General counsel of Binance talks about her challenges in crypto

Eleanor Hughes, the General Counsel of Binance, recently interacted with the media to talk about the challenges she is facing in the crypto world. She has covered the grounds under a dispute with the Nigerian authorities and strict monitoring by the US authorities. While she has not pinned a trigger point, it is right to assume that things went south when Changpeng Zhao, the Co-Founder of Binance, stepped down from his position, and the company faced a penalty worth $4.3 billion.

For starters, Binance is facing strict monitoring actions by the Justice Department and the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Richard Teng, the Chief Executive Officer of Binance, has said that the monitors have already begun doing their jobs. Forensic Risk Alliance and Sullivian & Cromwell are the monitors appointed by relevant authorities. There is no tentative timeline for completion of the process, but it could span over a couple of years.

Richard Teng took over the job after Chengpeng Zhao stepped down as a part of the settlement process, wherein it was concluded that the platform was being used by terror groups and criminals.

Hughes joined Binance in 2021 and has defined her job as interesting, except it is full of surprises. The second instance linked to the Nigerian authorities makes this evident. The dispute started in February when authorities detained two employees of the exchange platform, including US citizen Tigran Gambaryan. He was detained with Nadeem Anjarwalla.

Nadeem escaped, but Tigran was captured in prison. Reportedly, some charges were dropped, and the US lawmakers accused Nigeria of holding him hostage. Nigerian authorities remained hellbent on not letting him go. Hughes has addressed this by saying that they have faced allegations about not being registered with authorities in the region – adding that there were no crypto exchange platforms registered at that time.

They had contacted the Nigerian Securities & Exchange Commission, but there was no response from them.

That set off another crisis, or rather a hint at another crisis. Teng emphasized that they have worked to rewire their operations by tightening requirements for new digital tokens and how they work with prime brokers. Teng also said that it becomes difficult to release a fully audited set of accounts since many third-party auditors have decided not to engage with firms that are into digital assets or cryptocurrencies.

A delay in the audited set of accounts is something to worry about for two reasons: one, investors remain in the dark about the legitimacy of operations and financials; and two, authorities in the region are left with few ways to supervise their books.

Binance has said that it has over 5,000 employees, and its digital assets have expanded by $42 billion in 2024 to date.

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Binance has taken steps in the right direction. In India, for example, the platform has registered with the Financial Intelligence Unit to resume operations. The Gulf Binance Co. platform went live only after securing the necessary permits from relevant authorities.

Ankur Sachdev

Ankur Sachdev is driven by curiosity and extensively covers daily events in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. You can also see him write about sports and Artificial Intelligence. As a content writer, he aims to simplify the complexities of the industry. Keeping him grounded is the ideology of learning like a student regularly.

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