One of the issues in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) ongoing lawsuit against Binance has been the custody of customer crypto and whether it’s been appropriately under the control of Binance US.
Binance US relies on wallet software marketed under the name Ceffu to other exchanges, which was developed by Binance Holdings Limited. The company’s agreement with Binance predates the product being marketed as Ceffu.
Binance’s lawyers contend that the SEC is on a “fishing expedition,” and that its custody practices don’t place Binance’s US assets at risk.
Binance US, as previously mentioned, relies on wallet software developed and marketed by Binance Holdings Limited. Binance Holdings Limited also established the Amazon Web Service accounts used for these wallets. The SEC has filed a redacted document described as “Binance.US Digital Asset & Custody Operations Policy” from May 15 of this year that describes procedures for managing certain transactions where “the US employee requests the cold wallet transfer to .COM employee.”
Furthermore, Binance acknowledges that the cold wallet for Binance US had seven key shards, and previously at least three were controlled by Binance International. It also claims that since then, all seven shards are now controlled by Binance US.
The disagreement between the SEC and Binance’s lawyers seems to center around whether the previously agreed upon consent order, which forbade Binance US from providing “possession, custody, or control over Customer Assets to any individual or entity, including Binance, Zhao, and, with the exception of [Binance US], any individual or entity with any affiliation, agreement, or other relationship with Binance, Zhao, or any Zhao-owned-or-controlled entity.”
The declaration of Jennifer Farer, a trial attorney with the SEC, reiterated that “BAM was prohibited from using a foreign Binance-affiliated third-party for wallet custody services.”
Binance and Binance US’s lawyers maintain that “because BAM maintains control over the means to transfer assets, BHL does not have access to, or control over, BAM’s customer assets.” They also further maintain that “the SEC negotiated with the Consent Order with the express understanding that BAM would continue using the BHL wallet custody software.”
The next hearing is scheduled for September 18.