A report that Japanese financial regulators are set to crack down on Binance, the world’s largest exchange by volume, has roiled the cryptocurrency markets.
A Nikkei report indicated Binance has been operating in Japan without a license, and that regulators were ready to take unspecified action against the company. However, Binance denies that there has been any mandate, and insisted it was talking to regulators about any concerns. It called the report “irresponsible journalism.”
The Nikkei report said Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) “plans to issue warnings based on the revised fund settlement law to Hong Kong-based [Binance]. The company was operating in Japan with no registration and judged that investors could suffer damage.”
The news marks the latest embarrassment for Binance, which was hacked earlier this month. Binance is offering $250,000 in Binance Coin (BNB) to anyone who can provide information that leads to the “legal arrest” of the criminals that attempted to hack the platform.
Binance halted trading and claimed to be suffering from a technical issue that saw some account holders compromised, with their altcoins coins sold without authorization and converted into bitcoin. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao assured users that all funds were safe.
On March 7, Binance was hit by a coordinated phishing attack that was also thwarted by the company’s automatic risk management system. The hackers used the stolen credentials to log in and pumped the price of Viacoin, which saw its marketcap increase from $64 million to $159 million in just a few minutes. The plan was to sell at the top and quickly cash out in bitcoin before the scam could be stopped.
However, as withdrawals were already automatically disabled by Binance’s risk management system, none of the withdrawals successfully went out. Additionally, the Viacoins deposited by the hackers were also frozen. Not only did the hacker not steal any coins out, their own coins have also been withheld.
The exchange is now is going on the offensive by offering a $250,000 bounty for “detailed information” leading to the attackers being caught.
“The first person to supply substantial information and evidence that leads to the legal arrest of the hackers, in any jurisdiction, will receive the equivalent of $250,000 USD in BNB,” Binance said. “The exchange rate will be determined at time of transfer. If multiple sources/segments of data are used to lead to the final legal arrests, the bounty may be split between sources.”
The company added that it has currently allocated the equivalent of $10 million in crypto reserves for future bounty awards against any illegal hacking attempts on the platform. They have also invited other exchanges and crypto businesses to join their initiative.
“To ensure a safe crypto community, we can’t simply play defense. We need to actively prevent any instances of hacking before they occur, as well as follow through after-the-fact,” the company said. “Even though the hacking attempt against Binance on March 7th was not successful, it was clear it was a large-scale, organized effort. This needs to be addressed.”
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