Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world by trading volume, will move from Hong Kong to the European island nation of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea.
The exchange expects soon to offer direct purchase of cryptocurrency using ordinary fiat currencies such as dollars and euros. That could greatly increase the number of potential investors in crypto coins.
The chief executive officer and founder of Binance, Zhao Changpeng, explained that the company was close to finalizing terms with local banks and financial institutions interested in providing deposits and withdrawals.
“We are very confident we can announce a banking partnership there soon. Malta is very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech,” said Zhao.
Malta meanwhile has been planning to implement a Malta Digital Innovation Authority for some time now.
The country has been looking for ways to regulate digital currencies, cryptocurrency exchanges, blockchain-based businesses as well as coordinate initial coin offerings (ICOs).
Malta officials have even invited Zhao to brainstorm with Maltese government authorities on how to develop legislation that is favorable to cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses.
Joseph Muscat, Malta’s Prime Minister, tweeted his approval of Binance’s impending relocation with the message, “Welcome to #Malta @binance…We aim to be the global trailblazers in the regulation of blockchain-based businesses.”
Legal, criminal troubles
Binance recently found its operations basically shut down in Hong Kong and Japan. Financial regulators in Asia and the United States have been making it difficult for Binance to operate its business from a permanent location.
Under current Hong Kong law, Binance is not allowed to trade digital currencies as though they were securities.
The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission sent letters of warning to Binance to refrain from trading in cryptocurrencies.
Binance also relocated its staff and closed an office in Japan after several regulatory disagreements with authorities. There were reports that Binance might face criminal charges there.
The Financial Services Agency of Japan issued Binance a letter of stern warning for operating its business in the country without approval, official registration or licensing.
Binance had also recently found itself the victim of cybercrimes.
In January, Binance was the target of a brazen and professionally planned cyber-hacking and phishing scam that saw scores of its customers personal data stolen by hackers.
The hackers then unsuccessfully tried to steal and transfer pilfered cryptocurrencies to clandestine accounts.
Binance was launched in 2017 by founder and Chief Executive Officer Zhao Changpeng. The exchange reportedly has over a client base numbering over 6 million users.
The company reportedly transacts over $1 billion in cryptocurrency trades daily.