Binance suspends Ontario operations for second time

abdelaziz Fathi

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, informed a Canadian provincial regulator that it would no longer be accepting new customers. The industry’s giant seemingly opted to pull out of Ontario, rather than comply with securities law or face regulatory scrutiny.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao

Ontario’s securities watchdog also said Binance has provided an “undertaking” to cease trading for existing Ontario-based accounts. Facing the threat of regulatory sanctions, the exchange updated its terms of use, declaring Ontario a “restricted jurisdiction.” As a result, Binance has blocked services in Canada’s most populous province and asked Ontarians to take immediate measures to close out their trading positions.

Recent troubles were not the first for Binance in Canada, which has faced uphill battles with its provincial regulators throughout the previous year.

“This undertaking represents a legally enforceable commitment by Binance to the OSC. The OSC reserves the right to take enforcement action against Binance for any past, present or future breaches of Ontario securities law not arising from the events described in the undertaking,” the OSC said in a statement yesterday.

The OSC statement went on to warn that it reached out to other crypto-asset trading platforms to initiate the registration process, or face enforcement action, including temporary orders.

Binance made headlines in March

The move follows the Ontario Securities Commission’s onslaught on Binance back in December 2021 for their alleged failure to comply with securities law. At the time, OSC said Binance has broken its word to regulators after it had previously told its staff that no new transactions involving Ontario residents would occur.

In the weeks leading up to Binance’s departure, the exchange rescinded that commitment, claiming that its authorization as a money services business allows it to continue operating in the province. A spokesperson for Binance described the latest trouble with the OSC as a “miscommunication” and that it is looking to remedy the misunderstanding.

Binance has seen plenty of news headlines in recent times as regulatory focus returns to the crypto space.

Just last week, Binance was granted an authorization to establish a crypto-asset business in Bahrain, paving the way for it to begin operations within the Middle East. Its American affiliate has also obtained its third Money Transmitter licenses in the US. Following the receipt of approvals in West Virginia and Connecticut, the FinCEN-registered company received formal notice from the Wyoming Division of Banking that its application was accepted.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao also said he expects the world’s largest cryptocurrency hub to become a London-registered crypto asset firm in six to 18 months.

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