The Italian Securities Commission (Consob, its acronym in Italian) announced that the brokerage Binance “is not authorized to provide services and investment activities in the country”. In a statement accompanying the release, Consob notes that the exchange's website, Binance.com, includes sections previously written in Italian promoting derivatives and tokenized stocks. Consob urges the population to “exercise maximum caution” in transactions related to cryptocurrencies and reminds investors that they can lose all their money in this type of transaction.
Regulators vs Binance
Italy joins a growing group of regulators around the world who have spoken out against Binance's operations in their regions. Last month, the UK Financial Conduct Authority issued a consumer notice against Binance Markets Limited. While UK customers can still trade cryptocurrencies on the platform, the exchange is struggling to keep its fiduciary payment channels up and running. Several banks, including Santander and Barclays, began blocking customer payments to the broker, while withdrawals and deposits using pounds sterling were suspended. Binance also suspended bank deposits through SEPA, the European Union's payment network. In the same month, Japan's financial regulator warned that the exchange was operating in the unregistered country. Generally, authorities have come to question Binance's approach to anti-money laundering regulations and, in particular, the broker's apparent lack of a headquarters; the UK FCA has stated that it has “concerns” about the former and that the latter is a “big problem”. Binance, in turn, argues that it has no headquarters. Brokerage CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao told Decrypt that “our leadership team is not sitting in an office, we don't have a place we can go that most people consider normal headquarters. So when I'm asked about it, I don't want to give a wrong answer just to satisfy your definitions.” The exchange left China in 2017, going first to Japan and then to Taiwan, before moving on to Malta. In 2020, however, Malta's regulators clarified that Binance does not have a license to operate in the territory. Although it registered Binance Holdings Limited in the Cayman Islands in July 2022, the region's Monetary Authority also said that the company is not authorized to do business under its jurisdiction. In a statement last week, the CZ pledged to locate operations to "comply with local regulations", and explained that "compliance is a journey". The company has also taken steps to strengthen its regulatory compliance team in recent weeks, hiring Jonathan Farnell, a former eToro, as its new Chief Compliance Officer. On the other hand, here in Brazil, the brokerage firm has just lost its director Ricardo Da Ros, who resigned after six months at the company due to a “misalignment of expectations”.