How an Appeals Court Ruled on an Aspiring Class-Action Lawsuit Against Binance

An Appeals Court’s Decision on a Class-Action Lawsuit Against Binance

In a recent ruling, a federal appeals court has determined that Binance must face a potential class-action lawsuit filed by a group of American crypto investors. The investors claim that Binance allowed them to purchase and trade unregistered securities in the form of certain cryptocurrencies. While the ruling does not ascertain whether these tokens are indeed securities, it holds substantial implications for securities cases in general.

The appeals court overturned a district judge’s dismissal of the case, citing jurisdictional issues and expired statute of limitations. The court revived the putative class-action lawsuit, affirming that Binance is subject to U.S. laws despite previously claiming no specific headquarters.

The decision carries significance as it establishes that domestic securities laws apply to transactions on exchanges located outside the United States. This ruling will potentially affect the ongoing lawsuit filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission against Binance. Additionally, it holds greater weight as an appeals court ruling, setting a precedent for future cases, unlike a mere district court ruling.

To break down the ruling further, the appeals court concluded that a crypto exchange, even if not officially based in the U.S., can still be governed by U.S. laws if there is a sufficient connection to the country. In this case, the judges found that the investors had standing to sue Binance due to the trades’ placement, payment location, and acceptance of terms of service within various U.S. states.

The court emphasized that the claims in question involved domestic transactions, as they became irrevocable within the United States, making them subject to U.S. securities laws. Additionally, the court found the plaintiffs’ federal claims timely, considering the completion of transactions before filing the lawsuit. The ruling also highlighted the district court’s premature conclusion regarding the nexus between the plaintiffs’ claims and the governing laws of absent class members.

The absence of a non-U.S. jurisdiction where the plaintiffs could sue further strengthened their case. State law claims were also supported by similar arguments, according to the judges.

Binance attempted to argue that it was a decentralized exchange, claiming that U.S. courts lacked jurisdiction. However, the court disagreed, suggesting that Binance’s servers’ location played a crucial role in determining jurisdiction. It concluded that the complaint plausibly alleged that the matching of trades occurred on the infrastructure Binance relies on, namely, Amazon Web Services servers in California.

The court also found the plaintiffs’ argument regarding the statute of limitations compelling. The statute of limitations did not start until the actual purchase of the tokens in question, which the plaintiffs adequately alleged.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has already submitted the court’s ruling as supplemental authority in its own case against Binance, aiming to challenge Binance’s dismissal arguments based on a district court’s previous ruling.

This ruling sets the stage for the ongoing class-action lawsuit against Binance and provides important legal precedents for future securities cases involving cryptocurrency exchanges.