The Commodity Futures Trading Commission sent the prices of crypto-related stocks and the most popular cryptocurrencies plummeting on Monday after it announced it was suing Binance and its CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, in federal court.
Bitcoin and Ether, the two leading cryptocurrencies, were down about 3% each over the past 24 hours, a change from the steady climb seen in recent days that saw each hit a monthslong high. The cryptocurrency BNB, which powers the Binance’s BNB chain, was down more than 6%.
Many crypto-related stocks were down even more.
Shares of competing crypto exchange Coinbase fell just over 10% following the news. The company has recently run into its own regulatory trouble, with the Securities and Exchange Commission issuing a Wells Notice to the exchange related to “aspects of the Company’s exchange, our staking service Coinbase Earn, and Coinbase Wallet after a cursory investigation,” Coinbase said last week.
Shares of MicroStrategy, the Bitcoin “hodling” company founded by Michael Saylor, were also down more than 7% on Monday afternoon. In a tweet on Monday, Saylor said that the company had repaid a $205 million loan to collapsed crypto bank Silvergate at a 22% discount. Saylor added that the company spent around $150 million on 6,455 more Bitcoin tokens to bring its total holdings to 138,955, worth about $3.7 billion at current prices.
MicroStrategy repaid its $205M Silvergate loan at a 22% discount. As of 3/23/23, $MSTR acquired an additional ~6,455 bitcoins for ~$150M at an average of ~$23,238 per #bitcoin & held ~138,955 BTC acquired for ~$4.14B at an average of ~$29,817 per bitcoin. https://t.co/ALp9VLkTpt— Michael Saylor⚡️ (@saylor) March 27, 2023
The share price of mining companies also fell. Marathon Digital Holdings was down more than 8%, while Colorado-based Riot Blockchain saw shares drop about 8%. Toronto-based crypto miner Hut 8 was down 6%.
The CFTC alleged in a 74-page complaint on Monday that the company “disregarded applicable federal laws while fostering Binance’s U.S. customer base…” The agency alleges in the lawsuit that Binance failed to implement know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering procedures, and helped U.S.-based customers “evade the compliance controls Binance purported to implement to prevent and detect violations of U.S. Law.”
In a Monday tweet, Zhao posted a message with just the number “4,” which he previously said meant to ignore FUD, a popular Crypto Twitter acronym for fear, uncertainty, and doubt.