- The largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world has set its sight on France as a potential headquarters.
- The exchange announced a $116 million fund with a French non-profit to bolster blockchain adoption.
- In recent months, Binance has increased its staff strength with an army of ex-government regulators.
After years without a permanent home, Binance has turned to France as the final destination. Changpeng Zhao, the founder of the exchange says the country will be a “natural choice” for a head office.
Vive La France
Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s CEO has revealed that France will be an ideal headquarters for the crypto exchange that has largely adopted a decentralized status. He disclosed this in an interview with a French paper, Les Echos during the week where he also bared his mind on topical issues in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
When quizzed on his plans for a head office in Europe, Zhao replied in the affirmative. He cited increasing regulatory pressure as the need to set up local, regional, and global offices.
“As soon as possible, France will be a natural choice for a regional, and perhaps global head office,” he said. Before setting up an office, Zhao noted that the immediate challenge for the exchange lies with obtaining local authorizations. He disclosed that the exchange is already in talks with the regulators and he’s being optimistic that an approval could be given within 6-12 months. He added that the regulators are pro-business but “very demanding” and are taking care to ensure that the exchange meets all requirements.
Binance and France have crossed paths earlier after the exchange announced a 100 million euros fund to develop the French crypto ecosystem. Changpeng Zhao gave a breakdown of how the fund will be disbursed with 50% earmarked for research purposes. He added that around 20% will go to local crypto investments while another 20% will be for “education and sponsorship.”
The exchange’s decision to look to France raises eyebrows because only last month, Changpeng Zhao suggested that Ireland was part of plans for the establishment of a global HQ.
The Army of Ex-Regulators
Binance’s hints of a potential global headquarters serve as a pacifier to the increasing pressure it is facing from regulators around the world. The exchange has also gone on a hiring spree, beefing up its ranks with ex-government agents to help improve its image with regulators.
In August, Changpeng Zhao stated that his chief priority was to hire more individuals with compliance and regulatory experience. Last month, Nils Andersen-Roaed, a former Europol agent, joined the exchange as a member of the audit and investigations team. Tigran Gambaryan, ex IRS agent became Vice President of Global Intelligence and Investigations while Greg Monahan, a former US Treasury criminal investigator is now the Global Money Laundering Reporting Officer.