Three unnamed sources say Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, commingled billions worth of customer funds in 2020 and 2021, according to a new report from Reuters.
The article cites interviews with three anonymous sources, one of whom claims to have direct knowledge of the Binance group's finances, according to Reuters. The insider said Binance used now-defunct Silvergate Bank to commingle billions of dollars on a nearly daily basis.
This isn’t the first time Reuters has published incriminating reports about Binance. In the past, it has claimed the company engaged in money laundering and unusual money transfers. And like the last reports, Binance has been vehement in its denials of the claims.
Patrick Hillman, Binance’s chief communications officer, said on Twitter that the details in today’s report are false.
“We’ve been very public about where the company had regulatory shortcomings in the past,” he wrote, “there’s no reason for a respected news outlet like Reuters to continue making stuff up.”
Let me explain just how desperate a journalist @Reuters is to publish a negative story. The whole base of their story this morning, is that when users purchased BUSD (Paxos) from Binance, they were taken to a transaction page that had the term “deposit” on it. Users were making a…
— Patrick Hillmann (@PRHillmann) May 23, 2023
Binance did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Decrypt.
For its part, the news outlet did note that they could not independently verify the figures or frequency of the transactions. It also said that it found no evidence Binance lost the supposedly commingled funds.
According to the report, Binance’s stablecoin, Binance USD (BUSD), is at the center of the controversy. The allegations in the report say BUSD was used to credit customers' accounts when they were really depositing U.S. dollars.
BUSD, which used to be issued and backed by reserves held by New York-based firm Paxos, hasn’t been minted since the SEC sent the company a Wells notice warning that it intended to pursue litigation over it “violating investor protection laws” in February. As of this writing, BUSD has a market capitalization of $5 billion, according to CoinGecko—down from $16 billion the day Paxos said it would stop minting the stablecoin.
Three former U.S. regulators were quoted in today’s report, saying that the threat that exists is that customers have no way of knowing where their funds actually are, putting their capital and assets at risk.
Binance customers shouldn’t “need a forensic accountant to find where their money is,” John Reed Stark, a former chief of the SEC’s enforcement team, told the news outlet.