Binance reports 40 million new users in 2023 despite regulatory woes

Rick Steves

The report highlights the company’s commitment to user-centric principles, with a total of 170 million registered users and 431 assets available for trading across 1785 trading pairs by the year’s end.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao

Binance, the prominent global blockchain ecosystem and home to the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has unveiled its comprehensive 2023 year-end report, aptly titled “State of The Blockchain: Binance’s 2023 in Review.” This report encapsulates the tumultuous yet transformative journey of the crypto industry throughout the year.

In the midst of crypto’s challenges, Binance has steadfastly contributed to the evolution of Web3, ceaselessly building valuable products and robust infrastructure. The report underscores the industry leader’s role in steering key trends, from the ascent of SocialFi to the expanding realm of crypto payments and the heightened focus on compliance.

40 million new users, up by 30% YoY

Binance’s resilience is evident in its impressive growth, welcoming over 40 million new users in 2023, marking a substantial 30% increase from the previous year. The report highlights the company’s commitment to user-centric principles, with a total of 170 million registered users and 431 assets available for trading across 1785 trading pairs by the year’s end.

Noteworthy milestones include substantial growth in crypto payment services, P2P trading, and earning platforms. Binance Pay and Card experienced a 54% surge in users, facilitated by over 3,500 new Pay merchants globally. The P2P platform, supporting 970 payment methods and 112 fiat currencies, recorded a notable 18% increase in trades and a 39% rise in users.

Binance Earn, a vital component of Binance’s suite, witnessed a surge of 35% in users, with a 16.8% increase in the total value locked in its products. Additionally, Binance Square, an evolution of Binance Feed, emerged as a gateway into the Web3 content universe, boasting 11,000 creators and 1.6 million active daily users.

Binance responded to 58,000 law enforcement requests

Security and compliance remain paramount for Binance, as evidenced by a $213 million investment in 2023. The company responded to 58,000 law enforcement requests, conducted 120 training sessions, and actively collaborated with global authorities to combat illicit activities involving digital assets. The end-of-year value of the SAFU fund, designed for user protection in emergencies, reached $1.2 billion.

In line with the demand for a more compelling Web3 experience, Binance introduced the Binance Web3 Wallet, seamlessly integrated into the Binance app. This self-custodial wallet empowers users to manage crypto funds, execute token swaps across multiple chains, and engage with various blockchain platforms. Notably, Binance users created millions of Web3 wallets within weeks of its launch.

Binance Labs, the venture capital and investment arm, played a pivotal role in supporting projects driving Web3 adoption. Over 2000 startups globally applied to participate in Binance Labs’ programs in 2023, with 36 receiving support. The report concludes with an acknowledgment of Binance’s greatest achievement: maintaining the trust of its growing community while advancing the global freedom of money.

US court approved Binance settlement with the CFTC

Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois approved a settlement requiring Binance and its former CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao to pay hefty fines to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

The court’s decision mandates Binance to disgorge $1.35 billion obtained from transaction fees and to pay an additional $1.35 billion as a civil penalty to the CFTC. Additionally, CZ was hit personally with a $150 million civil monetary penalty.

This resolution is the culmination of a case initiated by the CFTC against Zhao and Binance on March 27. The agency’s lawsuit accused the executive and his exchange of evading federal law and operating an illegal derivatives exchange. The settlement, initially reached in late November, was finalized with the court’s recent approval.

The CFTC’s statement on December 18 confirmed the court’s approval of the settlement and the conclusion of this enforcement action, which marks the end of a long-running legal battle.

Binance previously tried to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the CFTC is overstepping its jurisdictional boundaries by attempting to regulate foreign entities operating outside the United States. Binance criticized the CFTC’s effort to expand its authority beyond the confines of the U.S. Commodity Exchange Act.

The cryptocurrency exchange further highlighted that the CFTC introduced broadened arguments and redefined the term “U.S. person”, suggesting the regulator was seeking global control over any activity related to derivatives products in the crypto domain.

Earlier this month, a U.S. district judge accepted a guilty plea from CZ on charges related to anti-money laundering violations.

CZ pleaded guilty last month to anti-money laundering and sanctions violations following years-long probes by federal regulators. As part of a settlement, Binance, the cryptocurrency exchange he co-founded, agreed to pay $4.3 billion, making it one of the largest corporate settlements in history. Additionally, CZ agreed to pay a $50 million fine and stepped down as CEO of Binance.

With a potential maximum prison sentence of 18 months as per federal guidelines, Zhao has committed not to appeal any sentence up to that duration. However, it wasn’t decided whether CZ can leave the United States before his sentencing, which is scheduled for February 23, 2024. He currently resides in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and federal prosecutors have objected to allowing him to leave the United States. They said that Zhao poses a flight risk due to his substantial wealth and the fact that the UAE, where he resides, does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S. CZ is released on a $175 million bond.

More on Binance, here.

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