Binance reportedly wanted SEC Chairman Gary Gensler to be an adviser

  • The current SEC chairman has turned down an offer to serve as an adviser to Binance, according to the WSJ
  • Binance is reportedly “much more connected” to its US affiliate than it lets on

Binance – the world’s largest crypto exchange – tried to bring in Gary Gensler, the current chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in 2018 and 2019. The crypto exchange wanted Gensler to serve as an adviser, but the offer was rejected, according to a Wall Street Journal report. However, the current Chairman of the SEC shared some “licensing strategies” with Ella Zhang – former head of Binance Labs, and Harry Zhou – Binance employee.

It should be noted that the crypto exchange previously claimed that Harry Zhou was never employed by the firm in a lawsuit against Forbes’ Tai Chi paper report. However, the case was dismissed a few months later.

In addition, Gensler had a meeting with Changpeng Zhao (CZ) – CEO of Binance – in March 2019 in Tokyo. The chairman also conducted a video interview with CZ for a crypto course at MIT.

The intertwined relationship between Binance and Binance.US

Binance and Binance.US are ‘much more intertwined than the companies have revealed’ claimed the Wall Street Journal report. Based on interviews and communications reviewed by the WSJ, the world’s largest crypto exchange and its US affiliate are mixed personnel and finance. Additionally, the report claims that the global crypto exchange likely had access to Binance.US customer data. This was because the global exchange team maintained the code supporting the crypto wallets of Binance.US customers.

The interconnection between the two platforms was seen when a Shanghai-based employee started trading services for Binance.US ahead of the launch. The incident reportedly took place in September 2019. The WSJ report also claimed that the global crypto exchange was looking for ways to allow US clients to continue trading derivatives. This was despite Binance announcing that it would end services for US-based traders.

In June 2019, Samuel Lim – former head of compliance – suggested that we should let users “get creative and VPN”. In particular, Binance Academy published a now-deleted guide to using VPNs in 2020. Additionally, the report claims that Catherine Kohli – the first CEO of Binance.US – asked her staff to submit weekly reports. This was to refer them to CZ and Wei Zhou – former CFO. In particular, Kohli, who was inactive in the crypto space from April 2021, stated,

“Everyone, please post your weekly logs before tonight 7:00 PM EST/4:00 PM PT so we can be in Wei’s good graces. It’s Saturday for the weekly updates! Send me 2-5 points of what we think CZ/Wei should know about your work in the last week”

Kohli had also directed her staff to inquire about work matters that required access, answers and funding from Shanghai. This instruction was provided just before the staff of the two firms retreated to South Korea in January 2020. The WSJ also claimed that Binance had neglected some parts of its US affiliate’s budget based on messages on Telegram.

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