$1B Voyager-Binance Deal Benefits Halved if Alameda Loan Claim Succeeds: Texas Regulators

In a court filing, the regulators cast doubt on Binance.US' relationship with Binance.com and alleged its staking service is illegal.

AccessTimeIconFeb 27, 2023 at 10:36 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 2, 2023 at 2:44 p.m. UTC

The benefits to creditors from an offer from Binance.US to buy bankrupt crypto lender Voyager Digital hinge on a $445 million loan claim by Alameda Research, making the deal potentially not worth bothering with, Texas regulators said in a Friday court filing.

The filing by the Texas banking and securities agencies said that Voyager’s creditors might be better off if the company simply liquidated assets and warned that would-be buyer Binance.US may be illegally offering securities through its staking program.

“If Alameda is successful in proving its administrative expense claim … recovery could be decreased from 51% to 24%-26% – an amount much lower than what the general unsecured claimants are estimated to receive in a Chapter 7 liquidation,” said the court filing, which was also backed by securities regulators from New Jersey.

Voyager lawyers have said the Binance.US deal has significant creditor support, but the Texas filing says they weren’t sufficiently warned about the risks of Alameda, the trading arm of collapsed crypto exchange FTX, successfully clawing back loan repayments made before its own bankruptcy.

The Binance.US deal, which is worth $1.02 billion, should also be quashed because customers weren’t warned personal data could be transferred to underregulated overseas jurisdictions, the filing also said.

Binance concerns

The document, which was filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, also detailed concerns over Binance’s business model.

"Binance.US’ staking program differs from traditional crypto staking and appears to constitute an illegal securities offering,” Joe Rotunda, director of enforcement at the Texas State Securities Board, said in a statement.

His comments follow enforcement action against crypto exchange Kraken, which had to pay a multimillion-dollar fine to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month and agree to end staking-as-a-service in the country.

“While Binance.US has affirmatively represented to its customers that it was working on getting licensed in Texas, Binance.US has never applied for a license with the SSB (State Securities Board) and, after a year, abandoned its license application with the DOB (Department of Banking) after failing to submit sufficient financial information,” the court filing said.

The terms of use Voyager customers must sign “may even effectively permit Binance.com to act in the U.S. even though Binance.com purportedly does not deal with U.S. customers,” the regulators added.

The deal for Voyager has also been opposed by the SEC and Federal Trade Commission, which said it was probing allegations of deceptive marketing by Voyager before it filed for bankruptcy in July. A hearing on that issue is scheduled for Thursday.

Binance.US didn't immediately return a call for comment.


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Jack Schickler

Jack Schickler was a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.