Binance Sees Its Proof-Of-Reserve Audits Removed From Auditor Mazars’ Website
Binance, the major cryptocurrency exchange, has seen its proof-of-reserve audits removed from auditor Mazars’ website.
It has been reported that Mazars’ official website shows they fully discontinued Mazars Veritas, a section dedicated to cryptocurrency exchange audits. The tool was developed by Mazars in order to bring “trust and transparency to the digital asset sector,” using the Silver Sixpence Merkle Tree Generating tool to complement proof-of-reserve reports.
However, on December 16, Bloomberg also reported that Mazars stopped doing proof-of-reserve audits for cryptocurrency companies. Other auditing firms such as FTX’s auditor Armanino have also reportedly stopped working with crypto exchanges like OKX and Gate.io.
The report said that Mazars is widely known as the accounting firm of former United States President Donald Trump’s company. The auditing firm was appointed as an official auditor for Binance’s proof-of-reserve updates in late November. A number of rival crypto exchanges, including KuCoin and Crypto.com, have followed Binance’s lead in cooperating with Mazars as part of their reserve reports.
A spokesperson for Binance said:
"Mazars has indicated that they will temporarily pause their work with all of their crypto clients globally, which include Crypto.com, KuCoin and Binance. Unfortunately, this means that we will not be able to work with Mazars for the moment."
The representative noted that Binance has also reached out to multiple large auditing firms, including Big Four auditors, which are "currently unwilling to conduct a PoR for a private crypto company."
The firm said:
"We will still go forward with our plans to deliver to our users Merkle Tree PoR to demonstrate that customer assets exist on on-chain addresses that are under the control of Binance."
Likewise, CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the CEO of Binance, was quick to react to the news on Twitter with a retweet from a random commenter.
The tweet reads:
"Making a statement on why an auditing company decided to quit working with crypto? Ask them lol."
The news comes shortly after Mazars confirmed on December 7 that Binance possessed control over 575,742 Bitcoin of its customers, worth around $9.7 billion, as of December 16. The report has since been also removed from Mazars' website.
Thus, some financial specialists have immediately seen some red flags in Binance's reserve report. One former Financial Accounting Standards Board member argued that the Mazars-released report lacked data on the quality of internal controls and how Binance's systems liquidate assets to cover margin loans.