In Italy, the Consob has issued an official warning against Binance.
Consob (Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa) is the Italian government authority that oversees the financial markets, for the protection of investors.
The warning states that Binance is offering investment services on its official website without the necessary authorizations.
In fact, in order to provide regulated investment services in Italy, it is necessary to have a special authorization issued by the same Consob, and to date, it does not appear that Binance has any authorisation issued by the Italian authority.
However, not all of the services offered on the exchange’s Italian website, which are aimed at Italian customers, require authorization.
After the publication of the CONSOB statement, Binance published the following reply, explaining that the team takes rules seriously so they will work with the regulators to continue their activities in Italy.
“We are aware of the notice from CONSOB and can confirm that Binance.com does not operate out of Italy. This has no direct impact on the services provided on Binance.com. We take a collaborative approach in working with regulators and we take our compliance obligations very seriously. We are actively keeping abreast of changing policies, rules and laws in this new space. We take our legal obligations very seriously and are committed to working with regulators and law enforcement in a collaborative fashion.
Also, today Binance is celebrating its 4 anniversary.
“Binance just turned four years old (so young!) this week and is evolving, along with the cryptocurrency ecosystem. We are proud of the compliance steps we’ve taken in this short period and look forward to working and partnering with regulators and policy makers to shape policies that protect users, encourage innovation and develop a sustainable ecosystem’.
Binance services investigated by the Consob
In fact, the Consob has issued the warning in relation to only two sections of the site, namely the derivatives section and the so-called “stock tokens” section.
The derivatives section is the one that allows, for example, the exchange of futures contracts and options, which has already been the subject of attention by the Consob in the past.
The section on stock tokens, on the other hand, allows the exchange of tokens collateralized with shares in Apple, Coinbase, Microsoft, MicroStrategy and Tesla.
In the first case, these are regulated derivative products to all intents and purposes, and therefore Binance would have to be authorized to offer them to Italian clients.
In the second case, however, Binance is not offering shares, but tokens that replicate the value of shares. This means that it is not clear if they are regulated financial products, or not, because if on the one hand shares are certainly so, it is not necessarily the case for tokens that replicate their price.
The fact is that the warning of the Consob risks putting in doubt the presence of the offer of these financial products on the website of Binance, addressed to Italian customers, therefore action is requested from the company.
Theoretically, Binance should apply for and try to obtain the necessary authorizations, but this may not be particularly quick. The company could be able to ask and obtain the authorizations, but the timescales might be very long.
The alternative could be that of temporarily obscuring the two incriminated sections from Italian clients, so as to have all the necessary time to obtain the due authorizations.
In the case in which Binance does not intervene, leaving everything as it is now, it could risk the obscuring of the website in Italy.