SEC's Asset Freeze Bid on Binance.US Thwarted: Judge Demands Clarity

SEC's Asset Freeze Bid on Binance.US Thwarted: Judge Demands Clarity

In a dramatic courtroom showdown, Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the D.C. District Court rebuffed the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) request for a temporary asset freeze on Binance and its U.S. trading platform, Binance.US. The judge's decision allows the company to continue its operations while engaging in negotiations with the regulator to establish reasonable restrictions. The courtroom spectacle provided plenty of entertainment as the judge grilled SEC attorneys and expressed her frustration with the lack of clarity on the alleged funds movement. Let's dive into the details of this legal skirmish.

To Freeze or Not to Freeze:

The SEC attorneys were met with a stern judge who demanded answers. The motion for a restraining order sought to freeze all of Binance.US's assets until the company could prove that nobody from Binance's global platform had access to its private keys. However, the judge seemed less concerned about whether any customer funds had left the U.S. and more interested in obtaining a clear response from the attorneys. "I want to know if it's happening or not," she exclaimed, disappointed by the vague answers provided.

Finding Common Ground:

Despite her initial inclination to impose some restrictions on Binance's access to its U.S. assets, Judge Jackson steered away from a full asset freeze. She encouraged both parties to reconcile their proposed restrictions and emphasized the need for the SEC to clearly articulate its desired outcome. The judge believed that if the two sides could come to an agreement on reasonable limits, a restraining order would be unnecessary. In the meantime, she requested Binance.US to submit a list of its business expenses to the court and ordered the parties to continue negotiating.

Changing Stories and Crypto Classification:

One of the sticking points in the case was Binance.US's constantly changing narrative regarding how crypto assets and funds were held. The SEC attorney, Jennifer Farer, pointed out the inconsistencies in Binance.US's statements, ranging from claiming an operational agreement with Binance to stating it was not operational, and then suspending the non-operational agreement. The back-and-forth about whether Binance.US would cease operations in the U.S. further complicated the matter. The attorney even stated that they were "not willing to accept the death penalty" represented by a total asset freeze.

The judge also delved into the broader question of how to classify crypto assets. She questioned the SEC about distinguishing between a "crypto asset" and a "crypto asset security." This issue has long plagued the crypto industry, and despite the judge's elementary inquiries, she was left unsatisfied with the responses. The SEC argued that some cryptos were securities while reserving the right to assess the rest of the tokens on the exchanges later. The judge pressed further, asking whether the remaining cryptocurrencies were commodities.


The courtroom drama between the SEC and Binance over the asset freeze request provided ample entertainment for those interested in the intersection of crypto and legal proceedings. Judge Jackson's decision to deny the temporary restraining order demonstrates her desire for the two parties to find common ground and negotiate reasonable restrictions. The case also sheds light on the ongoing debate surrounding the classification of crypto assets as securities or commodities. As the negotiations continue, the crypto community eagerly awaits the next twist in this legal saga.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or investment advice. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any organization or individual mentioned.

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