Binance CEO Chanpeng Zhao was called on to provide answers on Friday after the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) issued a statement making clear that the leading cryptocurrency exchange is not authorised to operate in the local cryptocurrency sphere and is not subject to its regulatory oversight. The government statement was meant to clarify the company's status after Bloomberg News described Binance as being "Malta-based" in a recent article.
MAlta Binance statement. Screen capture from MFSA website
Several crypto news sites reported the statement as "Breaking News," but Zhou asserted on twitter that those publications were spreading FUD; that there was nothing new about the regulatory status, and that Binance is not headquartered in Malta, but rather is a "decentralized company."
There is a mix of truth, FUD & misconception. https://t.co/9rMMAmc1G9 is not headquartered or operated in Malta. This is old news & has always been the case, hence there is quite a bit of FUD turning this into a breaking story. The community’s comments show that understanding. https://t.co/eXCq8rO1Ue— CZ Binance 🔶🔶🔶 (@cz_binance) February 21, 2020
Speaking to BLOCKTV on Wednesday, while physically on the Island Zhao, known in the industry as CZ, said similar things. He noted that he was conducting the video interview from a public space and said that Binance has a "small team here." He also described Binance's decentralized structure.
The question of Binance's geographic location has created similar controversy before. In November, The Block, a New York-based Crypto industry website, reported that a Binance office in Shanghai had been raided by police with staff members forced to relocate.
The story created a storm on Crypto Twitter and then too CZ dismissed the report as FUD. He said that there hadn't been an office in the Chinese city in two years and suggested publications had been paid by Binance's competitors to sully its reputation. He even suggested to launch a "FUD-fighting fund" to protect against such action.
In a sperate exchange with BLOCKTV's Yael Lavie on Wednesday, CZ said the idea never came to fruition.
The notion that Binanace was headquartered or at least had a significant presence in Malta was not far fetched. As another Binance official said in an interview to Decrypt: “We have offices in Malta for customer services, and some compliance people there, but it’s not the headquarters per say. It’s the spiritual headquarters.”
“It’s a name that people think about when they think about Binance,” Ted Lin, Binance’s chief growth officer, was quoted as saying.
Last week, Decrypt Published a report saying the Binance's headquarters was actually in the Cayman Islands, where it was registered in 2017.
CLICK HERE for the full 45-Minute interview with CZ in which he speaks about a range of topics, including: the Binance Cloud, the price of Bitcoin and the prospects of Central Bank Digital Currencies hitting the market.