Where is Binance located? | cryptoglobe

Binance, one of the top cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, has made several changes over the years, to the point where many wonder where Binance is. The exchange, which was valued at more than $4.5 billion according to a recent estimate, began operations in Shanghai.

The exchange has grown from simply trading crypto assets to employing its own research team, launching a network in the form of Binance Chain (formerly Binance Smart Chain) and promoting a number of innovations in the field of cryptography.

The Story of Founder Changpeng Zhao

While Binance, in its current iteration, was founded in 2017, the history of exchange founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao’s involvement in cryptocurrencies is older. Zhao originally founded Fusion Systems in Shanghai in 2005, a company that built high-frequency trading systems for stockbrokers.

His work in finance and his interest in the emerging field of cryptocurrencies led him to join Blockchain.info – now Blockchain.com – in 2013. Zhao was the third member of the team. Zhao also got involved with cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin, serving as the company’s chief technology officer for less than a year.

A 2018 Fortune profile claims that Zhao went “all in” on Bitcoin in 2014, selling his Shanghai home to pursue the development of his own cryptocurrency company. Zhao’s original intention was to create a “purely digital asset exchange that would not touch fiat currencies”. He wanted to cut ties with existing financial institutions to get around the risks and regulatory complications that plagued other exchanges.

Binance on the go

Taking advantage of the ICO boom in 2017, Zhao managed to raise $15 million from the sale of 200 million Binance tokens. In addition to the BTC price increase, Zhao used the funds to promote the exchange.

However, Binance’s launch was partially hampered by the Chinese government’s impending crackdown on cryptocurrencies. Zhao’s business, which was not linked to any country due to lack of reliance on banks, managed to detach itself from Shanghai and move to Japan.

The move came just a week before China announced a ban on cryptocurrency trading. Zhao was able to move all of Binance’s servers out of China, in addition to the company’s core team. In January 2018, just a few months after the ban, Binance was named the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange with a market capitalization of $1.3 billion. Despite fierce competition from other exchanges, including US-based Coinbase, Binance has managed to maintain its top spot for over four years.

In March 2018, as cryptocurrency markets entered a precipitous decline, Binance announced plans to open an office in Malta and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Malta Stock Exchange to develop a cryptocurrency exchange platform. safety. The change came in response to stricter cryptocurrency regulations from Japan and China. The company also signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Bermuda to operate a cryptocurrency exchange.

Around the same time, Binance announced the creation of Binance Jersey, a Europe-based company that would be a fully independent entity from parent company Binance.com. The purpose of the move was to expand Binance’s European influence and offer cryptocurrency trading pairs including Euro and Pound Sterling.

Despite signing a memorandum of understanding with Malta, the country’s Financial Services Authority (MFSA) declined media reports referring to Binance as a “Malta-based” company. The regulator announced in February 2020 that Binance “has not been authorized by the MFSA to operate in the cryptocurrency space and is therefore not subject to MFSA regulatory oversight.”

Where is the exchange?

The darkness around Binance’s official headquarters drew even more attention a few months later. At ConsenSys’ Ethereal Summit in May 2020, Laura Shin asked Changpeng Zhao where her company’s headquarters are.

According to a report by CoinDesk, Zhao blushed at the question, before stuttering:

Well, I think that’s the beauty of blockchain, okay, so you don’t have to… like where the Bitcoin office is, because Bitcoin doesn’t have an office.

Zhao went on to say that Binance has multiple offices with employees located in 50 countries. He called the business a new kind of organization, without the need for a registered bank or postal address. He likened exchange to the difference between a horse and a cart, although both are means of transport, and summed it up,

“Wherever I am sitting will be the Binance office. Wherever I need someone, it will be at the Binance office.

Shin took the matter further, leading Zhao to say that he was not trying to “mask” or “hide” the company’s location, and that Binance was “in the open.”

Cayman Islands

Although it claims to be based in Malta, reports began to surface that Binance was actually located in the Cayman Islands. A Financial Times report said the exchange had transferred its trade registration to the Cayman Islands.

A corporate link document that was later confirmed by Decrypt showed that the company registered Binance Holdings Limited in George Town, Cayman Islands in 2017. The company used the address to register various marks of the Binance name and logo in March 2018, strengthening their ties to the country.

Ted Lin, director of growth at Binance, told Decrypt at the time that Malta served as a “spiritual headquarters” for the company, saying:

We have offices in Malta for customer service and compliance officers, but this is not the actual headquarters. It is the spiritual seat. It’s a name people think of when they think of Binance.

Binance has not commented on claims that the company was operating a “shadow” business, as revealed by 2018 financial records that did not contain transactions, exchanges and taxes paid.

Adding to the confusion, a report by The Block claimed that Binance may never have actually left China. Binance’s Shanghai office, which had some of the exchange’s top executives, including Zhao, and more than 50 employees, abruptly closed in late 2019 after an investigation by the Shanghai government. Sources told The Block that the closure came after local officials visited the office.

Contacted about the shutdown, a Binance spokesperson said the company had no “fixed office in Shanghai” or “entities in China” and that most employees were “working remotely in China”.

Another move on the horizon?

As it gradually became more accepted that Binance operated in the Cayman Islands, the country’s financial regulator weighed in on the situation. In an announcement made in July 2021, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) said the company was not licensed to operate in the country.

The statement said:

“Binance Group and Binance Holdings Limited are not registered, licensed, regulated or otherwise permitted by the Authority to operate any cryptocurrency exchange from or within the Cayman Islands.”

CIMA went on to say that Binance was not subject to its regulatory oversight and was investigating whether the company was under its jurisdiction.

As of May 2022, Binance’s headquarters are still listed as the Cayman Islands. However, the company appears to be gearing up for another move. According to a Fortune profile of Changpeng Zhao in March 2022, Binance’s CEO stated that he had told regulators that the company would announce an actual headquarters “very soon”.

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Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed by the author, or anyone mentioned in this article, are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment or other advice. Investing in or trading crypto assets involves the risk of financial loss.

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