(Bloomberg) -- Binance announced the withdrawal of a license application in Abu Dhabi just over two weeks into the tenure of Chief Executive Officer Richard Teng, who faces the task of reshaping the company after its guilty pleas to US charges.
The website of Abu Dhabi Global Market lists an application from BV Investment Management Ltd. for “managing a collective investment fund” that was withdrawn on Nov. 7. Binance didn’t provide further detail on which application it withdrew.
“When assessing our global licensing needs, we decided this application was not necessary,” a Binance spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday. The company remains “committed” to working with regulators to provide services in the Middle East and beyond, the spokesperson added.
Teng has indicated that he plans to adopt a conventional corporate structure for the world’s largest crypto exchange, including naming a headquarters and board of directors, as well as providing greater financial transparency.
Binance on Nov. 21 pleaded guilty to US anti-money-laundering and sanctions violations, incurring a $4.3 billion fine as well as ongoing oversight from the authorities there. Founder Changpeng Zhao also pleaded guilty and stepped down as CEO, handing arguably the toughest job in crypto to Teng.
Binance was already adjusting its footprint ahead of the US settlement as it fielded a web of probes in key jurisdictions. The company said it exited Russia, Canada and the Netherlands, and wound down its derivatives exchange in Australia. Binance.US lost banking support and saw trading volumes contract.
While Binance globally remains the biggest platform for buying and selling digital assets as well as crypto derivatives, its dominance is waning. The exchange’s share of spot trading volumes slid to 32% in November from 55% at the start of 2023, according to CCData. Its derivatives market share declined to 48% from more than 60%.
Teng is a civil servant turned crypto executive whose resume includes a stint as chief executive of the regulator at Abu Dhabi’s international financial free zone. In an interview with Bloomberg Television last month, he declined to elaborate on the likely location of Binance’s formal headquarters, saying only that the company will make announcements in due time.
(Updates with detail on license application in second paragraph.)
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