Binance, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges globally, recently released a statement regarding its resolution of investigations conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and other regulatory agencies. In this statement, the company acknowledges its past shortcomings and admits to certain compliance violations. The resolution reached by Binance has allowed the company to move forward, but it has also raised concerns about its adherence to financial laws and regulations.
Binance openly admits that when it initially launched, it did not have sufficient compliance controls to match its fast-growing stature in the industry. The company takes responsibility for the misguided decisions it made along the way, emphasizing that it is now ready to turn the page and operate with a stronger commitment to compliance.
According to the DOJ, Binance violated various financial laws, including the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), by failing to register as a money transmitting business. The company was required to register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and establish effective anti-money laundering (AML) policies, which it did not comply with. Additionally, Binance was found to have neglected comprehensive know-your-customer (KYC) procedures, failed to report suspicious activities to FinCEN, and on occasions supported users who only provided an email address as identification.
Binance acknowledges these compliance issues and asserts that it has been making efforts to address them. The company recently expanded its AML tools and capabilities to better detect and prevent money laundering activities. It also claims to be one of the first major exchanges outside the U.S. to impose mandatory KYC requirements for all users. Binance emphasizes that it takes sanctions compliance seriously and maintains a standalone sanctions team, enforces KYC and IP blocks, and utilizes third-party tools for real-time transaction monitoring.
In addition to the BSA violations, the DOJ found that Binance violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) by not implementing adequate controls to prevent users from transacting with sanctioned individuals or in sanctioned areas. Furthermore, Binance failed to fully block U.S. customers in 2019 as mandated by the law. Instead of complying, the company prioritized the retention of high-value VIP customers and provided them with measures to bypass restrictions.
Despite the significant compliance violations, Binance emphasizes its commitment to improving its compliance standards. It now has a team of over 70 members dedicated to working with law enforcement agencies and sharing information. The company has pleaded guilty to the accusations and agreed to pay hefty fines totaling over $4 billion. Additionally, Binance will be subjected to the oversight of an appointed monitor for three years, ensuring the implementation of enhanced compliance measures.
Binance’s statement regarding the resolution of DOJ investigations and admission of wrongdoing sheds light on the challenges faced by cryptocurrency exchanges when it comes to compliance with financial laws. While the company acknowledges its past mistakes and outlines the steps it has taken to rectify them, the extent of these violations raises concerns about the overall compliance culture within Binance. Moving forward, it will be crucial for the company to demonstrate a genuine commitment to adhering to regulations and rebuilding trust with regulators and users alike.