Binance Axes Stock Tokens for Apple, Coinbase, Tesla, Microsoft, and MicroStrategy

Binance stock tokens were launched in April and previously let customers buy a representation of the stock, without paying commission fees.

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key takeaways

  • The change goes into effect immediately and stock tokens will be unavailable for purchase, but users who currently hold stock tokens may hold them over the next 90 days but must sell them by October 14
  • European users can transition their positions onto CM-Equity AG portal once the new portal is established about two to four weeks prior to the sell date

The world’s biggest digital assets exchange, Binance, announced Friday that it will cease support for stock tokens on its trading service platform.  

The company’s stock tokens were launched in April and previously let customers buy representations of stock, without paying commission fees, in five publicly traded companies: Apple, Coinbase, Tesla, Microsoft and MicroStrategy. All the Stock Tokens listed are products issued and sold by German financial services provider CM-Equity AG, the company said. 

At the time of the announcement, there was about 1 million Binance USD in trading volume on the platform. “We will be winding down support for stock tokens on Binance.com to shift our commercial focus to other product offerings,” the company said in a blog post

The change goes into effect immediately and stock tokens will be unavailable for purchase, but users who currently hold stock tokens may hold them over the next 90 days but must sell them by October 14. If holders don’t sell by that date, all stock token positions will be closed on October 15, it said. 

However, European users can transition their positions onto the CM-Equity AG portal once the new portal is established about two to four weeks prior to the sell date. 

Globally, Binance has been facing a list of challenges and restrictions from governments and regulators. 

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) put out a warning statement today on unregulated virtual asset platforms, specifically Binance. It said Binance is not licensed or registered to conduct “regulated activity” in Hong Kong.

“The SFC does not tolerate any violations of the securities laws and will not hesitate to take enforcement action against unlicensed platform operators where appropriate,” said Thomas Atkinson, the SFC’s executive director of enforcement. “Investors should be wary of the risks of trading virtual assets on an unregulated platform.  If the platform ceases operation, collapses, or is hacked, investors may face the possible risk of losing their entire investments held on the platform.”

A report from Protos alleges that the company is based in Hong Kong, given that the exchange requires users to use the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre in the event of a dispute. Binance registered a new company in the territory earlier this year, and its CEO Changpeng Zhao, or “CZ,” recently posted pictures on Twitter from the City.  

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Separately, UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently warned that Binance Markets Limited — a subsidiary of Binance — is not “permitted to undertake any regulated activity” in the country, Blockworks reported. And earlier this year, The US Commodity and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is said to be probing Binance for allowing US nationals to trade on its platform, according to a report by Bloomberg. 

Binance has been under scrutiny for a number of reasons over the past few months, as regulators also in Japan, Germany, Canada and Thailand have raised concerns about the company and its practices, but Binance said it remains “committed to moving the crypto ecosystem forward.”

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