- Binance plans to launch its UK arm in the next six to 18 months, CEO Changpeng Zhao told The Telegraph.
- The crypto exchange has hired an army of compliance officers and ex-employees of the UK’s FCA.
- In June, the FCA banned Binance from operating any regulated activity in the country without written consent.
Crypto exchange Binance is reviving its plan to set up a UK arm, after making efforts to win over the financial regulator that clamped down on its operations there.
It plans to file for a license from Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority, and to become a registered crypto asset firm in six to 18 months, its CEO Changpeng Zhao told The Telegraph in an interview published Saturday.
Since clashing with the FCA in June, Binance has established a UK office with a number of local ex-regulatory staff and a “couple of hundred compliance people,” Zhao said, according to the Telegraph.
“We’re fully re-engaged there,” Zhao said. “We’re making a number of very substantial changes in organizational structures, product offerings, our internal processes, and the way we work with regulators.”
He added that Binance’s relations with the FCA have improved since the financial watchdog banned its London-based affiliate from conducting regulated activity without official written consent.
“We want to continue to establish a presence in the UK and serve UK users in a fully licensed and fully compliant manner,” Zhao, nicknamed “CZ,” told the Telegraph.
Three months after the June block, the FCA complained that Binance had failed to supply information about its business model and wider product offerings, and said the crypto exchange wasn’t capable of being effectively supervised.
Binance planned to apply for an FCA license earlier in 2021, but withdrew its application in mid-May after failing to comply with the regulator’s money-laundering requirements.
One move that could help cement its UK launch at the earlier end of its 6-18 month timeframe would be to set up a distinct company there, similar to the US exchange it launched in 2019 called Binance.US.
Binance, founded in 2017, has no formal address or head office. While it was set up in China and registered in the Cayman Islands, the exchange mostly has a digital presence — something that authorities haven’t let slide.
This year, Binance faced multiple warnings and was banned from operating in some jurisdictions due to its failure to register with local regulators. Aside from the UK, it has faced heat from Canada, Japan, Germany, Thailand, Italy, and the Cayman Islands, among others.
After running into regulatory trouble, Zhao pledged to double the size of Binance’s global compliance team with an aim to bring on “qualified and experienced advisors.”
“Our team has definitely had very positive interactions with the FCA since then, we requested in-person meetings as soon as we saw that notice,” Zhao said. “So that communication is definitely happening.”
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