© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Binance app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
By Noor Zainab Hussain and Michelle Price
(Reuters) – Brian Brooks, chief executive of the U.S. arm of global cryptocurrency exchange Binance, said on Friday he had resigned just three months after taking up the role.
The former U.S. banking regulator and crypto enthusiast is resigning at a time when regulators in Hong Kong, Britain, Germany, Japan, Italy and Thailand have cracked down on Binance due to worries over investor protection. Watchdogs globally also fret that the boom in cryptocurrencies is aiding money laundering and increasing systemic risks.
“Letting you all know that I have resigned as CEO of @BinanceUS,” Brooks wrote on Twitter. “Despite differences over strategic direction, I wish my former colleagues much success. Exciting new things to come!”
Headed by Canadian Changpeng Zhao, Binance offers a wide range of services globally, from crypto spot and derivatives trading to tokenised versions of stocks, as well as its own cryptocurrency, Binance Coin.
“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,” Zhao Tweeted on Friday.
Brooks did not respond to requests for further comment. A spokesperson for Binance declined to comment.
Britain’s financial watchdog has barred Binance from carrying out regulated activities in the country. Japan’s regulator has said Binance was operating there illegally and Germany’s watchdog has warned it risked fines for offering tokens connected to stocks.
In the United States, Binance is also being probed by the Department of Justice, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and tax authorities, Bloomberg News has reported.
Responding to regulatory pressure, Binance has curbed some services on cryptocurrency bets, highly leveraged positions and trading with tokens linked to shares, and has pledged to beef up its compliance staffing.
Brooks, who was acting U.S. Comptroller of the Currency from May 2020 to January 2021, joined Binance U.S. as chief executive officer at the beginning of May. Prior to joining the regulator, Brooks had been Chief Legal Officer of Coinbase Global. During his time as acting Comptroller, Brooks led efforts to provide regulatory clarity for stablecoins and digital asset custody.
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