The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) claims that it has never approved major cryptocurrency exchange Binance to operate in the country.
Binance Is Not Authorized to Operate in Malta, Financial Regulator Says https://t.co/gUQC26IYk6 via @CoinTelegraph #cryptocurrency #bitcoin pic.twitter.com/i6BvR1FZg9 — Coinboard (@Coinboard) February 21, 2020
On February 21, it has been reported that the MFSA issued a public statement by stating that Binance “is not authorized by the MFSA to operate in the cryptocurrency sphere.” The agency outlined that recent media reports referred to Binance incorrectly as a “Malta-based cryptocurrency firm,” while the exchange “may not fall within the realm of regulatory oversight.”
While major local publications like Malta Today have been referring to Binance as a Malta-regulated crypto business, the MFSA has apparently made a similar statement before, claiming:
“Following a report in a section of the media referring to Binance as a ‘Malta-based cryptocurrency’ company, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) reiterates that Binance is not authorized by the MFSA to operate in the crypto currency sphere and is therefore not subject to regulatory oversight by the MFSA.”
Further, the MFSA emphasized that operating a crypto-related business in the country requires an MFSA license under the Virtual Financial Assets Act of 2018.
As per the report, Binance announced that it was opening an office in Malta in 2018 after pressure from Japanese regulators forced it to relocate. At the time, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the CEO of Binance, said that he was invited to Malta by the government in order to look at an upcoming bill that would be favorable to crypto businesses.
However, in September 2018, a fintech arm of the Malta Stock Exchange signed a memorandum of understanding with Binance to jointly launch a new security token digital exchange.
The question of where Binance is formally located is not new. Late last year, reports of a police raid on supposed Binance offices in China sent crypto markets into a spiral.
Binance subsequently denied the reports, stating:
“The Binance team is a global movement consisting of people working in a decentralized manner wherever they are in the world. Binance has no fixed offices in Shanghai or China, so it makes no sense that police raided on any offices and shut them down.”
Indeed, CZ has previously criticized the very idea of centralized offices and headquarters, tweeting a post:
Office and HQ are old concepts like SMS and MMS. Time is moving on… — CZ Binance 🔶🔶🔶 (@cz_binance) November 20, 2019
As the news follows an unexpected technical issue on the Binance platform reported on February 19, the exchange suspended most of its trading activities due to unscheduled maintenance.