This week…well…if you don’t know by now then we can’t really help you. But we’ll try.
Binance and Binance.US Targeted by SEC
Where to start? On Monday the SEC filed a lawsuit against Binance for operating an illegal exchange, saying that it actively flouted AML/KYC requirements and didn’t register with the agency as a broker. The following day it moved to seize assets belonging to Binance.US and CEO Changpeng Zhao.
This all led to Binance.US’s banking partners pulling out, meaning users can no longer deposit or withdraw USD. The SEC wants Binance kicked out of the US and, months after it was targeted by the CFTC, this week represents the agency making its desires plainly known.
Coinbase Also Feels SEC Wrath
Binance wasn’t the only exchange that felt the SEC’s wrath this week, with Coinbase facing similar charges, minus the KYC/AML stuff. Coinbase is alleged to have sold more than a dozen unregistered securities in a move that has been telegraphed for some months now.
Like Binance, Coinbase says it will fight the charges, pointing out how many times it tried to bend to the SEC’s will but that the SEC wanted nothing to do with regulating it, simply trying to force it out instead.
The SEC’s lawsuit came right when it is in the middle of another battle with Coinbase over a petition Coinbase filed last year demanding to know if the SEC plans to regulate crypto or not. The SEC now has three days to reply with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Atomic Wallet Hacked by Lazarus
Outside of exchange lawsuits, this week also saw Atomic Wallet hacked for over $35 million, with North Korean group Lazarus thought to be behind the theft. Atomic Wallet has been around for six years, which led to one observer saying that it was “seriously scary” that it had been compromised.
Blockchain intelligence firm Elliptic revealed that Lazarus was likely behind the attack, reporting that the stolen crypto had been transferred to a mixer called Sindbad.io, which is believed to be a successor to the previously sanctioned mixer Blender.io and has been frequently used for money laundering in other Lazarus-connected hacks.
Elliptic also noted that the usage patterns observed in this incident closely resemble those seen in previous Lazarus operations, with connections also found between the wallets containing the stolen funds and some of the hacks previously attributed to the group.