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Crypto firm Binance CEO responds to watchdogs

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Binance has faced heavy scrutiny from global regulators in recent months. BT FILE/THE STRAITS TIMES

Crypto firm Binance CEO responds to watchdogs

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is committed to working with regulators and putting in place systems to protect its users’ interests, its CEO and founder Zhao Changpeng said on July 7.

In a letter published on the firm’s website, he acknowledged the need for the development of formal guidelines to prevent misuse of cryptocurrencies globally.

“More regulations are, in fact, positive signs that an industry is maturing, because this sets the foundation for a broader population to feel safe to participate in crypto,” Zhao wrote.

“I believe a well-developed legal and regulatory framework in the long term will be a solid foundation that truly makes crypto essential in everyone’s daily life,” he said, adding that clarifying and building the first set of standards is critical for the industry’s continued growth.

The Cayman Islands-incorporated firm is growing its international compliance team to provide “high-level guidance” and has plans to double the team size by the end of the year, Zhao noted.

His statement came a day after Binance told users that it would temporarily suspend euro bank deposits from one of Europe’s key payments networks.

Customers would no longer be able to deposit funds through the Single Euro Payments Area schemes from Wednesday because of “events beyond our control”, Binance said in an email to them.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange has faced heavy scrutiny from global regulators in recent months. Notably, Britain’s financial watchdog has barred the company from carrying out regulated activities.

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a criminal complaint against Binance for operating a digital asset business without a licence. It had issued a warning to Binance about its activities in April.

The company has also been probed by various regulators and government agencies in Germany, Japan and the US.

In his letter, Zhao said the firm aims to continue its efforts in working with regulators to meet their concerns as the industry grows, noting that there is “still much to do to harmonise the treatment of cryptocurrency around the world”.

The firm has assisted in some 5,600 investigation requests this year from law enforcement agencies around the world to crack down on cybercrimes such as money laundering, scams and terrorist financing, he noted.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore told The Straits Times earlier this month that it was aware of the actions other regulatory authorities had taken against Binance, and that it would follow up as appropriate.

Binance’s Singapore arm, Binance Asia Services, is exempted from holding a licence under the Payment Services Act for the provision of digital payment token services while its licence application is being processed.

It launched in Singapore in 2019, and has not disclosed its number of active users or the estimated funds handled on its platform in the Southeast Asian country.

Total trading volumes across Binance’s platforms reached $662 billion last month, according to data provider CryptoCompare.

Binance’s own cryptocurrency, Binance Coin, is among the biggest in the world.

THE STRAITS TIMES (SINGAPORE)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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