News: Claims Successful Ousting of North Koreans from Crypto Exchange

Binance's head of compliance claims to have successfully kept North Koreans off its platform, despite legal battles and regulatory concerns.

During a speech at CoinDesk's Consensus 2023 event, Tigran Gambaryan, head of financial crime compliance at Binance, claimed that the largest crypto exchange by trading volume has successfully ousted North Koreans from its platform. He stated that the exchange has been successful in circumventing controls and identifying the different entities or types of identification that North Koreans try to spoof.

According to Gambaryan, Binance's 700-member compliance team addresses 1,300 law enforcement requests on a weekly basis, highlighting the exchange's efforts to ensure its platform remains free from bad actors. He also mentioned that Binance has been able to keep North Koreans off its platform, stating, "We kicked their ass enough that they're actually able to recognize that Binance was not the place for them."

The news comes just days after the U.S. Treasury Department's sanctioning agency banned three North Korean individuals for supporting the Lazarus Group, a North Korean hacking team known for crypto thefts. Binance is statistically prone to being used by bad actors, which is why in September 2021, it hired Gambaryan, a former special agent at the Internal Revenue Service where he headed multibillion-dollar cyber investigations.

However, Binance has not been immune to controversy. Late last month, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) sued Binance, the exchange's founder Changpeng Zhao, and other entities. The accusations include failing to register as a "futures commission merchant" while offering unregistered crypto derivatives to U.S. customers, effectively suggesting that the company went out of its way to try to bypass U.S. regulations.

Earlier this week, Binance's U.S. unit terminated its asset purchase deal of bankrupt crypto lender Voyager Digital, citing a "hostile and uncertain regulatory climate in the United States" as a reason. The exchange also quietly lifted restrictions on Russian citizens and residents.

Despite these concerns, Gambaryan remains focused on addressing the threat of nation-state bad actors and pig butchering scams. Pig butchering scams involve scammers convincing consumers to invest small amounts in crypto over time before siphoning these assets – fattening the pig before butchering it.

Binance's efforts to keep North Koreans off its platform are commendable, given the country's reputation for engaging in cybercrime and illicit activities. The exchange's compliance team's ability to address law enforcement requests on a weekly basis is also noteworthy, highlighting the importance of cooperation between the crypto industry and law enforcement agencies.

However, Binance's legal battles and recent decisions regarding its operations in the U.S. and Russia raise concerns about the exchange's commitment to complying with regulations. It remains to be seen how the exchange will navigate these challenges while maintaining its position as the largest crypto exchange by trading volume.

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