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Binance.US suspends USD deposits after crackdown by regulators

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(Reuters) -Crypto exchange Binance.US said on Thursday it’s suspending U.S. dollar deposits and that its banking partners are preparing to pause fiat dollar withdrawal channels as early as June 13, just days after U.S. regulators sued Binance and its CEO Changpeng Zhao.

The U.S. arm of the world’s largest crypto exchange said in a tweet at 10:33 p.m. EDT (0233 GMT) on Thursday that the move comes as it is taking “proactive steps” in its transition to a crypto-only exchange for the time being.

Trading, staking, deposits and withdrawals in crypto would remain fully operational, the exchange said in a notice to its customers.

On Monday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against Binance and its founder Zhao, and subsequently sued Coinbase, the largest U.S. cryptocurrency platform, a day later.

The developments mark a dramatic escalation of a crackdown on the industry by U.S. regulators, following the implosion of FTX last year.

Earlier on Thursday, U.S. financial regulators said they supported a freeze on Binance’s assets, according to a U.S. SEC filing to a federal court and made public.

“Binance.US is a considerably smaller business than their international group. Halting of withdrawals is obviously going to create or spur quite a bit of worry and panic,” said Matthew Dibb, COO of Singapore crypto platform Stack Funds.

“But day after day for the last week, Binance has been hit with various types of comments and issues from the SEC and regulators, so this was really to be expected.”

Binance.US said in its tweet that the SEC’s take on cryptocurrency is “extremely aggressive and intimidating”, adding that it has created challenges between the exchange and its banking partners.

“This is going to be a long battle, it’s not going to get sorted the next two months or three months, it’s most likely going to take a few years,” said Dibb.

(Reporting by Rae Wee in Singapore and Rahat Sandhu in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil & Shri Navaratnam)

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