Binance chooses growth over regulatory transparency

Crypto exchange Binance may have been pursuing growth at the expense of regulatory compliance. A new investigation conducted by Reuters claims the company allegedly chose a model whereby it denied watchdogs’ requests for financial and corporate information.

Changpeng Zhao, Binance CEO, known as CZ in crypto circles, has long championed the exchange as an open and transparent entity. However, the latest findings point to a secretive culture that often prevented competent authorities from looking into essential matters of how business was run.

Reuters has cited former Binance senior employees and advisers who had access to internal correspondence and confidential messages. Many of those messages were between the company and regulators. Employees within the company have repeatedly flagged weak Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering (KYC/AML) practices but to no avail.

The media claimed that Binance’s chief executive had not acted on any recommendations to improve those. CZ responded issuing a stern rebuttal to the allegations levied at the company.

He commented: “We are focused on anti-money laundering, transparent and welcome regulation. Actions speak louder than words. Thank you for your unwavering support.” 

As Binance has pushed more aggressively to establish itself in new jurisdictions, the exchange has also faced pushback in established markets. The Financial Conduct Authority banned Binance in mid-2021, citing failure to meet AML requirements. Nevertheless, the exchange is still trying to re-enter.

Binance also decided to withdraw its crypto exchange from Singapore as the country overhauled its crypto regulation to a much more specific set of rules regarding who will and will not obtain a license. The exchange opted out of the process altogether. However, Binance will remain in Singapore as part of its bid to turn the country into a hub for crypto innovation.

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Updated: 01/25/2022 — 00:00