Crypto companies are keeping the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) busy this week. In Monday’s newsletter, we wrote about the SEC’s settlement with BlockFi, a cryptocurrency lender, to resolve the agency’s allegations that the company’s investment products were illegal. As of Tuesday, the SEC had a new target in Binance.US, the American division of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. The agency is looking into the company’s alleged ties to two large trading parties that use its platform, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
The context of both SEC probes is different. With BlockFi, regulators were concerned about the legality of a particular product, and with Binance.US, they are worried that the exchange may be giving certain trading partners preferential treatment. But regardless of the surface differences, the probes are likely advancing the SEC’s broader goal: to show that crypto assets and tokens are, in fact, securities, and that they should be regulated as such.
But if the SEC wants to show that tokens are securities, why not first prove that, and then take these companies to task for not registering with the agency?