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Cryptogambling / Binance withdraws crypto license application in Germany

Binance withdraws crypto license application in Germany

Publish Date: 27/07/2023
two gold bitcoins sitting next to a binance sign - Ethereum and Bitcoin next to the Binance logo, tags: license application - unsplash

two gold bitcoins sitting next to a binance sign – Ethereum and Bitcoin next to the Binance logo – unsplash

Binance has officially withdrawn its license application with Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).

“The situation, both in the global market and regulation, has changed significantly. Binance still intends to apply for appropriate licensing in Germany, but it is essential that our submission accurately reflects these changes,” said a Binance spokesperson in an email retrieved by CoinDesk.

Previously, Binance withdrew its registration in Cyprus and decided to exit the Netherlands. It has also been ordered to halt operations in Belgium.

Binance asked to cancel its registration as a crypto service provider in Cyprus to focus on complying with the European Union’s Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) legislation. It also left the Netherlands due to failed attempts to convince the Dutch regulator to grant a virtual asset service provider (VASP) license, which is related to anti-money laundering (AML) guidelines.

As for Belgium, the country’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) said that Binance violated regulations by offering exchange services between virtual currencies and legal currencies in the country and custody wallet services from outside the European Union.

Earlier this year, reports suggested that BaFin would likely reject Binance’s license application. However, Binance initially denied these reports and emphasized that discussions with officials were still in process.

In June, Binance’s CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao affirmed that despite a money laundering probe in France, the country would continue to serve as Binance’s primary hub in Europe.

Moreover, he mentioned that upcoming European Union laws scheduled for implementation in 2024 would permit crypto service providers to operate throughout the entire bloc using a single license.

Binance has assessed the European market and recognizes the importance of clear terms with regulators for successful establishment. Despite facing rejections and withdrawals, the company remains hopeful about expanding in Europe.

Regulatory pressures in U.S.

Since last month, Binance has been under immense pressure following a lawsuit from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The lawsuit, filed at a federal court in Washington, D.C., accuses Binance of operating a “web of deception.”

The suit includes 13 charges against Binance, Zhao, and its supposedly independent U.S. exchange operator. The SEC accuses Binance of artificially inflating its trading volumes, diverting customer funds, refusing to restrict U.S. customers from its platform and misleading investors about its market surveillance controls.

In addition, the SEC alleges that Binance and its founder secretly controlled customers’ assets, allowing Zhao to mix and redirect investor funds at his discretion.

The SEC also accused Binance of trying to evade U.S. federal securities laws by creating separate U.S. entities.

They alleged that Sigma Chain, owned and controlled by Zhao, engaged in wash trading on the Binance.US platform. This activity artificially inflated the trading volume of crypto asset securities. The SEC also mentioned that Sigma Chain had spent $11 million from an account on a yacht. In response, Binance denied all charges made by the regulator.

While Binance faces pressure in the U.S. and Europe, Coinbase is expanding its services in Germany. The platform has introduced eight new cryptocurrency assets for German residents after offering XRP in the country.

From July 25 onwards, Coinbase users in Germany can trade Arbitrum (ARB), Lido DAO (LDO), Blur (BLUR), Helium (HNT), MultiversX (EGLD), 00 Token (00), Audius (AUDIO) and Automata (ATA). These assets can be traded on Coinbase’s official website and mobile apps.

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