Binance is and has blocked tens of thousands of suspicious cryptocurrency transactions in the UAE with many brokers and exchanges using Binance because of its significant liquidity pool, yet the crypto exchange is still facing regulatory scrutiny with Canada’s regulator recently fining Binance for non-compliance with the laws related to money laundering and terrorist financing.

This comes as Meera Judge, the Dubai-based director of regulatory licensing and policy at Binance speaking to Lara on the Block noted that while Binance is doing all it can to ensure utmost compliance, when it comes to exchanges working with Binance is up to them to ensure their own compliance.

By the end of February Binance had registered 178 million registered users, with $3 billion in net inflows between November 2023 and February 2024.

Lara on the Block asked Judge these questions after an interview with her appeared in AGBI magazine where she unveiled that Binance has blocked tens of thousands of suspicious crypto transaction in the UAE.

Judge told Lara on the Block, “Binance continues to go above and beyond industry standards to detect bad actors through proactive measures and collaboration with private and public entities. Binance takes any use of its platform to facilitate “illicit” activity very seriously. It has invested substantial resources in talent and tools to reduce this exposure even further, making Binance an industry leader in this respect.”

She adds, “We have worked hard to build a robust compliance program that incorporates anti-money laundering principles and tools used by financial institutions to detect and address suspicious activity. We proactively block users from sanctioned regions and do this through KYC and a variety of KYC/AML tools and vendors including, but not limited to, Jumio, Onfido, WorldCheck, Elliptic, and CipherTrace.

As Judge explains, their due diligence process includes screening users against extensive database via Refinitiv World-Check that contains major sanctions and terrorism lists. She adds, “This is done on an ongoing basis to ensure that we keep bad actors out of our platform.”

Binance is utilizing a team of 500 compliance officials worldwide, with 100 of them dedicated to transaction monitoring.

Judge believes that Binance’s operational stability is critical to the stability of the broader market, stating that Binance is the largest exchange in the world and is considered a systemically important financial infrastructure.

This however according to Judge doesn’t mean that Binance is responsible for the compliance of other crypto exchanges. She tells Lara on the Block, “Binance’s liquidity pool is significant, so many other broker-dealers and exchanges tend to use us, which is why we face additional scrutiny. Given that Binance’s liquidity pool is significant it is used by other broker-dealers and exchanges however it’s up to them to ensure their own compliance. Binance goes above and beyond industry standards, and we encourage others in the industry to endeavor to do the same.”

Binance has over the past years increased its efforts towards compliance especially as it works to gain regulatory status in several countries. It recently was awarded a regulatory license in the UAE. Earlier this year, Binance noted that it increased year-over-year spending on compliance from $158 million to $213 million, purchasing a raft of new software systems to block and report suspicious transactions. Binance also decided to bring back executive Steve Christie as its deputy chief compliance officer.

Despite all this, On Thursday May 9th 2024, Canada’s financial crime watchdog levied a fine equivalent to $4.38 million against Binance for compliance failings. The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada imposed an administrative penalty on Binance for non-compliance with the laws related to money laundering and terrorist financing.

The regulator, known as Fintrac, found administrative violations including a failure to register as a foreign money-services business and allegedly failing to report large virtual currency transactions of C$10,000 or more in the course of a single transaction, along with the prescribed information.

In 2023, Binance pleaded guilty to violating U.S. anti-money-laundering requirements and agreed to pay a $4.3 billion fine. The exchange also faces civil charges in a SEC lawsuit.

So while Binance has been trying to do so much to increase its compliance, and while Binance now holds a regulated license in the UAE blocking hundreds of thousands of suspicious crypto transactions, and as it announces its registration with the Indian Financial Intelligence Unit after the region banned the platform and over nine others in December 2023, it is still facing the heat in other countries across the globe.

Updated on May 13th 2024 with feedback from Binance

EMURGO Middle East Africa, the investment and commercial arm of the Cardano blockchain platform Cardano in Africa and the Middle East, today announced a strategic partnership with Encryptus, a leading Crypto, Fiat infrastructure provider. This collaboration marks a significant milestone in providing seamless on and off-ramp services to support the Cardano ecosystem, fostering ADA adoption across frontier markets.

EMURGO MEA leverages Cardano’s innovation, security, and sustainability to drive digital transformation, creating impactful blockchain solutions. By partnering with Encryptus, known for its pioneering crypto-to-fiat and fiat-to-crypto transaction solutions.

This partnership empowers Encryptus to unveil a suite of new products designed specifically for Cardano users. These offerings include cutting-edge; compliant payout solutions such as bank wire transfers across over 80 countries, mobile wallet services in more than 40 countries, and an array of gift cards and mobile plans accessible in over 110 countries.

“Our collaboration with Encryptus is a testament to our dedication to not only advancing the Cardano ecosystem but also to innovating the blockchain space as a whole. By integrating Encryptus’ leading crypto-to-fiat transaction solutions, we’re set to unlock unprecedented opportunities for ADA users and continue to lead in the creation of blockchain-enabled ecosystems” said Yosuke Yoshida, Co-CEO of EMURGO MEA.

Shantnoo Saxsena, CEO & Founder of Encryptus, highlighted the significance of the partnership, stating, “True adoption of blockchain technology extends beyond simple access to cryptocurrencies. It necessitates robust off-ramping capabilities that empower users to effortlessly convert ADA into fiat currencies and various payment methods. This collaboration is a game-changer especially in the frontier markets, completing the essential link for broader crypto adoption and enhancing the utility of ADA across numerous markets.”

“Encryptus’ unique banking infrastructure is what sets them apart from their competition. Their ability to provide cryptocurrency services akin to traditional finance services is why we believe the team has the capabilities to build many additional layers of value creation, on top of their existing offerings. We at EMURGO MEA are very excited about the prospects of our partnership, in creating stronger accessibility to ADA and the Cardano chain, with hands-on support from our recent launch of EMURGO Labs,” said Ahmed M. Amer, EMURGO Labs CEO.

Under the partnership, Encryptus will leverage its vast off-ramp infrastructure and regulatory compliance expertise to facilitate efficient ADA-to-fiat conversions. Simultaneously, EMURGO Middle East and Africa will develop smart contracts and additional UI components necessary for the seamless integration of Cardano into Encryptus’ platforms, ensuring a smooth user experience for converting ADA across various payment systems.

This strategic partnership is poised to significantly enhance the utility of ADA, making it more accessible and usable across the globe. By providing efficient, secure, and compliant pathways for crypto-to-fiat transactions, EMURGO MEA and Encryptus are paving the way for increased adoption of the Cardano blockchain, ultimately contributing to the growth and development of the digital economy in the Middle East, Africa and beyond.