The story Binance is trying to sell sure is juicy. A little too convenient, considering the year the company’s had, but hey… Binance is be facing criminal investigations in the US, the UK, and Japan among others. This time, however, they proved that they want to “be the industry leader” and not just the world’s biggest crypto exchange.
As a company, Binance is “committed to continue working with regulators across the globe to weed out bad actors and blaze a trail for the industry to grow and innovate in a responsible manner.” That means that, after years of playing dumb and going from one crypto-friendly location to the other, Binance is ready to play the regulator’s game. And to prove it, their PR team presents this story:
“Yesterday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that it has added a Russia-based entity, Suex OTC, to its Specially Designated Nationals list. Together with the details of the company, 25 cryptocurrency addresses were listed. Make no mistake — this is a positive development for the industry and the millions of innovators, consumers, and investors across the globe that contribute to blockchain’s growth each day.”
Is it a positive development, though?
Parasitic Money Launderers
According to Binance, one of the biggest risks the cryptocurrency industry faces is:
“Money connected to cyber attacks being laundered through nested services and exchanger accounts that try to hide inside macro VASPs, including exchanges like ours. Much like they have been for traditional financial institutions, these criminals are parasitic, feeding off reputable exchanges.”
That quote is a one-two punch. First, Binance compares itself to “traditional financial institutions.” and classifies itself as a “reputable exchange.” Secondly, they identify the movie’s bad guy, “these criminals are parasitic.”
And what are they doing about these potential criminals?
“investigating potentially illicit activity through the use of AI and building a best-in-class internal investigative team. That team is staffed by some of the most accomplished investigators in law enforcement today.”
Revealing the investigative team’s characteristics was key to this PR event. Nevertheless, they apparently did something good and interesting that raises a lot of questions.
BNB price chart for 09/23/2021 on FTX | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
What Did Binance ‘s Investigative Team Find Out?
It’s time for the reveal. The US authorities only found out about the money launderers because Binance ’s team detected their activities and contacted them with the information:
“Based on a comprehensive audit by our investigative team, several accounts related to the addresses mentioned in the OFAC announcement were identified earlier this year and had appropriate action taken against them. We de-platformed these accounts based on internal safeguards. Information regarding the addresses in the announcement, as well as other information from our internal investigation was shared with the appropriate authorities and we continue to collaborate with law enforcement to cast sunlight on those threat actors that seek to abuse our platforms, such as Suex.”
Is this good for the industry, as Binance claims? Or is it an inversion of everything that crypto stands for? Are these companies spying on their customers and users? Do they have the right to? And, looking at this from another angle, are these kinds of actions from Binance enough to get the regulators out of their back? Or are we about to find out that Binance will always be a target no matter what?
Tune in tomorrow, for another episode of…
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