The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), the country’s top regulatory body has released a statement saying the cryptocurrency exchange behemoth Binance is not authorized to operate within its jurisdiction.
Binance Not Licensed By Malta’s Regulatory Agency
According to a statement from the MFSA released on Friday (February 21, 2020), crypto exchange giant Binance is not a licensed business regulated to operate within Malta’s jurisdiction. The country’s financial watchdog also claims that the crypto exchange has never been issued regulatory approval.
The quote from the MFSA is geared towards the recent media reports referring to Binance as a “Malta-based cryptocurrency firm”. A quick statement from the recent report reads:
“Following a report in a section of the media referring to Binance as a ‘Malta-based cryptocurrency’ company, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) reiterates 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.”
According to the MFSA, crypto businesses operating within Malta must be licensed in accordance with the Virtual Financial Assets Act of 2018. As Binance is not, the crypto exchange does not fall under the regulatory purview of the country’s financial service, per the MFSA’s statement.
Previously, Binance reportedly operated out of Japan. After receiving a warning from the country’s regulators back in 2018, the crypto exchange announced it was considering moving its operations to Malta. In March 2018, CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao was quoted saying:
“Malta is very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech. We think it is a good place for other crypto businesses to look into as well.”
Zhao also claimed he was invited by Malta’s government to consult on an upcoming crypto bill.
The statement from the MFSA comes at a time when Binance is experiencing technical difficulties on its crypto exchange platform. On Wednesday (February 19, 2020) the firm suspended a bulk of its trading activities due to unscheduled maintenance.
Where Exactly is Binance Located?
Back in 2019, Chinese authorities reportedly raided and shut down Binance offices operating out of Shanghai. The crypto exchange giant released a statement denying the existence of fixed offices in the region. An excerpt from the statement reads:
“The Binance team is a global movement consisting of people working in a decentralized manner wherever they are in the world so it makes no sense that police raided on any offices and shut them down.”
Zhao has also previously described the utilization of physical offices as an outdated concept. In November 2019, he posted a tweet comparing centralized offices and headquarters to SMS and MMS technology.
Recent Binance Developments
Recently, there has been further developments on the matter with the Binance CEO stating that they have always complied with local laws based on where their offices are at.
Although, multiple people in the crypto space, including some of the news agencies, are starting to notice that Binance has never clearly and fully stated where their head quarters are located. Most recently, the company has even removed some sections about Malta in their documentation and compliance.
In addition, Zycrypto recently pointed out that Binance’s chief growth officer, Ted Lin, even posted that the comments about Malta being a headquarters for Binance was more of a spiritual expression. Apparently, when people think about Binance, now they also think of Malta as he puts it. It will be a rough break up in that case.