Binance.US Taps Former New York Fed Compliance Chief for Board Role

BY Coindesk | ECONOMIC | 04/16/24 09:00 AM EDT By Nikhilesh De

Binance.US added Martin Grant, a one-time Federal Reserve Bank of New York official who spent 17 years as its chief compliance and ethics officer, to its board of directors, the exchange announced Tuesday.

Grant, the current global head of regulatory affairs at JST Digital, takes on the role months after Changpeng Zhao, the founder and former CEO of the global Binance exchange, stepped down as chair of the board following the global exchange's multibillion dollar settlement with various U.S. regulators on money laundering and sanctions violation allegations. Binance.US was not a party to these settlements.

In a statement, Grant said, "the American digital asset industry is at an inflection point, and I am excited to help guide the future of one of the country?s most influential and customer-centric crypto platforms."

Grant spent more than three decades working in legal and compliant-focused roles with U.S. government entities, Binance.US said in a press release, with almost all of this experience coming during his tenure at the New York Fed.

The exchange is currently battling the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in court as the federal regulator continues its efforts to have U.S. crypto trading platforms abide by national securities exchange rules. The SEC alleged last year that Binance.US (alongside Coinbase and Kraken, among others) are operating as unregistered brokers, exchanges and clearinghouses, a view that at least one federal judge deemed plausible in the Coinbase case.

Binance.US CEO Norman Reed, who used to be the exchange's general counsel, told CoinDesk he felt "pretty good about where we're at now with the SEC."

"My view is they did not provide very clear guidance to the markets about what was, which digital assets were securities or not," Reed said. "They relied on this Howey case about an orange grove that was decided in 1946 under very different factual circumstances, very different legal circumstances."

Reed was a senior enforcement attorney at the New York Fed between 1993 and 2000, before spending six years as special counsel with the SEC and eight years at the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation.

"It's, of course, true that our our trading volumes took a significant hit following the SEC's case and in our transition to a crypto only exchange," Binance.US COO Chris Blodgett said, adding that, "the last two quarters have seen very strong rebounds in volume, revenue and user engagement across the platform, due in part to the "broader market recovery."

The company has also begun to hire back some employees who were laid off last year, Blodgett said.

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