Binance UK CEO Jonathan Farnell resigns amid regulatory pressure
Jonathan Farnell, the CEO of Binance UK, has stepped down from his position. His departure was noted both in a corporate filing with the UK Companies House and his own LinkedIn profile.
The move came at a time when the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been tightening compliance requirements for cryptocurrency companies.
In a statement, a representative from Binance said, “We’d like to thank Jonathan for his contributions and wish him all the best on his next challenge.”
Farnell’s departure is in tandem with heightened regulatory scrutiny that Binance has been facing, not only in the UK but also in the US. Earlier last week, the world’s largest crypto platform halted new customer registrations in response to the FCA’s stricter regulations on cryptocurrency advertising.
Jonathan Farnell, who had previously worked at eToro heading their compliance department, was a key figure in Binance’s push for regulatory compliance in the UK. He joined the firm in 2021 and soon ascended to a top management position, leading Binance’s efforts to navigate the FCA’s ban on its UK business. In addition to this role, he was also the CEO of Bitfinity, a Binance-affiliated payment platform.
As for UK leadership, corporate records suggest that Ilir Laro, who currently serves as Binance’s global integrated marketing and campaigns manager, might have been appointed as a director of the UK entity in September.
The FCA’s recently introduced rules have a consumer protection focus, mandating crypto entities to advertise only through authorized firms. This shift from merely addressing money laundering risks to include broader consumer protection has seen Binance ceasing its services to UK customers after the FCA declined its recent compliance proposal. Moreover, the FCA prohibited Binance’s marketing affiliate from advertising crypto in the UK, leading it to scout for a new PR partner.
This shift in strategy restricts Binance’s expansion in one of the most influential crypto markets outside of the United States. The underlying cause of this change stems from Binance’s association with Rebuildingsociety.com, a company it had collaborated with to ensure the approval of its advertisements and promotions under the new UK regulatory rules. However, the City watchdog indicated that Rebuildingsociety.com lacks the necessary authority to sanction crypto-related ads.
In 2022, the FCA’s stance on crypto firms attracted criticism from the industry. The regulatory body, however, defended its decisions, stating that its feedback could guide other firms to make successful applications. Out of the 195 applications received, the majority were either refused or rejected, primarily due to non-compliance with anti-money laundering regulations. Twenty-nine firms opted to withdraw their applications last year.