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Binance’s Shanghai office has been reportedly shut down by local police. The move has caused over 100 staff members to either switch to remote work or relocate to Singapore.
Update: After the statement from Binance, it has become known that the information about police raids turned out to be just rumors.
Recent reports currently suggest that one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Binance, has had its Shanghai office shutdown causing its many staff members to either work remotely or even completely abandon China and move to Singapore. According to sources familiar with the matter as cited by The Block, there is currently no fully functioning Binance Shanghai anymore.
The cited sources have also added that the office was recently raided by police in the area, for unknown reasons. As such, the office which used to have some of Binance’s most senior management staff, no longer houses them. Today, more than 100 employees who used to work out of Shanghai have now been scattered. It is also said that Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao as well as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Yi He, have both moved to Singapore already.
The Block has noted that a Binance spokesperson rebuffed news about the raid, stating there is really no China office:
“We don’t have entities in China, most of us work remotely in China.”
Regardless, the spokesperson’s comments seem to run against the existence of certain pictures of a Chinese office that has been seen by The Block, with staff members actually working. If the incident is true, an interesting tweet from CZ about a month ago may have suggested something like this might happen. CZ tweeted that offices are “old concepts”, probably meaning that Binance might also fall in line.
Office and HQ are old concepts like SMS and MMS. Time is moving on…
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) November 20, 2019
Earlier this month, we reported that Binance was rumored to be considering opening an office in Beijing. While the news came from anonymous sources and there was no official confirmation, it was said that Binance was considering this move in line with China’s public endorsement of blockchain technology. It happened after President Xi Jinping asked the country to take advantage of the technology and all that it brings. The president’s call at the time, seemed to change the entire atmosphere in the country, supposedly prompting Binance to spread its tentacles. However, speaking to Bloomberg in a recent interview, CZ dismissed the stories as a mere rumor.
Even though China is one of the most active crypto markets, digital currencies still remain outlawed. Chinese financial news platform Caixin recently reported that the Shanghai headquarters of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) issued a joint order with the Shanghai Municipal Financial Regulatory Bureau, demanding that Shanghai district administrative offices do a compulsory inspection of all crypto-related outfits in their respective districts. The aim was reportedly to fish out all such businesses that do any activity with any assets from non-Chinese initial coin offerings (ICO) and to eventually shut them down.
In another interesting turn of events regarding crypto in China, major Chinese social media platform Weibo, recently banned accounts belonging to Binance and only cited “violations of laws and regulations and the relevant provisions of the Weibo Community Convention.” While it was initially thought to be an anti-crypto move, accounts belonging to other exchange platforms such as Huobi and OKEx, are still active.