Caught in the midst of regulatory constraints in Asia, Binance is seeking a reboot in a friendlier jurisdiction. The world’s largest crypto-exchange has set its sights on Malta, looking to soon open a new office on the Mediterranean island.
After being in operation for just one year, the Hong Kong-based company quickly rose through the ranks to become the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by traded value. Launching a new office in Malta represents a different stroke entirely, as the group shifts its focus to Europe, per a Bloomberg report. Binance is hoping Maltese authorities are more open to the crypto field than Asian regulators.
Earlier today, the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) issued a warning to Binance for operating in the country without proper registration and licensure. The warning reflects the latest action in an effort to ramp up regulatory enforcement on cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, following the massive Coincheck hack.
The FSA specifically cited the fact that Binance had likely allowed residents of Japan to open trading accounts without appropriately confirming their identities. The warning explained that Binance would face criminal charges if the exchange continued to operate without a license.
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Binance’s brush with Japanese regulators is the latest episode of global authorities sharpening their teeth against cryptocurrencies. From Asia to America, regulators are adopting more concrete stances on digital currencies and their availability to the public.
A fresh start
Malta represents a new start entirely for Binance, which could see a fiat-to-crypto exchange in the near future. The country has been relatively muted in terms of its stance on crypto, which relative to Binance’s plights in Japan could be a blessing. For its part, Binance is close to working out a deal with Maltese banks to provide access to deposits and withdrawals – no timetable has yet been established on a new office though.
Malta’s stance towards other investment channels is well documented, including its openness to fintech. This stance was echoed by Binance’s CEO, Zhao Changpeng, who noted: “we are very confident we can announce a banking partnership there soon. Malta is very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech.”
Binance’s efforts to date appear to be off to a promising start. The exchange is hoping for the certification of its blockchain-based businesses and operations from the Malta Digital Innovation Authority. This also coincided with Zhao recently being extended an invitation by the Maltese government to review an upcoming bill favorable to crypto businesses.