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The World's Biggest Crypto Exchange Still Lacks U.S. Footing


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Binance.com owner Changpeng Zhao.

Changpeng Zhao, above, created Binance.US in 2019 as a first step to appease U.S. regulators unwilling to let American customers trade on Binance.com.

Credit: Ore Huiying/The New York Times

The quest for legitimacy in the U.S. is leading Binance.com, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, to pursue an initial public offering of its American unit. But for a company founded on secrecy — as cryptocurrency firms typically are — the going could be slow and fitful.

This month, Brian Brooks, the chief executive of Binance.US, left the company after just three months on the job, citing "strategic differences." Changpeng Zhao, the Chinese Canadian billionaire who owns Binance.com, had hired Mr. Brooks, a former regulator, to help the company gain a U.S. footing. Mr. Brooks left after a venture capital investment he was trying to put together for Binance.US fell through. The deal would have been the first step to a potential I.P.O., but some investors balked at the amount of control Mr. Zhao would retain over Binance.US.

Companies that deal in digital money are trying to grow up. Often started by lone programmers lugging laptops across the globe, many cryptocurrency firms are restructuring themselves into more traditional entities that have boards of directors and audited financial reports. Some are gunning for a bigger presence in the U.S., a lucrative market where hordes of customers are already flocking to their platforms — just as wary regulators have started paying close attention.

From The New York Times
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