Binance is appointing Brian Brooks, the acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency under the Trump administration, as the chief executive of Binance U.S., the America-focused division of the leading crypto exchange.
By onboarding a former top U.S. banking regulator, Binance is taking steps to deepen its ties to the country. The company was launched in 2017 and is taking the lead with billions of dollars in daily trade volume.
Due to regulatory pressure from the U.S., Binance launched an American division in 2019, providing opportunities for U.S. users to legally access crypto services and the company geo-blocked Americans from using the global platform, binance.com.
Following in the footsteps of Coinbase in onboarding a former U.S. official, Binance hopes to increase mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies.
The company’s decision to appoint Brooks comes at a time when the U.S. government is planning to establish a regulatory framework for crypto assets. Given his background, the new CEO can help handle any troubles that the company may face as a result of the upcoming regulation.
Brooks served as the acting head of the OCC, a unit of the Treasury Department, from May 2020 to January. He had a good history with cryptocurrencies during his term at the OCC, earning the title “CryptoComptroller” on social media due to his non-opposition to digital currencies.
Late last year, when there were rumors that U.S. regulators were working on releasing a regulation that would implement KYC laws on self-hosted cryptocurrency wallets, Brooks responded to the rumor, saying that the U.S. government is “not going to ban bitcoin but are instead being very focused on not killing [it.].”
In an interview earlier this year, Brooks also commented that cryptocurrencies are a better store of value than a dollar since the latter is not backed by anything while cryptocurrencies are backed “by underlying networks and what you are buying.”
Brooks, who formerly worked as the chief legal officer at Coinbase before joining the OCC, revealed that his goal at Binance.US would include making the exchange a robust competitor to Coinbase and reinforcing its commitment to regulatory compliance.
I wouldn’t have taken this job if I didn’t have a strong commitment from the board to lead a strong compliance program.
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