In brief

  • The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has stated that Binance isn't authorized to operate in the country.
  • It said that the exchange "is [...] not subject to regulatory oversight by the MFSA."
  • Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao described the news as "a mix of truth, FUD & misconception."

Binance isn’t authorized to operate in Malta, and it’s not regulated either. That’s according to the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), which delivered a public statement on February 21, refuting that Binance has ever been regulated, or indeed, granted a license to operate in Malta

Following media reports insinuating that Binance was a “Malta-based cryptocurrency” company, MFSA issued a strongly-worded public statement denying any authority over the exchange. 

“The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) reiterates that Binance is not authorised by the MFSA to operate in the cryptocurrency sphere and is therefore not subject to regulatory oversight by the MFSA,” declared the regulatory body.

Binance registered in the Cayman Islands

As previously reported by Decrypt, Binance’s headquarters is officially registered in the Cayman Islands, despite many believing the company resides in Malta. Speaking in an earlier interview to Decrypt, Ted Lin, Binance’s chief growth officer, said that Malta was simply Binance’s “spiritual headquarters.”

“We have offices in Malta for customer services, and some compliance people there,” Lin explained, “but it’s not the headquarters per se.”

Back in 2018, Binance moved its operations from its previous headquarters in Japan to Malta, following a falling-out with Japanese regulators. The move was warmly welcomed at the time by the then prime minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat.

According to Binance CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao, the news that the exchange isn't licensed in Malta is "a mix of truth, FUD & misconception."

Nevertheless, the MFSA has since launched a probe into the cryptocurrency activities of Binance in Malta. 

“The Authority is however assessing if Binance has any activities in Malta which may not fall within the realm of regulatory oversight,” it said, adding that, “Admission of virtual financial assets to trading and/or for offering virtual financial assets to the public in and from Malta requires an MFSA licence in terms of the Virtual Financial Assets Act (CAP 590) of 2018.”

Decrypt has reached out to Binance for comment and will update this article if we hear back.