The Binance exchange platform is indeed in turmoil, and is currently the subject of several complaints. This time, it is French investors who are taking legal action against the exchange, according to our colleagues from Mediapart. And the latter highlights other elements. The AMF, Cédric O, and even Emmanuel Macron might have been complacent with the platform. What to think?
15 investors file a lawsuit against Binance
The case reported by our colleagues shows that Binance is no longer in the odor of sanctity in France. According to a document filed on December 14 and consulted by Médiapart, 15 investors have filed a complaint against the trading platform. The charges are heavy: violation of the monopoly of digital asset service providers [PSAN ndlr.] », ” misleading business practice ” and ” concealment of fraud ».
The accusation relates to a salient fact: the registration of Binance with the AMF, to obtain the status of PSAN. It is recalled that if Binance filed an application in December 2020, it did not in fact obtain the sesame until last May. However, crypto companies are not allowed to promote their services if they do not have the approval.
A point underlined by the investors who filed a complaint. They claim, with numerous screenshots to back it up, that Binance continued to promote its services in Francewhen it was not allowed:
“Binance, which only obtained a PSAN registration for its French entity “Binance France” on May 4, 2022, therefore deliberately violated from December 19, 2020 to May 4, 2022 the monopoly attached to the PSANs by continuing to promote its activities aimed at the French public. »
Did Binance advertise in France?
This is what will be debated. Are the publications of Binance in French, its Telegram group “Binance French”, as well as its other interventions are de facto advertising adapted to a French public? No, according to Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, who responded to these accusations:
“Binance did not promote in France before being allowed to do so. Telegram groups are global community forums, which any Telegram user can create or join voluntarily. »
We recognize here a certain vagueness in which the world’s largest trading platform sometimes operates, and which is due, among other things, to the still innovative aspect of cryptocurrencies on the legal level. But not only if we are to believe the information gathered by Mediapart.
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Would the French government, including Emmanuel Macron, have been complacent?
This vagueness would indeed have been encouraged by the French government. Indeed, we remember Changpeng Zhao’s invitation to the Ministry of Financea little over a year ago. The CEO of Binance had discussed there with Cédric O, the Secretary of State for Digital, known for his openness to the cryptocurrency sector. Mediapart also underlines remarks “ complacent from the latter, which would have implicitly encouraged Binance not to follow the rules:
“Look at what the innovation story is. At first, innovation disrupts legacy regulation. And that’s okay. You can’t innovate if you play by all the rules . So it’s still in the gray area, or even black. It then picks up speed, but if you want to scale, to some degree, you have to regulate. »
Mediapart also points to the role of the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), which would also have opened its arms to Binance – too quickly? The AMF’s deputy director of legal affairs, Stéphanie Cabossioras, indeed participated in an online conference on the regulation of security tokens in 2020, with advice from Binance. Then she joined the ranks of the exchange platform herselfby getting hired in early 2022. This raises questions about her role in delivering Binance’s PSAN certification, even though she was not in charge of reviewing the application herself.
👉 Related – UST: Binance.US faces legal action over advertising
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“Connivance” between Emmanuel Macron and Changpeng Zhao?
And this support would go back to Emmanuel Macron. In November 2021, a particularly confident Changpeng Zhao told the Financial Times that the French President would have confirmed to him that his company would be registered . However, it is of course recalled that it is the role of the AMF, and not of the Head of State, to decide on this.
If we refer to the article, we note however that the wording used by Changpeng Zhao is vague. We will therefore not go as far as Mediapart in the interpretation, but we can only underline Emmanuel Macron’s apparent openness to Binance– if we are to believe the words of CZ. He asserted in fact:
“[Emmanuel Macron] really made it clear that France wants to attract innovation, […] and he sees blockchain and Web3 as an important industry that he wants to attract, so he wants to attract us. […] He said “Listen, we want to welcome you here, please apply for license .”»
We also remember Binance’s communications on France, which would become a regional “hub” for the company in Europe. As well as a photo shared between Changpeng Zhao and Emmanuel Macron.
Honored to have dinner with (a few hundred people and) President Macron. @ Choose France 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/qQXWlTKBe5
— CZ 🔶 Binance (@cz_binance) July 11, 2022
So what to take away from all this? If there is collusion, this could raise questions about a government which, on the one hand, wishes to promote stricter regulation of crypto-assets – in France as in Europe – while favoring perhaps the most hegemonic player in the world. sector.
👉 Also in the news – What’s really going on at Binance?
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Source: MediapartFinancial Times – Image: Web Summit via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
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