Coinbase CEO sees Binance settlement as a positive step in crypto industry’s regulatory journey

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Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase.

28th November 2023 – (New York) Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, expressed optimism about the future of the cryptocurrency industry following the historic settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Binance. In an interview with CNBC, Armstrong stated that the enforcement action against Binance allows the crypto industry to turn the page on a troubled chapter and move towards a more regulated and transparent future.

Armstrong emphasized the role of regulatory clarity in attracting increased investment, particularly from institutional players. He believes that as the regulatory landscape becomes clearer, more investors will be drawn to the crypto sector, paving the way for the growth of the crypto economy and the transformation of the global financial system.

Last week, Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, agreed to a $4 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. The settlement resulted in the resignation of Binance’s founder and CEO, Changpeng Zhao, who also pleaded guilty to charges related to money laundering violations. The U.S. government accused Binance of violating the Bank Secrecy Act and breaching sanctions on Iran.

Responding to concerns about illicit activities associated with cryptocurrencies, Armstrong rebutted the notion that crypto is predominantly used for nefarious purposes. He highlighted that illicit activity in the crypto space accounts for less than 1% of total transactions, whereas illicit uses of cash often exceed that percentage.

While acknowledging the presence of “bad actors” in the industry, including Binance and the collapse of FTX exchange, Armstrong emphasized that these cases represent only a fraction of the overall crypto ecosystem.

During his visit to the U.K. for the Global Investment Summit, where Coinbase was the sole crypto company in attendance, Armstrong praised U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s leadership in the realm of digital currencies. He expressed admiration for the U.K.’s efforts to regulate digital assets like cryptocurrencies and stablecoins, which has prompted Coinbase to increase its investment in the country.

Coinbase is currently engaged in a legal battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over allegations of securities law violations. Armstrong expressed confidence in Coinbase’s ability to contest the lawsuit, asserting that he feels positive about the company’s chances. He also refuted the notion that the SEC’s actions have forced Coinbase to move operations offshore, clarifying that the company remains actively invested in its home market.