Regulatory concerns about Binance.us and its owner Changpeng Zhou (CZ) have reportedly led investors to back a $ 100 million financing round.
The failed financing round also prompted Brian Brooks, CEO of Binance.us, to resign surprisingly after only three months as managing director.
Brooks, former acting auditor and former chief legal officer of rival exchange Coinbase, cited “strategic differences” as he stepped aside. The financing round was intended as the first step on Binance.us’ path towards an initial public offering (IPO).
According to the New York Times, Brooks first wooed potential investors, including Ray Lane of venture capital firm GreatPoint and a senior executive at Japanese holding company SoftBank, with assurances that Binance.us would comply with all US regulatory guidelines.
However, investors have reportedly withdrawn amid concerns about CZ’s 90 percent stake in Binance’s US exchange and concerns over an ongoing investigation by US authorities allegedly investigating CZ over money laundering and tax issues.
NYT also reports that a lack of clear separation between the operations of Binance and Binance.us has caused concern among investors.
Brooks publicly announced his resignation via an Aug. 7 tweet. A Binance.us spokesman said the company will continue to take steps towards its goal of completing an IPO in the United States.
An IPO of Binance.us would put the exchange on a better footing to compete with Coinbase, which completed its own initial public offering on April 14th. CZ hoped the investment round would allow Binance.us to gain a better foothold with U.S. regulators to facilitate the IPO.
Despite the recent problems, CZ still seems confident that Binance.us will be able to attract the investments it needs and go public. He told Bloomberg in an interview published Aug. 19 that there is still interest from “top-level” investors, adding:
“Binance.US is also aiming for an IPO in the not too distant future […] It’s only a matter of time.”
Binance has been under regulatory pressure in a number of jurisdictions over the past few months. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) asked Binance to end all regulated activities in the UK at the end of June. As a result of the FCA’s request, major banks, including HSBC UK, have cut loan purchases to Binance.
Related: Binance is reportedly halting sterling withdrawals for UK customers again
Binance ceased operations in Ontario in June after the provincial government took a tough stance against cryptocurrency trading in general. The Bybit and Kucoin crypto exchanges also came under heavy fire from the legislature in the Canadian province.
Additionally, Binance decided to end support for the Korean Won (KRW) and shut down Korean language support services last week as South Korea prepares to tighten its crypto regulations.
On July 3, the Thai SEC also filed a criminal complaint against Binance for illegally doing business with digital assets in the country. The SEC reportedly issued several warnings, which the exchange ignored.