FRANKFURT (Reuters) -Binance wants to set up several regional headquarters and be approved by local regulators, its chief executive said, as one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges seeks to fend off renewed pressure from critical authorities.
“We want to be licensed everywhere,” Changpeng Zhao told journalists, saying he wanted to “work with regulators everywhere”.
“From now on, we’re going to be a financial institution,” he said, adding this would be breaking from its earlier decentralised model and maturing from its startup origins.
Binance made the remarks after it came under concerted pressure from regulators around the globe, worried that cryptocurrencies could be used for money laundering and that investors fall victim to scams or runaway bets.
Financial authorities in Britain, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Lithuania and Thailand have all raised concerns about Binance.
Binance offers a wide range of services to users across the globe, including crypto spot and derivatives trading.
It also runs an exchange that allows users to trade directly with each other. Its own cryptocurrency, Binance Coin, is the fourth-biggest in the world.
Binance has grown its trading volumes almost ten-fold in the last year to $668 billion last month, data from UK researcher CryptoCompare shows.
Binance is growing in popularity in Britain, for example, where its app has been downloaded 1.8 million times in 2021, and 2.2 million times in total, according to mobile data firm Sensor Tower.
Recently, however, Britain’s financial watchdog barred it from carrying out regulated activities.
Writing by John O’Donnell Editing by Alison Williams and Mark Potter