Binance Holdings Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Changpeng Zhao was putting on a brave face.
An affiliate of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange had just withdrawn its application to run a bourse in Singapore. Zhao, the richest person in cryptocurrency with a fortune of about US$90 billion ($121.4 billion), took to Twitter to say the affiliate’s investment in another exchange -- one that was regulated -- made the application “somewhat redundant.”
As it turns out, the other exchange has a license to trade some things -- such as shares in private companies and tokenized assets -- but not cryptocurrencies. More importantly, the real reason for the withdrawal was that Binance’s affiliate didn’t meet Singapore’s criteria for protecting against money laundering and terrorist financing, a person familiar with the matter said after it happened last month. Binance denies this, saying it pulled the application on strategic and commercial grounds.