Binance could face heavy fines over stock tokens warns German regulator
Binance’s attempts to bridge traditional markets with the cryptocurrency space in the form of fractionalized stock tokens has drawn the attention of Germany’s financial regulator.
The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) warned on Wednesday that the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange could face heavy fines for launching security-tracking tokens without an accompanying investor prospectus.
Binance launched fractionalized stock tokens for Apple, MicroStrategy and Microsoft on April 26, adding to tokens for Coinbase and Tesla which launched earlier in the month. The exchange had employed German equity firm CM-Equity AG to hold its “depository portfolio of underlying securities” which Binance claims provides full financial backing for the tokens.
The regulator said Binance’s failure to provide an investor prospectus for either of the stock tokens it launched was a violation of European Union securities law and could result in Binance facing a fine of five million euros ($6 million).
“BaFin has grounds to suspect that Binance Germany is selling shares in Germany in the form of ‘share tokens’ without offering the necessary prospectuses,” stated BaFin.
“Please bear in mind that securities investments should only ever be carried out on the basis of the necessary information,” the regulator added.
Binance was contacted for comment but had not replied by time of publication. Spokesperson Jessica Jung had told Bloomberg earlier that the exchange intended to be in compliance with its various jurisdictional regulatory requirements, and would take steps to remedy the matter.
“Binance takes its compliance obligations very seriously and is committed to following local regulator requirements wherever we operate. We will work with regulators to address any questions they may have,” said Jung.