June was a tough month for Binance, as it faced stress tests worldwide after the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against the crypto exchange and its leadership.
In a nutshell, over the past 30 days, the Belgian financial regulator ordered Binance to cease all crypto services, the exchange failed to obtain a license in the Netherlands, Binance’s Brazil head has been subpoenaed to appear before Congress concerning a Ponzi scheme investigation, and just a few days ago, another ongoing investigation in France became public.
And there’s more: Binance’s United Kingdom-based subsidiary canceled its registration with the Financial Conduct Authority, and in the U.S., the exchange still has a long road ahead in its struggle with regulators. Moreover, the exchange was denied a crypto custody license in Germany and lost its euro banking partner.
Yet, despite all these developments, Binance remains untouched as the top dog among centralized exchanges, with $58.11 billion in total value locked, down from $63.8 billion on June 1, according to data from DefiLlama. The exchange’s next big focus is in the United Arab Emirates, an allegedly “prime destination” for crypto businesses seeking a clear path forward.
“We keep building,” Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a tweet on June 28, following a long and hectic month.
This week’s Crypto Biz looks at the story behind Binance’s debanking in Australia, Bitcoin (BTC) miners preparing for the next halving, MicroStrategy’s latest Bitcoin purchase and Bitfinex’s expansion in Latin America.
Binance Australia got 12 hours’ notice before it was debanked, exec says
There was no prior warning, consultation or redress. In the middle of the night, Binance Australia’s team was suddenly told it would be “cut off” from the country’s banking system. Binance regional manager Ben Rose shared details of the exchange’s debanking in the country at the Australian Blockchain Week on June 26. In May, the company announced that its dollar services were suspended after its payments provider Zepto was told to discontinue support for Binance. According to Rose, the move impacted around 1 million Australian-based customers, with Binance now seeking an alternative payment provider.
Riot Platforms to add 33,000 Bitcoin miners ahead of 2024 halving
Bitcoin miner firm Riot Platforms is loading up for the next halving cycle by purchasing 33,280 “next-generation” rigs for its Texas facility, costing $162.9 million. The miners, which were sourced from MicroBT, will boost the firm’s self-mining capacity by 7.6 exahashes per second (EH/s) to 20.1 EH/s once the machines are installed in the first quarter of 2024. Among the machines, 8,320 are M56S+ models with a hash rate of 220 terahashes per second (TH/s), while the remaining 24,960 M56S++ are slightly more powerful at 230 TH/s.
MicroStrategy buys $347 million worth of Bitcoin amid market thaw
MicroStrategy announced the purchase of 12,333 Bitcoin on June 28, worth $347 million at publication. MicroStrategy now owns 152,333 BTC worth $4.52 billion, with an average purchase price of $29.668 per coin. The coins were bought between April 27 and June 27, with the purchase partly financed by the issuance of new stock. MicroStrategy has been actively purchasing Bitcoin using cash and stock financing during the crypto bear market, sometimes irrespective of price. In Q1 2023, the firm reported its first profitable quarter since 2020 due to a one-time income tax benefit.
MicroStrategy has acquired an additional 12,333 BTC for ~$347.0 million at an average price of $28,136 per #bitcoin. As of 6/27/23 @MicroStrategy hodls 152,333 $BTC acquired for ~$4.52 billion at an average price of $29,668 per bitcoin. $MSTR https://t.co/joHo1gEnR0
— Michael Saylor⚡️ (@saylor) June 28, 2023
Bitfinex launches P2P trading platform in Venezuela, Argentina and Colombia
Digital asset exchange Bitfinex is expanding its operations to Latin America. The crypto company has launched a peer-to-peer trading platform in Venezuela, Argentina and Colombia, allowing users in the South American nations to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ether (ETH), Tether (USDT), Tether’s euro-pegged stablecoin, Tether EURt (EURT), and Tether Gold (XAUT). In April, Bitfinex’s El Salvador arm received a digital asset service provider license from the National Digital Asset Commission. Last month, the exchange partnered with Chile-based crypto platform OrionX to support local education and financial literacy programs.
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