Binance Holdings, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, is considering severing its ties with U.S. business partners as various government agencies and regulators continue to investigate the company, according to a report from Bloomberg, citing a personal familiar with the issue.
Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao is looking to end relationships with U.S. banks and service firms, and is also re-evaluating its U.S. venture capital investments, according to Bloomberg’s source. Binance is also considering delisting tokens issued by U.S.-based projects, including Circle’s USDC stablecoin, Bloomberg wrote.
Shortly after the report was published on Friday, Zhao denied the exchange was considering delisting tokens attached to U.S.-based projects on Twitter, adding blockchain “has no borders.”
“We pulled back on some potential investments, or bids on bankrupt companies in the U.S. for now. Seek permission first,” Zhao said in another tweet.
The New York Department of Financial Services earlier this week took action against Binance-branded stablecoin Binance BUSD, which is issued by Paxos, and Binance has also been scrutinized for its transactions with crypto bank Silvergate. The crypto exchange has been investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service.
U.S. regulators have been taking heavy enforcement action against crypto players in the last couple of weeks, leaving Binance bracing itself for SEC fines after crypto exchange Kraken was forced to shut down its staking service in the U.S. and pay a $30 million fine.
Binance’s U.S. customers are serviced by Binance.US, which claims to operate completely independently and says it has no plans to leave the U.S., according to Bloomberg.
Earlier this month, Binance said it was temporarily suspending U.S. dollar bank transfers by its customers.
“Like every other blockchain company, we are conducting a careful cost-benefit analysis and will pivot our business as necessary to protect our global user base,” a Binance spokesman said in an email to CoinDesk.
UPDATE (Feb. 17 16:00 UTC): Adds additional detail.
UPDATE (Feb. 17 16:18 UTC): Adds additional background.
UPDATE (Feb. 17 16:42 UTC): Adds Changpeng Zhao’s comments on Twitter in third and fourth paragraphs.
UPDATE (Feb. 17 16:50 UTC): Adds comment from Binance in last paragraph.
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