Binance.US CEO Brian Brooks quits after just three months

NEW YORK — The CEO of Binance.US, the American arm of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has resigned, robbing the company of a heavyweight former regulator as it grapples with increasing scrutiny from authorities around the world.

Brian Brooks said on Friday he was leaving after just three months, citing “differences over strategic direction.”

Brooks had been acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a U.S. financial regulator, for the last eight months of the Trump administration, and before that had been chief legal officer for Coinbase, another popular cryptocurrency exchange.

“Greetings #crypto community,” he tweeted on Friday. “Letting you all know that I have resigned as CEO of ⁦⁦⁦@BinanceUS. Despite differences over strategic direction, I wish my former colleagues much success. Exciting new things to come!”

In his own tweet, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao wrote: “Brian’s work for Binance.US has been invaluable and we hope he will continue to be an integral part of the crypto industry’s growth, advocating for regulations that move our industry forward. We wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”

Binance.US was founded in 2019 as a way to comply with U.S. regulations after Binance itself was banned in the country earlier that year. The American arm offers a narrower range of cryptocurrency trading options for U.S. citizens.

Its operations have attracted the attention of regulators around the world, as they try to get to grips with the boom in cryptocurrency trading. Last week, Malaysia censured Zhao for “illegal” operations, and in June Binance was banned in the U.K.

Last week Nikkei Asia reported that Binance was looking to establish physical headquarters in multiple jurisdictions in a concession to regulators who have been baffled by the company’s lack of any official registered office. It is domiciled in the Cayman Islands.

“They couldn’t really understand an organization like that. So now we’ll go for a standard structure that regulators around the world understand and are comfortable with,” Zhao told Nikkei Asia.

In the same interview, Zhao touted Binance’s efforts to boost its regulatory compliance teams and its desire to hire “seasoned compliance people so that they speak the same language as the regulators.”

During Brooks’ tenure as acting comptroller, the OCC — an independent bureau within the U.S. Treasury — issued guidance allowing national banks and credit unions to use blockchain technology and certain forms of cryptocurrency.

Reporting by Jack Stone Truitt in New York


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