After taking a regulatory battering earlier this year, Binance is back – or at least the world’s busiest crypto exchange will hope so. The platform has been bolstered by news that it is talking to sovereign wealth funds who are interested in “taking a stake” in the platform, that it’s establishing a new base in Ireland and raising a “couple of hundred million” dollars in a forthcoming funding round in the US.
Speaking to the Financial Times, the Binance mastermind and CEO Chengpeng “CZ” Zhao stated that potential sovereign wealth fund deals would help the firm boost its “perception and relationships” with governments around the world. The media outlet noted that Zhao “declined to say which funds the company was in discussions with,” but quoted the Binance chief as stating that “the ticket size involved will not be small.”
But he added a note of caution, stating that “it won’t be a short process, and “may also tie us to specific countries,” something that ”we want to be slightly careful with.”
The move could, however, “buttress relationships with governments and offset aggressive regulators” – as the latter have been gunning for Binance in a range of territories this year, forcing the platform to bring in stringent know-your-customer (KYC) protocols.
Zhao refuted notions that exchanges like Binance are “being crazy” by not operating with “traditional” banking sector-type licenses, and added:
“I’m a very calm guy. I’m not a crazy guy. So we actually want regulation to be more clear in this space.”
He added that he wanted to maintain a more decentralized approach to business and was looking for more regulatory clarity before “committing to a single jurisdiction.”
However, developments elsewhere in the world could suggest Binance is eyeing the Emerald Isle as a possible future center of gravity. The Irish Independent reported that the firm has “expanded its footprint in Ireland” just weeks after Zhao was quoted elsewhere as stating that Binance “does” intend to open a central HQ at some point in the future.
Numerous tech firms have established bases in Ireland in recent years, lured mainly by low business rates of just over 12% – although that is now set to change following a US President Joe Biden-led global deal on corporate tax reform.
Regardless, the same media outlet noted that following the creation of three new firms in Ireland last month, Binance registered another in November, named Binance Exchange (Ie). The firm had previously created Binance (APAC) Holdings, Binance (Services) Holdings and Binance Technologies in Ireland, with Zhao listed as a director of all four firms.
The Financial Times, meanwhile, added that Zhao has been on a mission to communicate “more directly” with regulators in locations such as Singapore, and added that the supremo had “spent the past two months meeting regulators in cities including Dubai, Paris, Qatar and Bahrain.”
In the United States, the firm’s Binance.US platform is hoping for an initial public offering (IPO) in the next three years, Zhao stated earlier this year. These IPO hopes, Binance expects, will be bolstered by the fundraising round.
Bloomberg quoted Zhao as stating that the capital injection would likely be finalized in very last 2021 or at the start of next year, claiming:
“I think that’ll come in about a month or two,”
On Twitter, Zhao was typically stoical.