Ross Gerber, CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management, says Binance is being dishonest about why it blocks users from accessing their accounts and he wants the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate and intervene to protect investors.
Gerber’s comments came after the platform recently halted withdrawals in a “temporary suspension” that affected all its users, in line with what other exchanges such as Coinbase did.
Binance Holdings, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world by trading volume, also twice suspended and then resumed withdrawals of all currency on its website earlier in November, raising questions about whether it is acting more like a casino than a currency exchange and selling more crypto than it has access to.
In a tweet, Gerber said the SEC should “step in” and check Binance for abusing the leeway it has to halt access to users’ accounts.
“They clearly aren’t honest and won’t let legitimate accounts access their money,” he wrote.
Many Binance users said they have been affected by frozen accounts for reasons ranging from “risk management” and “anti-money laundering”, even when they underwent full know-your-customer verification processes. They said they were frustrated by the platform, according to a CoinDesk report.
Users said Binance customer support asked them “to do impossible things” such as providing 15 videos as evidence of funds’ providence to prove that they owned the accounts and that they were not using a virtual private network (VPN) to access the platform.
Regulatory pressure in Europe forced Binance to announce in July that it would stop offering futures and derivatives products across the continent.
Regulators around the world are increasingly worried about the standard of anti-money laundering checks and consumer protection at crypto exchanges. The U.S, the U.K., Italy, Japan, Thailand, Poland, and the Cayman Islands have all either issued warnings or taken action against Binance recently over its primary offering of cryptocurrency trading.
German financial regulator BaFin said that Binance may have violated its securities laws in connection to its stock tokens offering.
Earlier this year, Binance was investigated by U.S. federal agencies including the IRS for money laundering and tax concerns.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 74: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin returns for a new season of the GHOGH podcast to discuss Bitcoin, bubbles, and Biden. He talks about the risk factors for Bitcoin as an investment asset including origin risk, speculative market structure, regulatory, and environment. Are broader financial markets in a massive speculative bubble?