Major crypto exchange Binance to step up anti-money laundering checks

Binance said that users would, with immediate effect, have to complete a verification process to access its products and services.
Binance said that users would, with immediate effect, have to complete a verification process to access its products and services.PHOTO: REUTERS

FRANKFURT (REUTERS) - Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, said on Friday (Aug 20) that it was bringing in stricter customer checks for anti-money laundering requirements with immediate effect.

Binance has been under pressure in recent months from regulators across the world, concerned over the use of crypto to launder money and lax consumer protection.

The exchange has dialled back its product offerings, including leveraged trading and tokens linked to equities, and said it wanted to improve relations with regulators.

The Dutch central bank on Monday said Binance was not in compliance with anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing laws.

Binance said on its website that users would, with immediate effect, have to complete a verification process to access its products and services. Those who have not done so will only be able to withdraw funds, cancel orders and close positions.

Binance is by some measures the biggest cryptocurrency platform in the world. Its trading volumes in July were US$455 million (S$620.6 million), down almost a third from a month earlier amid cooler crypto markets but still No. 1 globally, according to data from CryptoCompare.

Binance's corporate structure is opaque. Its holding company is registered in the Cayman Islands, according to British court documents and Malaysia's securities watchdog.