Binance’s US arm announced on Monday that it had bought the assets of defunct cryptocurrency company, Voyager for $1bn. .
Binance US was the highest bidder for the assets of Voyager Digital, which went out of business in July. The assets were originally set to be acquired by FTX, but after they declared bankruptcy, that deal fell through.
Official records show that Jo Johnson, Boris Johnson’s brother, has been advising cryptocurrency business Binance as it tries to establish an exchange in the UK.
Lord Johnson of Marylebone took up a position on the UK advisory board of one of Binance’s subsidiaries in September, but last week, he quit as Binance’s finances became more transparent and the cryptocurrency sector’s deepening crisis escalated.
According to parliamentary disclosures, Lord Johnson, the former universities minister, served as an adviser to Bifinity, a payments business owned by Binance, along with Lord Vaizey, the former digital minister. Lord Vaizey is also a member of Binance’s global advisory board.
The involvement of two former government ministers highlights efforts by the offshore cryptocurrency company to build legitimacy with regulators and politicians after falling foul of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) last year.
The FCA blocked Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency platform, from establishing a UK subsidiary due to concerns about its transparency. Three separate warnings concerning Binance’s activities have been issued by the FCA.
Binance has also been subject to increased scrutiny from US authorities, who are said to be considering criminal charges against the firm. Binance has refused to comment on the US investigation.
Lord Johnson said last Monday that he had quit Bifinity’s advisory board. He denied to The Telegraph that he was associated with the company or any of its subsidiaries.
A Binance spokesman said: “Lord Johnson has recently taken on the role of executive chairman of FutureLearn. He will be focusing on his new role within the digital learning platform, and is looking to scale back other activities.”
There is rising concern about crypto following the failure of FTX, the second largest exchange after Binance. Lord Johnson has resigned as a result.
Rival exchanges are racing to reassure customers after the collapse, which has sent shockwaves through the cryptocurrency world.
Last month, Binance, which is registered on the Cayman Islands, published a report detailing its financial backing in digital coins, hiring auditors Mazars to conduct a “proof of reserves” report.
On Friday, however, Mazars’ report on cryptocurrency firms was deleted and wiped from the web, and Mazars stopped working with cryptocurrency companies.
In the last week, jittery traders caused $6bn in customer outflows from Binance.
Binance launched Bifinity this year to provide services converting traditional currencies such as the pound and the dollar into digital coins. Bifinity was described as ‘part of the Binance Group’ in a US filing in April. Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s CEO, was its only shareholder, according to the filing.
Bifinity has been collaborating with payment provider Paysafe to enable customers in the UK to access the country’s ‘faster payments’ network. In addition, Skrill has provided a digital wallet.
The FCA issued a warning in March thatBinance, a UK-based cryptocurrency company, posed a “significant risk” to British consumers after providing funding.
Lord Johnson has four current directorships and eight jobs, including his Bifinity role, listed on his official Parliamentary register of interests.
His sibling, the previous prime minister, recently attended a cryptocurrency conference in Singapore.
Lord Vaizey said in July that it was a “tragedy that the FCA was not working harder to regulate crypto companies,” based on Hansard records.
Binance’s US division announced on Monday that it had purchased the assets of a bankrupt cryptocurrency company for $1 billion. The purchase was achieved through Binance.US, which was declared the highest and best bidder for Voyager Digital’s assets. Binance.US won the assets as a result of FTX’s bankruptcy, which was dubbed FTX.