(Bloomberg) -- The head of Commodity Futures Trading Commission admonished Binance Holdings Ltd over its compliance with US rules after the derivatives regulator sued the crypto exchange and its chief executive last month for a litany of alleged violations.

“These are not unsophisticated individuals,” CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam said Thursday at an event hosted by Princeton University. “They are starting large companies and offering futures contracts and derivatives to US customers.” 

In one of the most significant moves by Washington to crack down on a crypto firm, the CFTC last month accused Binance of “sham” compliance with US derivatives regulations, including failing to keep Americans off its exchange as promised and not registering with the regulator. Binance, which has said it was disappointed by the suit and would continue to work with the regulator, isn’t supposed to have Americans trading on its global exchange under the regulator’s rules.

On Thursday, Behnam said that the operator of the world’s biggest crypto exchange had intentionally broken CFTC rules. If you are going to offer futures contracts in the US, there is a clear understanding that you are registered with the CFTC and comply by the law, he added.

The CFTC is just one of several US bodies that have been investigating Binance’s activities. The Internal Revenue Service, as well as federal prosecutors, have been examining Binance’s compliance with anti-money laundering obligations, Bloomberg News has reported. The Securities and Exchange Commission has been scrutinizing whether the exchange has supported the trading of unregistered securities.

Behnam also reiterated that the second-largest cryptocurrency, Ether, as well as stablecoins are commodities. Although US regulators generally agree that Bitcoin, the biggest token, is a commodity, there’s more ambiguity around which other virtual coins should be considered securities under American law and face the SEC’s tough investor-protection rules.

The SEC has taken a range of actions against major crypto firms, including a $30 million settlement with the exchange known as Kraken over its staking program. 

Staking is a crypto offering that lets users generate yields in return for allowing their tokens to be used to facilitate transactions on a blockchain. For his part, SEC Chair Gary Gensler has said that the case should put the industry on notice and has said that a range of digital assets resemble unregistered securities. 

--With assistance from Allyson Versprille.

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