Malta’s financial services regulator on Wednesday warned that Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume is not authorised to operate under Maltese law.

“Binance is not licensed nor authorised by the MFSA to conduct any VFA related activities in or from Malta and therefore falls outside the MFSA’s regulatory oversight,” the regulator said in an official warning.  

It is the second time that the MFSA has distanced itself from Binance, which served as the jewel in the government’s push for Malta to be crowned the world’s ‘Blockchain Island’ back in 2018. 

The MFSA had already issued a similar notice in February 2020.

Its latest statement comes after financial regulators in various jurisdictions across the world issued their own warnings about Binance. 

Regulators in the UK, Japan, Thailand, Poland and the Cayman Islands have all warned over the past month that the cryptocurrency exchange does not have the authorisation to offer regulated services under their respective jurisdictions. 

The MFSA included a link to its Guidance Note to the Public Regarding Cryptocurrency Scams in its warning and advised consumers to refer to it to “identify scams, and steps to take to avoid falling victim to them.”

“Be wary of online adverts and on social media promising high returns on investments in cryptocurrency or cryptocurrency-related products,” the MFSA said. 

Consumers should steer clear or any companies that are not regulated by reputable financial services regulators, the MFSA said. 

Binance was introduced to Malta amid much pomp in 2018 and received a welcome by then-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who said at the time that Malta wanted to be “the global trailblazers in the regulation of blockchain-based businesses.” 

Cheers: Binance CEO Zhao poses for a photo in Malta with, among others, Silvio Schembri (left).Cheers: Binance CEO Zhao poses for a photo in Malta with, among others, Silvio Schembri (left).

The company’s founder, Changpeng Zhao, was also photographed with Silvio Schembri, who as parliamentary secretary was responsible for Malta’s ‘Blockchain Island’ push. 

But that hype never led anywhere and when Malta introduced its laws regulating the cryptocurrency sector in 2018, Binance was conspicuous by its absence. The company subsequently distanced itself from claims that it would be relocating its core business to Malta. 

The MFSA website currently lists 11 companies as regulated virtual financial asset service providers.

Binance is the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, with an estimated US$13 billion flowing through it every 24 hours. 

According to the Malta Business Registry, Binance maintains two other Malta-registered companies: Binance Europe Services Limited and Binance Marketing Services Limited. 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us