Class action filed against Binance.US for sale of TerraUSD

Quick Take

  • A class action lawsuit is underway against Binance.US on behalf of US users who bought or sold TerraUSD on the exchange. 
  • “Binance.US is registered by FinCEN and adheres to all applicable regulations. These assertions are without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously,” a company spokesperson said, adding that luna has never been listed on Binance.US.

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Binance.US, the American affiliate of global crypto exchange Binance, over the sale of TerraUSD (UST) to buyers in the US. 

Filed in the Northern District of California on Monday, the lawsuit alleges that Binance.US sold unregistered securities to the plaintiffs, misleading them in the process.

It also says that Binance.US's business model is "premised on illegally enabling the sale of unregistered securities to as many US investors as possible, as often as possible."

In conjunction with this, the plaintiffs allege that Binance.US promoted the sale of UST and participated in airdrops of tokens which were "designed to increase trading volume."

The 72-page complaint goes on to allege that Binance.US listed and sold UST despite the fact it is not registered as a broker-dealer, which, it says, is a violation of US securities laws. 

A Binance.US spokesperson told The Block that luna was never listed on the Binance.US platform. They also said that UST was delisted from the platform last night. 

"Binance.US is registered by FinCEN and adheres to all applicable regulations. These assertions are without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously," a company spokesperson said.

The move comes following the death spiral of UST, Terra's algorithmic stablecoin, which erased more than $40 billion in value from the market almost overnight. Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon has since tried to make amends for lost funds, by airdropping luna 2.0 to holders. 

The plaintiffs of this law suit have demanded a trial by jury for all issues deemed trialable. 

This lawsuit, which is being brought by law firms Roche Freedman and Dontzin Nagy & Fleissig, could be the first of a number of legal complaints triggered by the breakdown of UST in May. If successful, it could also go some way to doing what governments have been thus far unable to do: put more clear parameters around the legal status of centralized finance (DeFi) and who is culpable when something goes wrong.  

A named partner at the law firm Roche Freedman, Kyle Roche, tweeted on May 13: "If you purchased $LUNA or $UST on either @coinbase @krakenfx @binance or @Gemini, please reach out to [email protected] . My firm is coordinating an effort to help those who lost funds from the recent collapse of #terra and #luna."

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the stablecoin. 

Update 7.20 a.m. ET: This story was updated to include comment from Binance.US. 

© 2023 The Block Crypto, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.