- According to the company CEO, since the SEC focuses on the United States, this should not influence Animoca Brands in other regions.
- While the SEC identified its token for The Sandbox in cases against Binance and Coinbase, the company stated it had been focusing on more progressive nations.
According to SCMP, after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) labeled the firm’s Sand cryptocurrency token an unregistered securities in lawsuits against the exchanges Binance and Coinbase Global, Hong Kong-based blockchain company Animoca Brands stated it is concentrating more on markets outside the US.
The SEC charged Binance and its CEO, Changpeng Zhao, with mishandling client cash, deceiving investors and authorities, and violating securities laws.
The agency set out a number of alleged breaches against the world’s largest crypto exchange and its operator in a 136-page lawsuit filed Monday in US federal court in Washington. For years, they broke fundamental know-your-customer standards by allowing Americans to register accounts and trade illegally, according to the watchdog. It’s simply the latest legal stumbling block for Zhao and Binance.
It also claimed in the complaint that several tokens traded on Binance.com and Binance.US, including SOL, ADA, MATIC, FIL, ATOM, SAND, MANA, ALGO, AXS, and COTI, were offered and sold as securities, a move that may have far-reaching consequences for other exchanges that sell similar tokens.
The SEC also sued Coinbase, America’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, on Tuesday for allegedly functioning as an unregistered broker. The lawsuit came barely 24 hours after a similar action was filed against international competitor Binance.
SAND is the native cryptocurrency used by Animoca’s metaverse platform, The Sandbox, and it was one of more than a dozen such tokens specifically designated as securities by the SEC, alongside Solana, Polygon, and Mana, the token used in the Decentraland virtual world. The SEC move increases the legal dangers for any firms that offer these coins.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has said that the company has no intentions to delist the tokens mentioned by the SEC, laying the stage for a judicial battle over whether forms of cryptocurrency are considered securities.
Yat Siu, co-founder and chairman of Animoca, said through email:
“Animoca Brands is not focused on a single territory but operates globally. The SEC focuses on the US, so that should not have an impact on Animoca Brands in broader markets where Sand is widely available and accepted, including in more progressive jurisdictions like Hong Kong and Japan.”
Because of the new “blockchain-hostile” posture in the US, Animoca has already begun to take efforts to focus greater attention on other markets, according to Siu.
According to Pádraig Walsh, a partner at Tanner De Witt in Hong Kong, labeling cryptoassets as securities is a strategy for the SEC that supports their enforcement proposition against those exchanges and is not particularly fatal to their operators because a judgment from the legal proceedings has yet to be issued. Nonetheless, he highlighted that the claims increase the legal risk for corporations in the United States.
Several companies targeted by the SEC have also tried to expand outside of the United States. According to Brooks Entwistle, APAC managing director and senior vice-president of global customer success at Ripple, the blockchain business has mostly expanded in Asia since the SEC sued it in 2020 over its XRP coin in a lawsuit that is currently continuing.
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