The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler allegedly offered to serve as an advisor to Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, in 2019, according to a CNBC report on Wednesday that cited documents filed by the regulator. 

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Fast facts

  • Lawyers from Gibson Dunn and Latham & Watkins, two of Binance’s law firms, reportedly claimed in the documents filed on Wednesday that Gensler had offered to serve as an advisor to Binance through several conversations with company officials, including its chief executive Changpeng Zhao.
  • The lawyers reportedly alleged that Zhao maintained communication with Gensler following their meeting in March 2019. Moreover, Zhao participated in an interview for Gensler’s blockchain course at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 
  • The lawyers’ allegation contradicts a March 2023 report by The Wall Street Journal. The outlet cited messages and documents to report that Binance was among the firms that approached Gensler for the advisory position in 2018.
  • The SEC has been cracking down on crypto exchanges in the U.S. This week. It sued Binance and Coinbase for allegedly breaching securities rules. In February, the market watchdog imposed fines on crypto exchange Kraken, and in April, it charged Bittrex for operating an unregistered exchange.

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