The CFTC has alleged that "Binance has taken a calculated, phased approach to increase its United States presence despite publicly stating its purported intent to 'block' or 'restrict' customers located in the United States from accessing its platform... All the while, Binance, Zhao, and Lim, the platform's Chief Compliance Officer ('CCO'), have each known that Binance's solicitation of customers located in the United States subjected Binance to registration and regulatory requirements under U.S. law. But Binance, Zhao, and Lim have all chosen to ignore those requirements and undermined Binance's ineffective compliance program by taking steps to help customers evade Binance's access controls."
The CFTC is only one of several US groups looking into Binance, with the SEC also reportedly scrutinizing the exchange and the Department of Justice considering charges.
After raising user funds, the project's creators drained its liquidity pools. They also convinced users to send funds to them with a technique known as "ice phishing". They then deleted their social media accounts and disappeared.
- "Kokomo Finance", CertiK
It seems perhaps even Sotheby's prestige is not sufficient to overcome the NFT downturn.
However, some confusing instructions resulted in the owner sending the punk to the burn address, effectively destroying the NFT. "I was trying to wrap it and don't know what I was doing... Thought I was following the directions exactly..." they later wrote. They also later shared that they had borrowed money in order to purchase the CryptoPunk.
The criminal charges out of the US add to civil charges he's facing from the SEC, as well as an investigation out of South Korea.
After the collapse, Kwon became a fugitive. South Korea issued a warrant for his arrest in September, and Interpol issued a red notice. However, he's remained on the lam for some time, reportedly hiding in Serbia for a time — a country with no extradition agreement with South Korea.
Now, officials in Montenegro have announced they arrested Do Kwon, who was attempting to travel through the country using falsified documents. Montenegro is a Balkan country bordering Serbia.
According to Coinbase, the Wells notice related to "aspects of the company's exchange, our staking service Coinbase Earn, and Coinbase Wallet". It's not terribly surprising that the SEC might have Coinbase Earn in its crosshairs, as it has recently taken action against similar products, such as Kraken's staking service. In the wake of the action against Kraken, Coinbase seemed to try to pre-empt SEC arguments by sending an email to customers emphasizing things like "You earn rewards from the protocol, not Coinbase". It doesn't look like this has shifted the SEC's thoughts much, though.
This should be an interesting saga to watch, partly because Coinbase has expressed willingness in the past to go head to head with the SEC.
With the exception of Soulja Boy and Mahone, the celebrities paid a total of more than $400,000 in disgorgement, interest, and penalties to settle the charges without admitting or denying them.