Binance recently unveiled the list of cryptocurrencies under consideration for its bold U.S. exchange expansion. The move is likely part of an aggressive strategy to crush its largest competitor—Coinbase—at what it does best: regulatory compliance.
Binance blocking U.S. customers from trading
On June 14, Binance announced it would block customers in the United States from trading on the platform. According to CEO Changpeng Zhao, the move was made because “short term pain is necessary for long term gains.”
The exchange further elaborated that users would have 90 days to adopt the new terms. American customers who do not comply with the new terms of service by Sept. 12 would lose access to their wallets and would be unable to make deposits or trade on Binance.com (withdrawals would still be permitted).
The move sent shockwaves through the crypto-sphere. Considering Binance is the largest exchange by trading volume, and that an estimated 20 percent of the exchange’s traffic comes from the United States, hundreds of niche crypto assets would become much harder to buy and sell—destroying altcoin liquidity.
Announcing the launch of Binance.US
In addition to the announcement that trading would halt for customers in the United States, Binance announced a bold move to launch a subsidiary compliant with more stringent American regulations. In partnership with BAM Trading Services, Binance would form a new U.S. based firm that would comply with FinCEN, anti-money laundering (AML), and countering finance terrorism (CFT) regulations, among others.
Binance’s pre-emptive move to follow U.S. regulations was met with considerable speculation. Considering that the exchange’s business model thus far has largely been regulatory arbitrage, the move came as a surprise to pundits.
Taking advantage of regulatory arbitrage
Binance has been known to effectively engage in behavior known as “regulatory arbitrage,” a practice where a firm capitalizes on loopholes in the regulatory system to circumvent unfavorable regulations.