Binance is on a hiring spree to add compliance teams as the company faces US regulatory scrutiny over money laundering and tax evasion.
Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, chief executive officer of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, said his No. 1 priority is to hire people with compliance and regulatory experience. The company is also seeking regular meetings with US officials.
“I’m spending almost all my time” on the compliance drive, Zhao said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “I’m not really involved in the day-to-day operations of the exchange.”
Regulators around the world are taking a harder look at the freewheeling crypto industry, which boomed as Bitcoin prices soared to record highs this year. US officials have long been concerned that criminals are using crypto exchanges to conceal transactions linked to everything from drug trafficking to ransomeware cyberattacks. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 35.32 lakhs as of 10am IST on August 18.
The Justice Department has opened an inquiry into the Binance operations and US officials have expressed concerns that cryptocurrencies are being used to conceal illegal transactions, including theft and drug deals. Numerous countries have also announced probes and demanded that Binance affiliates cease operations within their borders.
On pending crypto rules in the US, Zhao added that he’s “fairly confident” that Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler will “do the right thing.”
“Gary is one of the most knowledgeable people in the regulatory space about crypto,” Zhao said.
– With assistance from Justina Lee, Joanna Ossinger, and Francine Lacqua.
© 2021 Bloomberg LP