Binance, the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, has stopped offering futures and derivatives products across Europe, starting with Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. When the move was announced, it was said that “proactive steps” would be taken to harmonize the crypto regulations. The move meant that Binance users from those countries would be banned from opening new accounts for futures or derivatives products. But why exactly did it take such a drastic step in an important growth market? And why is it under strong regulatory pressure and controls around the world?
Some countries have banned it and others have restricted its operation. Many others have warned it to cease its “illegal” operations on their territory. Even in India, Binance-owned WazirX is under the radar of the Enforcement Directorate for alleged money laundering. The ED is investigating allegations that China-powered betting apps have laundered some of the funds through WazirX. However, the Indian stock exchange said it complies with all applicable laws.
In addition, leading banking institutions and payment processors in the UK have started limiting transfers to and from Binance because of “excessive fraud rates”. The company is also said to be preparing to lower the daily withdrawal limits from two bitcoin to 0.06 BTC this month. Despite recent efforts to appease regulators, Binance has been forced to stop trading and supporting stock tokens like Tesla and Coinbase.
Earlier this year, the Thai SEC filed a criminal complaint against Binance, while the Cayman Islands said the exchange would not be allowed to conduct operations there. And the last to hoist a red flag over its operations is the Dutch central bank, which said the company violated anti-money laundering and terrorist financing laws. Binance is also under scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service.
There are also some questions about finance. For example, it is not clear where the company is based. Its corporate structure is also puzzled, although it is led by a Canadian named Changpeng Zhao, simply known as “CZ”. A Binance spokesperson said the company is “decentralized” and “works with a number of regulated companies around the world”.