Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, is set to launch a regulated bank that will be owned by crypto investors. According to a statement released on July 12, 2018, the new bank will be named ‘Founders Bank’, and Binance has said that its stake in the venture is five percent.
Crypto Friendly Malta
Long renowned for being a paradisaic European holiday spot, Malta is gaining traction as a crypto-friendly jurisdiction. BTCManager earlier reported that some crypto startups from across Europe have relocated to Malta as a result of its positive attitude to regulating crypto trading.
A unique approach to blockchain-related legislation is responsible for this atmosphere. The island country passed three bills in July 2018 aimed at encouraging an influx of blockchain capital and crypto startups. In a statement, Binance praised the laws, saying that they foster a welcoming environment and remove regulatory grey areas in the Maltese digital assets space.
Silvio Schembri, junior minister for financial services, digital economy and innovation within the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta noted they “are honored to be chosen as the location of the first global community-owned bank.”
Alongside other anchor investors, Binance will make its investment in the bank for a five percent stake offered at a pre-money valuation of $155 million. The statement also revealed that an equity token sale would take place on behalf of the bank under German financial regulations, in partnership with a major European stock exchange later in 2018.
Binance Expansion Strategy
This represents the latest in a series of bold expansion moves by the crypto-trading behemoth, which has recently launched a pioneer exchange service in Uganda and invested in a series of exciting blockchain development startups. According to CEO Changpeng Zhao, Binance is expected to achieve an operating profit of between $500 million and $1 billion in 2018 alone.
Alongside its partners in the new venture, Binance states that it expects to morph Founders Bank into the world’s first decentralized and community-owned bank, subject to receiving the necessary licenses and approvals. The bank plans to conduct an offering using the ICO platform Neufund. Following this, it will then issue what the statement describes as “legally binding equity tokens.”
It remains unclear what position financial regulators in Malta and Europe will make of the plan. To go ahead with the project, the startup must receive approval from Maltese monetary authorities and the European Central Bank (ECB).
Marc Ostwald, global strategist at ADM Investor Services International, summed up the mood surrounding the announcement.
Speaking to Bloomberg, he said:
“This is fascinating, as a concept. I don’t think it’s out of order to call this a seminal moment. Obviously, they’ll have to meet anti-money-laundering regulators. The question will be, how do regulators view this?”