|Global, except for the United States|
|Changpeng Zhao (CEO)|
|Products||Cryptocurrency exchange, cryptocurrencies|
Binance is a Cayman Islands-domiciled cryptocurrency exchange that provides a platform for trading various cryptocurrencies founded in 2017. As of April 2021, Binance was the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world in terms of trading volume.
Binance was founded by Changpeng Zhao, commonly known as "CZ", a developer who had previously created high frequency trading software. Binance was initially based in China, but later moved its headquarters out of China due to China's increasing regulation of cryptocurrency.
CEO Changpeng Zhao had previously founded Fusion Systems in 2005 in Shanghai; the company built high-frequency trading systems for stockbrokers. In 2013, he joined Blockchain.info as the third member of the cryptocurrency wallet's team. He also worked at OKCoin as CTO for less than a year, a platform for spot trading between fiat and digital assets.
The company was founded in China but moved its servers and headquarters out of China and into Japan in advance of the Chinese government ban on cryptocurrency trading in September 2017. By March 2018 the company had moved once again, this time to Taiwan.
In January 2018 it was the largest cryptocurrency exchange with a market capitalization of $1.3 billion, a title it has retained as of April 2021, despite competition from Coinbase, among others.
In March 2018, Binance announced its intentions to open an office in Malta after stricter regulations in Japan and China. In April 2018, Binance signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Bermuda. Months later, a similar memorandum was signed with the Malta Stock Exchange to develop a platform for trading security tokens. In 2019, company announced Binance Jersey, an independent entity from its parent Binance.com exchange, with the aim to expand its European influence. Jersey based exchange offers fiat-to-cryptocurrency pairs, including the Euro and the British pound.
In August 2018, Binance along with three other big exchanges raised $32 million for a stable coin project. The idea of stable coins is to provide a cryptocurrency without the notorious volatility of Bitcoin and other popular digital assets.
In January 2019, Binance announced that it had partnered with Israel-based payment processor Simplex to enable cryptocurrency purchases with debit and credit cards, including Visa and Mastercard. The purchases are subject to Simplex’s local bank policies and are limited to Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple’s XRP.
On 7 May 2019, Binance revealed that it had been the victim of a “large scale security breach” in which hackers had stolen 7,000 Bitcoin worth around U.S.$40 million at the time. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said the hackers “used a variety of techniques, including phishing, viruses and other attacks” and structured their transaction “in a way that passed our existing security checks.” Binance halted further withdrawals and deposits but allowed trading to continue. The site pledged to reimburse customers through its "Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU)". Withdrawals resumed by 19 May.
In September 2019, the exchange began offering perpetual futures contracts, allowing leverage as high as 125 times the value of the contracts. In November 2019, Binance acquired Indian bitcoin exchange WazirX.
On 21 February 2020, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) issued a public statement responding to media reports referring to Binance as a 'Malta-based' cryptocurrency company. The statement noted that Binance "is not authorized by the MFSA to operate in the cryptocurrency sphere and is therefore not subject to regulatory oversight by the MFSA." The MFSA added that it was "assessing if Binance has any activities in Malta which may not fall within the realm of regulatory oversight."
When questioned about his frequently moving the headquarters of Binance, CZ stated that "[a] HQ [is an] old concept like SMS and MMS."
On 28 October 2020, Forbes staff released leaked documents alleging that Binance and Changpeng Zhao created an elaborate corporate structure designed to intentionally deceive United States regulators and secretly profit from cryptocurrency investors located in the country. Binance officially blocks access from IP addresses located in the United States, but "potential customers would be taught how to evade geographic restrictions", Forbes claimed.
In May 2021 it was reported that Binance was under investigation by both the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Department of Justice on claims of money laundering and tax offenses.
Throughout its history, the company has launched two cryptocurrencies which it developed itself: Binance Coin (BNB), launched June 2017, and Binance Smart Chain (BSC), launched September 2020. As of 2021, Binance Coin was the cryptocurrency with the third highest market capitalization. Binance allows its users to pay fees on its exchange with Binance Coin, and uses its profits to buy back and destroy Binance Coin tokens; thus, in theory, increasing the value of the undestroyed coins by restricting their supply.
In April 2021 the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority in Germany warned that the company risked fines for offering its securities-tracking digital tokens without publishing an investor prospectus.
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