Matrixport’s Markus Thielen believes that Binance’s payment of a $4.3 billion US fine increases the probability of a spot Bitcoin ETF. In an interview, he said that the settlement fuels the demand for compliant exchanges. He expects the shift to cement Bitcoin as a safe-haven asset, raising the prospects of a spot ETF.
Thielen’s comments come when Binance has pleaded guilty to criminal charges by the US regulators. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao agreed to step down and personally pay a hefty $50 million penalty.
US regulators allege that Binance broke its anti-money laundering laws. The exchange is accused of failing to report over 100,000 suspicious transactions. The transactions allegedly relate to terrorist groups, sanctioned countries, and illegal online marketplaces.
Meanwhile, Binance developed a system to notify its VIP users of their accounts under investigation. According to a Treasury document, VIP users would be informed of circumstances such as account freezes. The activities touched on some US accounts despite the exchange being forbidden from allowing American users.
Zhao admitted to wrongdoing, saying that resigning was the best decision for himself and the exchange. Richard Teng, a Binance executive who will be the new chief of the exchange, said that the resolutions with the regulators let the company turn a page. He also reassured users of Binance’s financial stability, safety, and security in a separate statement.
Settlement favourable to drive institutional Bitcoin uptake
Analysts believe the case settlement is positive for Binance despite the fine, and the resolution is favourable as the fine is less than the feared $10 billion. The Matrixport research says it sets Binance for a top spot among the best exchanges in two to three years.
Thielen projects that as the industry gets regulated, institutions’ uptake of Bitcoin will grow. He expects an environment characterised by institutional adoption to be transformational to the crypto sector.
Binance has been under the radar of the US Justice Department since 2018. In December 2020, the regulators asked the exchange to provide internal documents for criminal investigations. The acceptance of responsibility ends the long-standing tussle amid calls for scrutiny of the crypto sector.
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