Heightened global scrutiny of the fast-growing crypto industry lead to a surprise announcement.
The company is currently undergoing a major transformation as it moves towards becoming a regulated financial entity. The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange has already applied for licenses in multiple jurisdictions and is looking to establish headquarters around the world. The company also announced plans to speed up its hiring of compliance experts worldwide with the aim of doubling its team by year-end.
Although Zhao clarified that there is no timeline for his succession and that he will not be stepping down immediately, he commented:
We are looking for someone with a strong regulatory background to step in and be CEO. I’ll always contribute to Binance and the BNB [Binance coin] ecosystem… [but] I don’t have to be CEO to do that.”
As of late, the company has come under intense regulatory scrutiny, facing an investigation from the U.S. Justice Department, Internal Revenue Services as well as a ban from the U.K’s financial regulator on the suspicion of money laundering. Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission also filed a criminal complaint last month while the Cayman Island’s financial regular said Binance wasn’t authorized to operate in the territory.
Despite these claims Zhao maintains that the company is committed to upholding regulations saying:
“Longer term, playing within the rules, 100% compliant, it’s much better to play within the confines of that. That trade-off is very, very clear.”
Speaking to Fortune, Justin d’Anethan the Head of Exchange Sales at EQONEX addressed Binance’s strategy shift saying that it is “definitely telling that greater compliance with trading regulation is becoming the norm. We’ve seen similar moves from other trading venues such as Bitmex, Huobi and OKEx to enable more stringent [know your customer] requirements, deeper on-chain analysis for transfers and working with local regulators.”
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