Binance is apparently facing more pressure from regulators over possible abuses at its cryptocurrency exchange. Bloomberg sources said US officials have expanded their probe of Binance to include possible insider trading and market manipulation. The company hasn't been accused of wrongdoing, but Commodity Futures Trading Commission investigators have reportedly inquired with potential witnesses about issues like the location of Binance servers (and thus whether the US can pursue any cases).
The commission had previously launched an investigation into the sales of derivatives tied to cryptocurrencies. It's reportedly looking for internal Binance data that might show sales of those derivatives to American customers, breaking regulations that forbid those sales without registrations. The Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department are also probing possible money laundering on the exchange.
There are no guarantees of action. The CFTC and Justice Department have supposedly been investigating Binance for months, and any decisions might take a while longer.
Not surprisingly, Binance said it was above-board. A spokesperson told Bloomberg the exchange had a "zero-tolerance" approach to insider trades as well as ethical codes and security guidelines to prevent those actions. The company added that it fires offenders at a bare minimum. The CFTC has declined to comment.
The heightened scrutiny of Binance, if accurate, would come as part of a larger US crackdown on cryptocurrencies. Officials are concerned the lack of consumer protections (including regulation) might hurt customers who sign up for services expecting the same safeguards they have with conventional money. In this case, the focus is on accountability — insider trading could wreck valuable investments and erode trust in Binance and other crypto exchanges.