Binance and its co-founder, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, have reached a settlement over criminal and civil cases with the United States Department of Justice. CZ will plead guilty to one felony charge as part of the negotiated agreement. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the settlement, claiming Binance’s policies allowed criminals involved in illicit activities to move “stolen funds” through the exchange. As part of the settlement, CZ announced on X (formerly Twitter) that he had stepped down as CEO and that Binance’s global head of regional markets, Richard Teng, will assume the position. He added he was “proud to point out” that U.S. officials didn’t allege that Binance misappropriated funds or manipulated markets. CZ was released on bail and is battling government efforts to bar his return to the United Arab Emirates to be with his family. His sentencing is scheduled for February.
Representatives from BlackRock and Nasdaq met with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to discuss the proposed rule allowing the listing of a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). BlackRock provided a presentation detailing how the firm could use an in-kind or in-cash redemption model for its iShares Bitcoin Trust. Many reports have suggested the SEC could be nearing a decision on a spot BTC ETF for listing on U.S. markets. SEC officials also met with Grayscale representatives this week to discuss the listing of a Bitcoin ETF. BlackRock is one of many firms with spot crypto ETF applications in the SEC pipeline awaiting a response, including Fidelity, WisdomTree, Invesco Galaxy, Valkyrie, VanEck and Bitwise.
A Bitcoin user paid $3.1 million in fees for transferring 139.42 BTC. The transaction fee is the eighth-highest in Bitcoin’s 14-year history. A wallet address tried transferring 139.42 BTC only to pay more than half the actual value of the transaction fee. The destination address received only 55.77 BTC. The mining pool Antpool captured the absurdly high mining fee on block 818087. This is the largest Bitcoin transaction fee ever paid in dollar terms, knocking off Paxos’s September transfer of $500,000.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has sued Kraken, alleging it commingled customer funds and failed to register with the regulator as a securities exchange, broker, dealer and clearing agency. Additionally, the SEC alleged Kraken’s business practices and “deficient” internal controls saw the exchange commingle up to $33 billion worth of customer assets with its own. The SEC said this resulted in a “significant risk of loss” for its clients. In a follow-up blog post, Kraken said the SEC’s commingling accusations were “no more than Kraken spending fees it has already earned,” and the regulator doesn’t allege any user funds are missing.
Sam Bankman-Fried will stay jailed after failing to convince a United States appellate court that he should be freed while his legal team appeals his conviction. Government prosecutors accused Bankman-Fried of leaking Caroline Ellison’s journals to The New York Times in July, which caused his bail to be revoked by a New York District Court. Bankman-Fried was found guilty of seven fraud and money laundering-related charges on Nov. 2. The former FTX CEO will remain behind bars while he awaits his sentencing on March 28 next year.