.S. Justice Department Over AML Checks: Reuters 14
Binance Founder & CEO Changpeng Zhao (Source: Photographer: Benjamin Girette/Getty Images)

Binance, Coinbase, And Other Crypto Companies Under Scrutiny From U.S. Regulators

Indeed, U.S. authorities have amped up their crackdown on digital asset exchanges and companies as interest in cryptos have surged. Agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission have levied allegations against Coinbase and Ripple, EthereumWorldNews reported.

U.S. Congressman and Chair of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, Raja Krishnamoorthi, sent letters to five major crypto exchanges this week including Binance, Coinbase, and FTX. The petition asked the platforms to report on their anti-fraud systems.

Cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash was also recently sanctioned by the Treasury Department.

While regulators like the SEC, Treasury Department, and Department of Justice have launched several investigations, crypto proponents and companies alike argue that the regulatory structure for digital assets remains unclear. 

This could be regularized in the near future following an executive order on cryptocurrencies signed by President Joe Biden back in March 2022. According to the 120-day timeline given to agencies to submit their reports, feedback in EO is expected in early September 2022.

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Celsius Network Will Hold Its Final Asset Auction On This Date 

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Celsius Network Will Hold Its Final Asset Auction On This Date 
  • Celsius Network is set to hold its final asset auction on October 17, 2022 
  • FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is reportedly mulling over buying Celsius Network assets next week.

A recent court filing filed by Celsius reveals that the embattled crypto lender platform will conduct its final bidding session on October 17, 2022.

Celsius Is All Set to Host Its Final Auction Event 

Celsius Network has revealed a new timeline for its final auction event. The crypto lender platform will now be conducting its final bidding session on October 17, 2022, at 4:00 PM ET, alongside an auction, if necessary, on October 20, at 10:00 Eastern time.

Per the court filing filed with the US bankruptcy court for Southern New York, a sale hearing will be held on November 11, 1:00 PM ET, before chief US bankruptcy Judge Glenn Martin via Zoom.

Celsius Network, a prominent crypto lender platform, landed itself in troubled waters in July when the firm announced its decision to halt its deposits and withdrawals on the platform, citing extreme market conditions. The platform has received heavy criticism from the entire crypto community, which further spiralled out of control when the firm announced a deficit of 2.8 billion on its balance sheet.

In addition to this, Alex Mahinsky, CEO of Celsius Network, has recently submitted his resignation to the board. Mahinsky had reportedly withdrawn $10 million in the weeks before the firm halted deposits and withdrawals on its platform.

The auction, which is scheduled to go live on October 17, is said to be attended by a large number of interested parties. The CEO of FTX crypto platform, Sam Bankman-Fried, is also reportedly interested in purchasing the remaining assets of Celsius Network.

Last week, FTX.US won the first round of the Voyager asset auction by proposing a winning bid of $1.4 billion.

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Money Flowing Out Of Crypto Funds Is 666M Less Than Previous Quarter Indicating Bearish Investors Are Already Out: Bloomberg

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Money Flowing Out Of Crypto Funds Is 666M Less Than Previous Quarter Indicating Bearish Investors Are Already Out: Bloomberg
  • According to data from Bloomberg, money flowing out of crypto exchange-traded funds has slowed down by 97% in Q3 compared to Q2. 
  • Investors pulled $17.6 million from crypto ETFs in Q3 in comparison to a record withdrawal of $683.4 million from the ETF in Q2.

The second quarter of 2022 saw record withdrawals from crypto exchange-traded funds with a withdrawal of $683.4 million, which affected the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin’s price has seen a 60% decrease that quarter, posting a record low of $17,785 on June 17 according to data from Coingecko.

Money Flowing Out Of Crypto Funds Is 666M Less Than Previous Quarter Indicating Bearish Investors Are Already Out: Bloomberg 12

Bloomberg data reports that Q3 of 2022 saw much fewer sales, indicating that capitulation may have occurred and bearish investors are now already out of risky assets such as BTC, Ethereum, and others.

ETF Strategist at Strategas securities stated for Bloomberg:

“I wonder if the second quarter was the ‘get me out part of these funds,”

According to Sohn, the third quarter may have been where the “laggards” and investors who had been “keeping the faith mentality” are now out.

Markets have declined in recent months as central banks have increased interest rates to curb inflation.

Bitcoin Witnessed An Increase In Volume This Quarter Against GBP

Bitcoin recently witnessed increased trading volume against GBP as the fiat currencies showed weakness. Bitcoin trading volume recorded an all-time high on Sep 28, 2022, as the UK’s fiat currency was threatened.

Bitcoin has been outperforming other major currencies in the past week, with a positive increase of 6.3%. Will this outperformance continue to hold, and are investors getting “orange-pilled” on Bitcoin while losing faith in fiat currency? This is something we will continue monitoring and see how it unfolds.

Money Flowing Out Of Crypto Funds Is 666M Less Than Previous Quarter Indicating Bearish Investors Are Already Out: Bloomberg 13

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Indian Crypto Exchange WazirX Lays Off 40% Of Its Staff Citing The Ongoing Crypto Winter: Report 

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Indian Crypto Exchange WazirX Lays Off 40% Of Its Staff Citing The Ongoing Crypto Winter: Report 
  • Indian cryptocurrency exchange WazirX has reportedly laid off 40% of its staff, Coindesk report adds
  • In a statement shared with the crypto news outlet, the exchange cites the prolonged crypto winter as its reason for slashing its workforce by 40%. 

Per a Coindesk report, Indian cryptocurrency exchange WazirX has slashed its workforce by 40%, citing the ongoing crypto market phase. 

WazirX Cuts 40% of Its Workforce

In a statement shared with Coindesk, WazirX, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in India, has decided to lay off 40% of its staff, citing extreme crypto winter conditions. The company has reportedly laid off 50–70 people, three people familiar with the matter told Coindesk.

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The statement later adds that these employees will be paid for additional 45 days, and after that, the workers are not expected to attend the company anymore.

WazirX, which is dubbed as one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in India, has cited the prolonged crypto winter as its primary reason, leading the firm to slash its workforce by almost 40%.

“The crypto market has been in the grip of a bear market because of the current global economic slowdown. The Indian crypto industry has had its unique problems concerning taxes, regulations, and banking access. This has led to a dramatic fall in volumes on all Indian crypto exchanges. ” The statement reportedly added

The firm further stated that it prioritises consumer protection and its decision to lay off 40% of its staff has been taken to “weather the ongoing crypto winter phase.”

“As India’s No. 1 exchange, our priority is to be financially stable and to continue serving our customers,” the company said. To achieve this, we’ve had to reduce our staff to weather the crypto winter. This situation is similar to the trying times the industry faced in 2018. At that time, we doubled down and built our innovative P2P engine. The crypto industry operates in cycles, and the bear market is inevitably followed by a spectacular bull market. We will continue to focus on our customers’ needs and continue to build. “We are confident that we will come out stronger when the bull market arrives,” the statement later adds

With WazirX slashing its workforce by 40%, the firm has joined the growing league of cryptocurrency exchanges that have recently decided to lay off their employees to stay afloat during the ongoing crypto winter phase. Crypto exchange Coinbase had earlier cut back on its workforce, citing the prolonged crypto winter. Similarly, exchanges like Bybit, Gemini, BitPanda, BlockFi, and Robinhood have also slashed their workforce to sustain the ongoing bearish crypto market phase.

Image: WazirX/Twitter

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