Binance plans to relaunch in the UK in the next 18 months

Relations between Binance and the FCA have improved

Binance logo on a laptop screen with a stack of bitcoin in the foreground                                 
– Photo: Alamy
                                

Binance, currently the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, is planning to relaunch in the UK in the next six to 18 months.

This is following the UK’s watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), telling Binance Markets Limited (BML) to cease all regulated activities in the country in June this year.

At the time, the FCA pointed out that while it did not regulate cryptoassets like bitcoin or ethereum, it did regulate certain cryptoasset derivatives, such as futures contracts, contracts for difference and options, as well as those cryptoassets they would consider “securities”.

Binance and FCA relationship improving

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao told The Daily Telegraph on 4 December that the company plans to apply for an FCA licence in the UK, as relations between Binance and the UK regulator have improved since the watchdog’s instructions back in June.

Zhao said: “We’re fully re-engaged there. We’re making several very substantial changes in organisational structures, product offerings, our internal processes, and the way we work with regulators.

“We want to continue to establish a presence in the UK and serve UK users in a fully licenced and fully compliant manner.”

Binance has hired several “ex-regulatory staff from the UK”

In response to the FCA instructing Binance to cease all activity in the UK, the crypto exchange has hired a “number of ex-regulatory staff from the UK” as well as “[a] couple of hundred compliance people”.

In October, Binance hired the former head of international relations at the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), Mark McGinness, as its chief regulatory liaison officer.

This was part of its commitment to lead the industry in working more closely with regulators and its plan to provide a path for the crypto exchange to become a financial institution.

Since 2020, Binance has grown its international compliance team and advisory board by 500%.

In order to become a registered crypto asset company in the UK, Binance needs to abide by stringent anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures.

To meet these requirements, Zhao indicated that the company was considering establishing a UK-based organisation, which would hold comparisons to Binance.US, the stateside arm of Binance.

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