Binance Hires Former Brazilian Economy Minister as an Adviser

Updated by Nicole Buckler
In Brief
  • The world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance has hired a former Economy Minister of Brazil
  • Henrique Meirelles will serve as an Adviser to the trading platform
  • Meirelles also served as the President of the Central Bank of Brazil
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Binance, the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, is stepping up its hiring game with the latest addition to the team of advisors. 

According to the Brazilian newspaper O Globo, the world’s biggest digital assets exchange in terms of trading volume, Binance has hired Henrique Meirelles as an Adviser.

Meirelles served as the President of the Central Bank of Brazil, from 2003 to 2011 and as economy minister from 2016 to 2018.

Binance confirmed the appointment of Henrique Meirelles in the company’s new global advisory board and said it would release more details about this initiative soon.

Binance and regulation

Hiring a high-profile former government official could mean Binance is even more serious about complying with the regulators all over the world. This follows more public and legal scrutiny than ever. 

The trading platform is in talks with the Nigerian authorities about creating a crypto-friendly digital city inspired by Dubai’s virtual free zones. The city would become the first in West Africa, similar to Dubai’s free zones that provide a crypto-friendly legal framework and tax incentives. 

Nigeria is a promising market for the industry, with over 22 million people holding cryptocurrency.

A recent report revealed the U.S. federal prosecutors requested information (to be submitted voluntarily) related to money-laundering data and communications of the platform’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao (CZ). This included messages between CZ and other executives back in 2020.

Binance CEO CZ

According to people familiar with the matter, this request was a part of a still-ongoing investigation into Binance’s compliance with U.S. financial crime laws by the Justice Department.

The Binance CEO insists the company handed over the information requested by the authorities, adding that his messages are “semi-public anyway.”

Not a “Chinese company”

The exchange recently found itself in brand controversy.

Replying to one of the articles that described Binance as “Chinese-origin crypto exchange” on Sept. 1, Changpeng Zhao raised the question of why the exchange is being pegged as a “Chinese company. Just because of my Chinese ethnicity?”

CZ added that he’s been a Canadian citizen for over 30 years.

Later he published a blog post where he shared his thoughts on why comments and classifications like this are racist, defamatory, and damaging. He dispelled rumors that one of the early employees of Binance, who also happened to be a friend of CZ’s, is an owner and/or a Chinese official.

“Because of restrictive laws in China surrounding foreigners (like me, a Canadian citizen), it’s much easier to have a Chinese national as the listed legal representative. Given that Guangying was both a Chinese national and was managing the back office for us, she agreed. This is a very common practice in China. <…> So in conclusion, she does not own Binance, and she is not some secret Chinese government agent,” CZ wrote.

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