Binance, arguably the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, is planning an IPO despite regulators intensifying their scrutiny of the company.
However, don’t hold your breath waiting for the company to file for its initial public offering (IPO). CEO and founder Changpeng Zhao has told The Information that the goal is to float its US arm in the next three years.
“Binance.US is just going to do what Coinbase did,” he told the publication.
US-based Coinbase went public in April when it listed on the Nasdaq.
The news of the planned float comes almost a month after Brian Brooks publicly resigned from his role as chief executive of the US arm a mere four months after taking up the role.
“Despite differences over strategic direction, I wish my former colleagues much success. Exciting new things to come!” Brooks tweeted, announcing his resignation.
Greetings #crypto community. Letting you all know that I have resigned as CEO of @BinanceUS . Despite differences over strategic direction, I wish my former colleagues much success. Exciting new things to come!
— Brian Brooks (@BrianBrooksUS) August 6, 2021
Brooks’ appointment in May had given Binance much needed credibility, given he’d previously been acting comptroller of the currency at the US Treasury. He had personally overseen the federal banking regulator issuing the first national banking charter to a cryptocurrency company, Anchorage Digital.
While a Binance IPO is still some way off, Zhao did announce that the cryptocurrency exchange is looking to raise a large fundraising round within the next two months. The cash injection should also reduce the CEO’s control of the board.
Binance generated $800m to $1bn in profit last year, Zhao told The Information.
The news of the planned Binance IPO comes as the cryptocurrency exchange is increasingly coming under fire from regulators around the world.
Last week it was revealed that the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said that it was “not capable” of supervising Binance. The City watchdog had made the statement in a notice on 25 June, released last week. On 26 June it issued a warning against Binance Markets Limited, a subsidiary of Binance.
In the notice, the FCA accused the company of having failed to provide sufficient information about its business operations, corporate structure and how its customers used the products.
“This is of particular concern in the context of the firm’s membership of a global group which offers complex and high-risk financial products, which pose a significant risk to consumers,” the regulator said in the notice.
The FCA also told the firm to remove all advertising and financial promotions. Binance Markets Limited was, following the warning, not allowed to undertake any regulated services.
Despite the regulatory setbacks, Binance has remained relatively unscathed so far. It is still able to trade in cryptocurrencies and while it was forced to restrict customers withdrawing British pounds sterling when it ran into trouble with its partners, it has since quietly resumed GBP withdrawals.
While still nascent, there are signs that the cryptocurrency market is slowly consolidating after mergers and acquisitions bringing smaller blockchain companies into the fold of bigger ones like Coinbase, Kraken and Binance, as highlighted in a recent GlobalData thematic research report.