SEC crackdown, Apple’s spatial computing, and Mercado Bitcoin prepares.

Following a period of relative calm, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has begun its summer crackdown on cryptocurrency by targeting two major exchanges, Binance and Coinbase.

A total of 13 charges have been filed against Binance. One of the allegations in the lawsuit claims that funds from Binance and Binance.US were mixed into an account controlled by the Changpeng Zhao-associated company, Merit Peak.

Regarding Coinbase, the SEC claims that it has been offering unregistered securities and was never registered as a broker, securities exchange, or clearing agency. Many in the crypto industry have been confused by the allegations against Coinbase, primarily because it is a publicly-traded company and previously received approval from the regulator.

This week’s developments, while not surprising, again shed light on the SEC’s dubious practices toward the crypto space, as it claimed companies failed to register with the regulator, despite the absence of a path to do so. Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said the latest string of lawsuits is an attempt by the SEC to “distract” from the agency’s “FTX debacle”. It is worth noting that the SEC has not sued FTX, although it has charged its founder and former executives.

The crypto space has seen sell-offs in tokens and stocks, services halted, and increased uncertainty in recent days. However, these events may also bring something that the industry is eager for — legal clarity.

Along with the recent wave of lawsuits, this week’s Crypto Biz also explores Apple’s new headset moving beyond the metaverse, Brazil’s Mercado Bitcoin getting the green light for its fintech payments arm, and how European Union regulators are targeting fake news generated by artificial intelligence.

SEC complaint hints at why Brian Brooks resigned as Binance​.US CEO

The SEC’s latest complaint against Binance could explain why former Binance.US CEO Brian Brooks chose to step down in August 2021, only three months after his appointment. According to legal sources, the complaint cites an “unnamed source” who ran Binance.US for a brief period in 2021. The dates correlate with the time that Brooks was CEO of the company. Brooks — a former top banking regulator — led operations at the crypto exchange after replacing former CEO Catherine Coley. According to comments cited in the complaint, Brooks quickly realized that he was “not actually the one running this company”. Upon recognizing this, he decided to leave, announcing his resignation just three months later.

1/ The SEC complaint against @Binance appears to solve the mystery of why Brian Brooks abruptly resigned as CEO of @BinanceUS in 2021. CZ allegedly reneged on promises that Brooks would be given autonomy to run https://t.co/reBq6K7KAs independently from @Binance .

— MetaLawMan (@MetaLawMan) June 5, 2023

Brazilian crypto exchange Mercado Bitcoin licensed as payment provider

Cryptocurrency exchange Mercado Bitcoin was granted a payment provider license from Brazil’s central bank on June 2. With the license, the company will launch its fintech solution MB Pay. The fintech arm will provide Brazilian users with specific digital banking services using crypto assets held on the exchange, such as digital fixed-income investments, staking, and other financial transactions. A debit card offering a crypto off-ramp for users is expected to go live soon. Global crypto exchanges operating in Brazil’s market include Binance, Coinbase, Crypto.com, and Bitso.

Apple’s Vision Pro headset reveal swaps metaverse for ‘spatial computing’

Apple’s newly revealed mixed-reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro, has turned tech-enthusiast heads in recent days. The company, however, deliberately labeled its technology the first “spatial computer” to move away from the metaverse concept and differentiate its virtual reality tool from competitors. Apple’s marketing is focused on the words “spatial” and “spatial computing” rather than words such as “metaverse,” “AR,” and “VR.” A clear step away from Microsoft’s Hololens and Meta’s headsets. Apple’s headset will be launched in the U.S. in early 2024, for a hefty retail price of $3,499, before expanding internationally.

EU officials want all AI-generated content to be labeled

The European Union is making a new effort to combat fake news by targeting AI-generated content. Officials from the EU are stating that companies using generative AI tools should label their content to counteract fake news. This statement comes as the EU prepares to release its Artificial Intelligence Act, which will provide comprehensive guidelines for the public use of AI and for the companies deploying it. Major tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Meta Platforms have already agreed to the EU’s 2022 Code of Practice on Disinformation.

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