Crypto exchange Binance.US has faced a series of legal and financial challenges as regulators have increased their scrutiny of crypto companies of all kinds. Now it’s teaming up with another embattled crypto firm in an attempt to regain access to a steady flow of dollars.
For more than a month, customers of the crypto exchange have been unable to either deposit or withdraw dollars, a consequence of multiple banking partners cutting ties with the platform. Enter MoonPay, a payment startup that burst into the mainstream consciousness with a series of high-profile brand partnerships focused around nonfungible tokens.
The access to MoonPay would provide an alternative way for Binance.US’s users to convert dollars to crypto: they will be able use their debit or credit cards, Apple Pay or Google Pay to buy Tethers, and then use those stablecoins to buy the other crypto tokens still available on the platform. Customers have access to this option immediately, according to an email sent by the platform on Monday and reviewed by Bloomberg.
MoonPay Chief Executive Officer Ivan Soto-Wright said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Tuesday that his company would be performing know-your-customer compliance check for users from Binance.US.
“We obviously perform KYC; we follow all the regulatory rules across every single jurisdiction in which we operate, and so we can make it easy for them to top up their wallets,” he said.
In June, the US Securities and Exchange Commission sued Binance.US along with its global affiliate Binance.com, alleging “a variety of securities law violations.” While Binance.US, Binance.com and founder Changpeng Zhao have disputed the allegations against them, customers have fled the platforms.
At the time of the lawsuit, Binance.US had more than $2 billion in customer cryptoassets under management, according to the SEC. In the months since, liquidity on the platform has dried up and its market share has dwindled, leaving it as a marginal player compared with US rivals Coinbase Global and Kraken.
Binance.US market share fell to 0.7% from more than 20% back in April and 22% in March, according to data based on trading volume from researcher Kaiko.
The US exchange told Bloomberg that it “still has banking partners that allow the company to hold customer USD.” Binance.US did not name these partners when asked.
Miami-based MoonPay raised $555 million at a $3.4 billion valuation in late 2021. Last April, it won the backing of celebrities including Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber in another round of funding. In the first quarter of this year, MoonPay slashed its internal valuation for its shares by 72%, the company told The Information. Soto-Wright said that the company isn’t looking to raise fresh capital.
“We’re going to continue to build,” he said.
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