Binance's US Partner Confirms Role of Trading Platform in Operating CEO Zhao's Firm

The global Binance exchange is not licensed to operate in the United States but Reuters reported that the firm controlled the finances of Binance.US.

Binance's US Partner Confirms Role of Trading Platform in Operating CEO Zhao's Firm

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Activities of crypto platforms' market makers have come under scrutiny from US financial regulators

  • Binance reportedly transferred over $400 million from the account to firm
  • Regulators are concerned market makers have received special treatment
  • The bankruptcy in 2022 of a string of major crypto firms has stoked calls

The US partner of global cryptocurrency exchange Binance has confirmed that a trading firm managed by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao operated as a market maker on its platform.

Reuters reported on Thursday that Binance had secret access to a bank account belonging to its purportedly independent US partner and transferred large sums of money from the account to the trading firm, Merit Peak.

"While there was a market making firm named Merit Peak that operated on the Binance.US platform, it stopped all activity on the platform in 2021," Binance.US said in a tweet on Thursday after the Reuters story was published. It did not elaborate on when in 2021 the activity ceased, or comment on Zhao's role at the trading firm.

The global Binance exchange is not licensed to operate in the United States but the transfers to Merit Peak revealed by Reuters suggest that Binance controlled the finances of Binance.US, despite saying publicly that the American entity is "fully independent" and operates as its "US partner."

Binance transferred over $400 million (nearly Rs. 3,310 crore) from the account at California-based Silvergate Bank to Merit Peak between January and March 2021, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Before that story's publication, Binance.US had told Reuters that "Merit Peak is neither trading nor providing any kind of services on the Binance.US platform," without giving further details.

Binance.US's executives were concerned by the outflows from the Silvergate account to Merit Peak because the transfers were taking place without their knowledge, according to the messages reviewed by Reuters.

A spokesperson for the global Binance exchange, which did not respond to Reuters' questions for the article on Thursday, told crypto news outlet CoinDesk that the transfers were "a Binance.US issue."

The activities of crypto platforms' market makers — firms that typically buy and sell assets at exchanges to deepen trading volumes — have come under growing scrutiny from US financial regulators since the collapse of major exchange FTX in November.

'Tremendous Burden'

Zhao has not directly addressed the report, but on Friday he tweeted, "Remember 4," tagging a previous post in which he listed his "Do's and Don'ts" for 2023. The fourth item on the list was "Ignore FUD, fake news, attacks," using an acronym for "fear, uncertainty and doubt" often used in crypto in relation to news perceived as negative.

The day before Reuters' article, Binance's chief strategy officer, Patrick Hillmann, told the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg that Binance expected to pay penalties to resolve US investigations into the company. Hillmann said Binance had been built by software engineers unfamiliar with laws and rules on bribery and corruption, money laundering and economic sanctions, but earlier "gaps" in its regulatory compliance had since been closed.

"It's a tremendous burden," Hillmann told Bloomberg. "We just want to put it behind us."

Hillmann did not respond to detailed questions Reuters sent him for the article that was published on Thursday.

Regulators are concerned that some market makers have received undisclosed special treatment from crypto exchanges that may disadvantage customers.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission accused FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried in December of granting “special privileges” to his trading firm Alameda Research, allowing him to siphon off billions of dollars in FTX customer money. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty.

The bankruptcy in 2022 of a string of major crypto firms has also stoked calls from politicians for greater clarity on how regulators assess ties between US banking and the cryptocurrency sector.

In December, US Senators Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote to top financial regulators including US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, asking about their assessment of the risks to banks and the banking system stemming from exposure to crypto. The letter cited Silvergate Capital Corp as among the banks that "relied heavily on their crypto customers."

Shares in Silvergate Capital Corp, Silvergate Bank's parent company, fell sharply on the Reuters report, closing down over 22 percent. They have lost nearly 90 percent of their value since hitting an all-time high in November 2021.

© Thomson Reuters 2023


Will crypto tax hurt the industry in India? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
Affiliate links may be automatically generated - see our ethics statement for details.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on X, Facebook, WhatsApp, Threads and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you want to know everything about top influencers, follow our in-house Who'sThat360 on Instagram and YouTube.

Redmi 12C Launch Date, Design Renders, Specifications Tipped Ahead of Global Debut
Elon Musk's SpaceX Faces $175,000 Fine for Failing to Submit Starlink Safety Data
Share on Facebook Gadgets360 Twitter Share Tweet Snapchat Share Reddit Comment google-newsGoogle News


Follow Us
© Copyright Red Pixels Ventures Limited 2024. All rights reserved.
Trending Products »
Latest Tech News »