Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has withdrawn a last-year application for an operating license in Abu Dhabi, Reuters reported Thursday. This marks the latest regulatory setback for the cryptocurrency exchange as global scrutiny intensifies.
A spokesperson said the decision was “unrelated” to Binance’s recent $4.3 billion settlement with U.S. authorities over anti-money laundering violations that triggered a leadership shakeup.
- Binance cancelled the Abu Dhabi bid on November 7th via its BV Investment Management subsidiary.
- The license would have enabled the management of an investment fund in the Gulf emirate.
- The exchange deemed it unnecessary given the reassessment of global licensing needs.
- Binance has faced growing regulatory crackdowns around the world throughout 2023.
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Binance underwent numerous changes under Richard Teng
The spokesperson mentioned that the application was considered unnecessary after an assessment of their global licensing needs. Binance has responded to intensifying global scrutiny by paring back several entities tied to key jurisdictions over the past year as the risks of harsher clampdowns loom.
The shelving comes after new CEO Richard Teng revealed during remarks Tuesday that the company’s regional Middle East/North Africa hub resides in the neighboring emirate of Dubai.
This year, Binance has withdrawn from licensing processes in Germany and Cyprus, signaling a strategic shift. Regulatory challenges led to the cessation of operations in Belgium, but Binance set up a Polish entity to serve Belgian clients.
Binance has stopped accepting new users in the UK and announced plans to sell its Russian business. In Australia, regulators canceled the financial services license for Binance’s derivatives business.
Changpeng Zhao, the founder of Binance, resigned from his position as CEO last month following a guilty plea for violating U.S. anti-money laundering laws. The exchange also agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle charges with US regulators.