The island grew more reticent about the digital asset sector following FTX’s collapse but remains a crypto-friendly place, said Zhao, whose comments during the Token2049 conference in Singapore were reported by Bloomberg.
Zhao added, per the report, that stricter regulations have caused several traditional financial institutions to avoid offering cash to crypto services and vice versa, although “at the same [time], we are seeing new ones coming up.”
Binance and Zhao are facing regulatory scrutiny amid a broader crackdown on the digital asset space. Binance’s share has declined this year due to that pressure, although Zhao said Binance surpassed 150 million users a couple of months ago, the report said.
“We are also seeing 200,000 to 300,000 to half-a-million active users on a weekly, monthly basis,” he added, according to the report.
The ongoing crypto clampdown has left crypto firms “feeling burned in the U.S.” and “searching for greener pastures abroad” in places that include Singapore, as well as Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Europe.
“I think the U.S. has the potential to be an important market for crypto, but right now we are not seeing that regulatory clarity that we need,” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said in April, two months before his company and Binance were both the target of legal actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). “I think in a number of years if we don’t see that regulatory clarity emerge in the U.S., we may have to consider investing more elsewhere in the world.”
Zhao’s comments came days after his company’s American affiliate, Binance.US, announced it was laying off about a third of its workers — more than 100 positions — in the second round of job cuts this year. Binance.US, like Binance itself, is also involved in a legal battle with the SEC.
“The actions we are taking today provide Binance.US with more than seven years of financial runway and enable us to continue to serve our customers while we operate as a crypto-only exchange,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to PYMNTS Wednesday (Sept. 13). “The SEC’s aggressive attempts to cripple our industry and the resulting impacts on our business have real-world consequences for American jobs and innovation, and this is an unfortunate example of that.”
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