Founded in 2017 by “CZ” Changpeng Zhao, Binance is one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume.
According to the white paper, Zhao’s goal for Binance was to compete with other exchanges by offering solutions to the numerous problems he saw with the cryptocurrency trading infrastructure – including poor technical architecture, insecure platforms, poor market liquidity, poor customer support and poor language support.
In May 2019, hackers stole over 7,000 bitcoin (BTC) from Binance (the equivalent of roughly $41 million at the time). Zhao quickly took to social media to reassure users that no one lost funds and that Binance used its reserve funds to cover the costs of the stolen crypto. CZ’s “Funds are #safu” tweet has become something of a meme in the crypto space.
Binance has secured several notable partnerships, including a 2018 memorandum of understanding with Malta to launch an office and a fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange. Binance’s physical location remains a point of contention. Technically the firm is headquartered in Malta, though the island European nation said in Feburary 2020 that Binance was not under its jurisdiction. Since then Binance has not said just where, exactly, it is headquartered.
Binance licensee Binance US was established in late 2019 to serve American crypto traders.
In April 2020, the exchange made one of the splashiest acquisitions of the year when it bought CoinMarketCap, the storied (if somewhat flawed) cryptocurrency data provider, for a rumored $400 million.