Binance Charts Regulated Course to New Zealand

Binance’s expansion to New Zealand builds on previous registrations in other jurisdictions, a move that could mark a turning point for the exchange

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key takeaways

  • New Zealand, with a population of 5 million, is considered a fintech pioneer by the exchange and its move there makes sense, Binance said
  • Its expansion to the country follows its successful registration as a financial service provider with the country’s business ministry

Binance has expanded its operations to New Zealand following a successful registration with the country’s business ministry earlier this month.

Binance New Zealand will join existing entities operating under the company’s name, including in Australia, Italy and more recently France. General manager Ben Rose, formerly of local software development firm CodeHQ will lead operations within the island nation.

The exchange and crypto infrastructure provider said the move to become a registered financial service provider with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment made sense despite the country’s lower population and small domestic markets.

“A lot of major tech firms are slow to open a New Zealand office,” Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a statement. “I guess for some, it’s easy to overlook … but we see significant value in having a serious New Zealand presence.”

The island nation, situated east of Australia within the South Pacific Ocean, has a population of roughly 5.1 million, according to the latest national estimates. Of that, roughly 268,000 Kiwis own crypto, with a 69% and 31% split between men and women, a Finder survey shows.

A measured approach

Binance is looking to do things by the book after suffering multiple regulatory setbacks last year across varying jurisdictions. 

Britain’s financial watchdog barred Binance’s UK arm from conducting any regulated activity in July 2021 while regulators across Europe also moved heavily against the exchange’s derivatives operations, forcing it to wind down that section of its business across the region.

Germany, Hong Kong, Italy and Malaysia simultaneously ratcheted pressure last year over concerns Binance had not registered with appropriate authorities or otherwise, at the time, possessed weak anti-money laundering procedures.

It was revealed in a late 2020 request by the Justice Department’s money laundering section that it had asked Binance and its executives to hand over messages relating to the exchange’s detection of illegal transactions and recruitment of US customers, Reuters reported earlier this month.

Still, following the success of its early days, its infusion of cash and growth from trading activity has all but helped it expand to become one of the largest crypto companies in the world.

The measured entrance into New Zealand, as elsewhere, marks a somewhat different approach for the exchange hoping to move forward beyond doubts over its regulatory compliance.

And for locals on the ground, the move could translate into cheaper fees denominated in local currency.

“This is an exciting development for Kiwi investors and those with an interest in the future of Web3,” Rose said in the statement. “Kiwis can expect to have access to many exciting global product and service innovations happening in this space.”


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