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Binance Cyprus seeks delisting ahead of EU rules

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Binance has applied to be removed from Cyprus’ register of crypto asset service providers in a move it said would allow the crypto exchange to focus on its larger European businesses.

It was unclear when Binance applied to deregister.

The world’s biggest exchange announced its registration with the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) in October 2022.

A source at the regulator said on Wednesday that Binance never launched its business in Cyprus.

The Cyprus registration allowed Binance to offer spot trading, custody and other services in compliance with the island’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing rules, CySEC has previously said.

A spokesperson for Binance said it was pulling back on Cyprus to sharpen its focus on its other companies in the European Union ahead of the rollout of the EU’s crypto asset regulations (MiCA).

“We are working hard to prepare our business to be fully compliant with MiCA when it is implemented in the next 18 months.

“To that end, we have made the decision to pull back efforts in Cyprus to focus on our efforts on fewer regulated entities in the EU, especially our larger registered markets where we already have a mature footprint, including France, Italy and Spain,” the spokesperson said.

“Binance will continue to comply with applicable laws of the European Union.”

Last week, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Binance, its founder Changpeng Zhao, and the operator of its purportedly independent US exchange.

Binance said it intends to defend itself “vigorously” against the SEC’s charges.

Binance said on its website that it has licences and registrations across six European Union states, including France and Italy.

The move means that Binance will no longer be able to solicit customers in Cyprus directly or provide services in or from the country until incoming EU rules allow the company to passport existing registrations from elsewhere in the bloc.

MiCA regulations are expected to take effect in January 2025.

Binance, which says it has no defined global or regional headquarters, also holds registrations in France, Italy and Spain within Europe.

CySEC suspended the license of crypto exchange FTX’s Europe unit in November after the company filed for bankruptcy in the US.

FTX, whose founder Sam Bankman-Fried now faces a raft of civil and criminal charges, had broader permissions to operate an investment business in Cyprus following its acquisition of a local company just two months earlier. (source Reuters/Bloomberg)