Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said the world's largest crypto exchange wants to work with regulators to be 'licensed everywhere'

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Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said the world's largest crypto exchange wants to work with regulators to be 'licensed everywhere'
Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
  • Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said his firm will cooperate with global regulators and will create regional headquarters.
  • The exchange has long touted its decentralized operations and has not listed any headquarters.
  • "We need to be a licensed financial institution everywhere that we operate," Zhao said. "We've taken a very strong pivot now."

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao on Tuesday expressed his intention to cooperate with global regulators after a string of clampdowns against the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by authorities across the globe.

"We need to be a licensed financial institution everywhere that we operate," Zhao said during a press conference attended by journalists on Tuesday.

If regulators expect Binance to have a headquarters, then Binance will establish regional headquarters around the world, the CEO said. This will give regulators a "very easy to understand structure," Zhao added.

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The executive clarified that his exchange has not decided on specific locations yet.

"We've taken a very strong pivot now," Zhao said. "So for the last four years, we are a technology startup. From now on we're going to be a financial institution ... I think that mindset is a very strong shift."

Binance, which was founded in 2017, has long touted its decentralized operations, hence its absence of a headquarters. While it was founded in China and officially domiciled in the Cayman Islands, the firm seems to be most present in its digital space, something regulators have taken issue with.

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In the past months, Binance has been slapped with multiple warnings, and in some jurisdictions, has been banned from operating due to its failure to register with local regulators.

The company has faced scrutiny from the UK, Canada, Japan, Germany, Thailand, Italy, and the Cayman Islands.

In the US, Binance is under investigation as part of a wider effort to deal with illicit activity that's thrived in the mostly unregulated market.

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Zhao said his firm will be "fully compliant" to protect its users and the cryptocurrency industry.

"Our goal is to help increase the freedom of money all around the world without sacrificing security and compliance," Zhao said. "We want to be fully compliant, we want to be fully secure, and we want to protect our users and at the same time we want to move our industry forward."

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