UPDATE (9:35 a.m. ET): After the publication of this report, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao commented on Twitter that "there is a mix of truth, FUD & misconception. [Binance] is not headquartered or operated in Malta. This is old news & has always been the case, hence there is quite a bit of FUD turning this into a breaking story. The community’s comments show that understanding."
"There are misconceptions some people have on how the world must work a certain way, you must have offices, HQ, etc. But there is a new world with blockchain now," he continued. "Again, some of our community understands this, and some don’t. Hence, lots of confusion.
"Binance has a number of regulated entities around the world, either operated by our partners or by [Binance] directly," he added. "We work closely with regulators and comply with the rules in the places where we operate."
Binance is “not authorised” to operate in Malta, the country’s financial watchdog has said.
Announcing the news on Friday, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) said Binance is not subject to its regulatory oversight.
“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:
“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.”
While it is not clear whether Binance currently has any offices in Malta, it reportedly has had. “We have offices in Malta for customer services, and some compliance people there, but it’s not the headquarters per say. It’s the spiritual headquarters,” Ted Lin, Binance’s chief growth officer told Decrypt in a previous interview. “It’s a name that people think about when they think about Binance.”
It remains unclear where is Binance headquartered and where it is regulated. In a tweet dated Nov. 20, CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao said that office and headquarters are outdated concepts and "time is moving on."
The Block has reached out to Binance for comments and will update this story if we hear back.