Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange which is currently the largest exchange in the world in terms of daily trading volume of cryptocurrencies. It was founded in 2017 and is registered in the Cayman Islands.
Binance was founded by Changpeng Zhao, a developer who had previously created high frequency trading software. Binance was initially based in China, but later moved its headquarters out of China following the Chinese government’sincreasing regulation of cryptocurrency.
Binance is currently under investigation by both the United States Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service on allegations of money laundering and tax offenses. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority ordered Binance to stop all regulated activity in the United Kingdom in June 2021.HistoryExchange
CEO Changpeng Zhao had previously founded Fusion Systems in 2005 in Shanghai; the company built high-frequency trading systems for stockbrokers. In 2013, he joined Blockchain.info as the third member of the cryptocurrency wallet’s team. He also worked at OKCoin as CTO for less than a year, a platform for spot trading between fiat and digital assets.
The company was founded in China but moved its servers and headquarters out of China and into Japan in advance of the Chinese government ban on cryptocurrency trading in September 2017.
In January 2018 it was the largest cryptocurrency exchange with a market capitalization of $1.3 billion, a title it has retained as of April 2021, despite competition from Coinbase, among others.
In March 2018, Binance announced its intentions to open an office in Malta after stricter regulations in Japan and China. In April 2018, Binance signed aMemorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Bermuda. Months later, a similar memorandum was signed with the Malta Stock Exchange to develop a platform for trading security tokens. In 2019, company announced Binance Jersey, an independent entity from its parent Binance.com exchange, with the aim to expand its European influence. Jersey based exchange offers fiat-to-cryptocurrency pairs, including the Euro and the British pound.
In August 2018, Binance along with three other big exchanges raised $32 million for a stablecoin project. The idea of stable coins is to provide a cryptocurrency without the notorious volatility of Bitcoin and other popular digital assets.
In January 2019, Binance announced that it had partnered with Israel-based payment processor Simplex to enable cryptocurrency purchases with debit and credit cards, including Visa and Mastercard. The purchases are subject to Simplex’s local bank policies and are limited to Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple’s XRP.
On 7 May 2019, Binance revealed that it had been the victim of a “large scale security breach” in which hackers had stolen 7,000 Bitcoin worth around U.S.$40 million at the time. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said the hackers “used a variety of techniques, including phishing, viruses and other attacks” and structured their transaction “in a way that passed our existing security checks.” Binance halted further withdrawals and deposits but allowed trading to continue. The site pledged to reimburse customers through its “Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU)”. Withdrawals resumed by 19 May.
In September 2019, the exchange began offering perpetual futures contracts, allowing leverage as high as 125 times the value of the contracts. In November 2019, Binance acquired Indian bitcoin exchange WazirX.
On 21 February 2020, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) issued a public statement responding to media reports referring to Binance as a ‘Malta-based’ cryptocurrency company. The statement noted that Binance “is not authorized by the MFSA to operate in the cryptocurrency sphere and is therefore not subject to regulatory oversight by the MFSA.” The MFSA added that it was “assessing if Binance has any activities in Malta which may not fall within the realm of regulatory oversight.”
On 28 October 2020, Forbes staff released leaked documents alleging that Binance and Changpeng Zhao created an elaborate corporate structure designed to intentionally deceive United States regulators and secretly profit from cryptocurrency investors located in the country. Binance officially blocks access from IP addresses located in the United States, but “potential customers would be taught how to evade geographic restrictions”, Forbes claimed.
In May 2021 it was reported that Binance was under investigation by both the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Department of Justice on allegations of money laundering and tax offenses.Cryptocurrencies
Throughout its history, the company has launched two cryptocurrencies which it developed itself: Binance Coin (BNB), launched June 2017, and Binance Smart Chain (BSC), launched September 2020. Binance Smart Chain operates using “Proof of Staked Authority”, a combination of proof of stake and proof of authority. It currently has 21 approved validators. As of 2021, Binance Coin was the cryptocurrency with the third highest market capitalization. Binance allows its users to pay fees on its exchange with Binance Coin.
In April 2021 the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority in Germany warned that the company risked fines for offering its securities-tracking digital tokens without publishing an investor prospectus.Legal StatusUnited States
In 2019, Binance was banned in the United States on regulatory grounds. In response, Binance and other investors opened Binance.US, a separate exchange registered with the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and designed to comply with all applicable US laws. The US variant has been praised for offering a very similar interface and feature set to its worldwide counterpart. However, it is currently banned in seven states. In May 2021, Bloomberg News reported that Binance was under investigation by the United States Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service for money-laundering and tax evasion.United Kingdom
In June 2021, Binance was ordered by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority to stop all regulated activity in the United Kingdom. In January 2021, the FCA began requiring firms dealing with cryptocurrency to register in order to comply with anti-money laundering rules. As Binance is not compliant with these rules, it is being forced to cease operations within the coming weeks.Japan
On June 25, 2021, Japan’s Financial Services Agency warned Binance that it was not registered to do business in Japan. This was the second notice Binance received from the FSA. Previously, a similar warning was issued on March 23, 2018.Thailand