Binance Sets Up Fiat-to-Crypto Payments Provider, Lends to FCA-Regulated Custodian

Bifinity supports 50 cryptocurrencies and major payment methods, including Visa and Mastercard.

AccessTimeIconMar 7, 2022 at 10:46 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 7, 2022 at 6:07 p.m. UTC

Jamie Crawley is a CoinDesk news reporter based in London.

Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world by trading volume, set up its own fiat-to-crypto payments provider, Bifinity, to help businesses become "crypto-ready," it said.

Bifinity, which was officially established last year and which was launched on Monday, supports 50 cryptocurrencies and all major payment methods, including Visa and Mastercard, Binance announced Monday.

Merchants will be able to use Bifinity's APIs (application programming interfaces) to "get their business crypto-ready," enabling them to accept payments in crypto.

Bifinity also entered into a partnership with publicly traded digital assets financial services firm Eqonex (EQOS), advancing a $36 million convertible loan. Eqonex is the parent of Digivault, which last year became the first crypto custody firm to win regulatory approval from the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

A convertible loan is one that can, under certain conditions, be converted into a stake in the borrower. The Binance unit also gains the right to appoint the CEO, chief financial officer and chief legal officer of Eqonex from within Bifinity.

The FCA has previously voiced concerns about Binance. On Monday, the the watchdog issued a statement regarding the alliance with a firm that it regulates.

"The FCA did not have powers to assess the fitness and propriety of the new beneficial owners or the change in control before the transaction was completed," the agency said.

"The FCA can take steps to suspend or cancel the registration of a crypto-asset business if it is not satisfied the firm or its beneficial owner is fit and proper," it said. "The FCA also has powers to suspend or cancel a firm’s crypto-asset registration on a number of grounds, including where a firm has not complied with obligations under the money laundering regulations."

It is unclear, however, whether the FCA plans to take further action. It declined to comment further when contacted by CoinDesk.

Binance also said it fully reopened euro and sterling transactions over the single euro payments area (SEPA) and U.K's Faster Payments Service networks as of 11:00 UTC. SEPA was halted last July and started to be reinstated in January.

"Binance retail users across Europe, with the exception of Netherlands and Switzerland, will be able to make EUR transfers directly via SEPA," the company said. "Support for corporate accounts is not available."

UPDATE (March 7, 12:45 UTC): Adds Bifinity headquarters, resumption of Sepa, Faster Payments.

UPDATE (March 7, 15:46 UTC): Adds Eqonex loan, alliance details, FCA statement.

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Jamie Crawley is a CoinDesk news reporter based in London.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Jamie Crawley is a CoinDesk news reporter based in London.