Binance is not authorized to operate under the jurisdiction of Malta. The verdict came directly from the Malta Financial Service Authority, the authority responsible for regulating the financial market.
“Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) reiterates that Binance is not authorised by the MFSA to operate in the crypto currency sphere and is therefore not subject to regulatory oversight by the MFSA. The Authority is however assessing if Binance has any activities in Malta which may not fall within the realm of regulatory oversight”.
The statement concludes by pointing out that trading in virtual assets for the public to and from Malta requires a license from the MFSA that complies with the Virtual Financial Assets Act of 2018.
In reality, the statement of the authority is somewhat surprising because it was known since March 2018 that Binance had moved to Malta and the news was welcomed with enthusiasm by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat who welcomed the exchange with an unequivocal tweet.
Welcome to #Malta 🇲🇹 @binance. We aim to be the global trailblazers in the regulation of blockchain-based businesses and the jurisdiction of quality and choice for world class fintech companies -JM @SilvioSchembri https://t.co/3qtAQjOpuQ
— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) March 23, 2018
Not only that: in September 2018 the exchange even made an agreement with the Malta Stock Exchange to launch an exchange to trade security tokens.
Why is it that after almost two years it turns out that Binance cannot stay in Malta, or rather, is not authorized to operate according to local laws?
The mystery remains to be solved. On the website, in the About us section, there is no official headquarters. But there are several locations in the world, including Malta itself, as well as London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Istanbul, Singapore and New Delhi.
At the moment there are no official comments, neither from the exchange nor from the CEO Changpeng Zhao.
Binance was founded in Hong Kong but then left China because of the cryptocurrency ban. After attempting to move to Japan, they announced that they were settling in Malta. But apparently, this relocation was never fully regulated.