Binance Holdings Ltd., the operator of the largest cryptocurrency exchange, is weighing whether to register with the U.S.’s futures regulator, according to Max Baucus, a former Senator and ambassador to China who the firm tapped as a policy adviser.
“I think they’re moving in that direction,” Baucus said in a Bloomberg Television interview Friday when asked whether the company plans to register as a broker with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. “That’s a policy decision that we’re discussing, and it’s a business judgment.”
Bloomberg reported Friday that the CFTC is investigating whether Binance allowed Americans to make trades that violated U.S. rules. The company, which has an office in Singapore but says it lacks a single corporate headquarters, hasn’t been accused of misconduct. Co-founder Changpeng Zhao addressed the Bloomberg story in an online discussion, saying Binance has strong controls to prevent illicit transactions.
Baucus, who declined to comment on any investigations into Binance, said it’s understandable that the CFTC and other agencies are examining trading of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies because of the industry’s explosive growth.
“This is such a new phenomenon, it’s only appropriate the regulatory agencies do their job,” he said. “My job is to help them develop their business in a way that will expand, but also will be following regulations.”
Binance announced the appointment of Baucus Thursday against a backdrop of growing regulatory scrutiny for cryptocurrencies and exchanges. Baucus will give “guidance on the organization’s government and regulatory efforts including building strong relations with U.S. authorities and regulators,” Binance said in a statement. He’ll focus on policy advice for global financial jurisdictions and liaise with U.S. officials.
Baucus, a 79-year-old Montana Democrat and former envoy to China, said in the interview that he’s spent some time with Zhao, who assured him that Binance was following “not only the letter but the spirit of the law.”