- The present SEC chair had rejected the offer to serve as an adviser to Binance, as per WSJ
- Binance reportedly has been “much more intertwined” with its American affiliate than it has disclosed
Binance – the world’s largest crypto exchange – sought to onboard Gary Gensler, the current Chairman of the U.S Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC), in 2018 and 2019. The crypto exchange wanted Gensler to serve as an adviser but the proposal was turned down, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Nonetheless, the current SEC Chair shared some “license strategies” with Ella Zhang – former head of Binance Labs, and Harry Zhou – an employee at Binance.
Notably, the crypto exchange has previously maintained that Harry Zhou was never employed at the firm, in a lawsuit against Forbes ‘Tai Chi’ document report. The lawsuit, however, was dropped a few months later.
Moreover, Gensler had a meeting with Changpeng Zhao (CZ) – the CEO of Binance – in March 2019 in Tokyo. The chair had also held a video interview with CZ for a course on crypto at MIT.
The intertwined relationship between Binance and Binance.US
Binance and Binance.US have been “much more intertwined than the companies have disclosed,” claimed the Wall Street Journal report. Based on interviews and messages reviewed by WSJ, the world’s largest crypto exchange and its American affiliate had mixed staff and finances. Moreover, the report claims that the global crypto exchange possibly had access to Binance.US’ customer data. This was because the global exchange’s team maintained the code supporting Binance.US’ customers’ crypto wallets.
The interlink between both platforms was witnessed when an employee based in Shanghai launched the trading services for Binance.US before launch time. The incident reportedly occurred in September 2019. The WSJ report also claims that the global crypto exchange sought ways to allow US customers to continue derivative trading. This was despite Binance announcing it would discontinue services to US-based traders.
In June 2019, Samuel Lim – former Compliance Chief – suggested letting users “be creative and VPN.” And, notably, Binance Academy published a now-deleted guide on using VPNs in 2020. Moreover, the report claims that Catherine Coley – the first CEO of Binance.US – had asked her staff to send weekly reports. This was in order to forward them to CZ and Wei Zhou – former Chief Finance Officer. Notably, Coley, who has been inactive in the crypto space since April 2021, had stated,
“Everyone please post your weeklies before tonight 7 pm est/4 pm pst so we can be in the good graces of Wei. Saturday is for the Weekly Updates! Send me 2-5 bullet points of what we think CZ/Wei should know about your work this past week”
Coley had also directed her staff to enquire about work matters that required access, answers, and funding from Shanghai. This instruction was provided just before staff from both firms went on a retreat to South Korea in January 2020. Moreover, WSJ claims that Binance overlooked some parts of its American affiliate’s budget, based on Telegram messages.