The COVID-19 pandemic badly affected businesses, societies and everything that is close to people’s lives. Lockdowns, travel restrictions and economic downturns have created many socio-economic problems such as higher unemployment rates, bankruptcy of small businesses and more. These problems are destabilizing for society, and it resulted in many people questioning, “how can we move forward in the best way possible?” while sustainability has become the buzzword.
Encouraging sustainable practices is not new. The Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) framework has been rolled out for years as a metric to measure firms’ sustainability. With the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in increased awareness regarding sustainability amongst consumers, the ESG framework has taken on a newfound importance. According to a research done by Moody’s, inflow of institutional and retail investors to ESG products increased by 140% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Most investors have yet to adopt the ESG criteria in their evaluation of blockchain projects or digital currencies, likely due to the relative infancy of the industry. Nevertheless, Binance tries to stay ahead of the market trend by ensuring that the organization fulfills the standards set out in all aspects of ESG. Binance believes that adopting ESG practices would ultimately benefit the users and the entire blockchain industry in the long term.
Existing ESG practices in Binance include:
- Committing to environmental conservation and protection
- Increasing women’s representation and empowerment
- Facilitating financial inclusion
- Leveraging blockchain technology for social responsibility
- Zero-tolerance policy for any form of corruption, including insider trading
Commitment to the environment
There are concerns regarding the environmental impacts of Bitcoin mining. Binance recognizes the environmental problems and is actively seeking climate-friendly blockchain solutions. To reduce the consumption of energy, the Binance ecosystem created and uses one of the biggest green blockchains, the Binance Smart Chain (BSC).
Samy Karim, BSC Ecosystem Coordinator, said, “If the Bitcoin network consumes approximately 113.89 terawatts per hour per year (TWh/year) and the traditional banking systems consume 263.72 TWh/yr, Binance Smart Chain consumes less than 1% of it.”
Binance has also been proactive when it comes to environmental conservation and protection. Binance Charity launched the Tree Millions Alliance in September 2021. It is an NFT tree planting project that aims to plant 10 million trees worldwide.
Changpeng Zhao (CZ), CEO of Binance, said, “Tree Millions is just one step towards mitigating our impact on the natural world; we’ll keep innovating and collaborating to reduce this further.”
Women often face difficulties finding jobs in the blockchain industry for a number of reasons. Binance challenges the norms by providing ample employment and empowerment opportunities for women. In the past year alone, Binance’s female workforce has grown by 83%. Such efforts align with Binance’s strong belief in diversity and inclusivity.
At the leadership level, female representation is also very promising. Currently, over 33% of Binance’s leadership team is women, with more women receiving promotions and leadership appointments on a regular basis. This is double the percentage recorded in FinTech companies, according to Deloitte.
Binance’s mission is to increase the freedom of money, regardless of one’s geographical location or social status, through the use of blockchain and crypto. To achieve this mission, Binance is dedicated to educating cryptocurrency users worldwide to drive blockchain adoption and enable greater accessibility.
Binance Academy, the education arm of Binance, provides easy-to-understand content for free. It is accessible in 15 languages and caters to different experience levels by providing content that ranges from basic to advanced topics.
Binance’s free crypto education initiatives also include the Binance Masterclass. In the Africa region alone, Binance has provided more than 400,000 Africans with proper blockchain and cryptocurrency-related education lessons by running Masterclasses.
Blockchain for social responsibility
On the social responsibility front, Binance set up the Binance Charity Foundation (BCF), which is aimed at tackling the social issues plaguing the world. More specifically, the mission of BCF comes down to the advancement of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development goals.
This mission led to the introduction of many philanthropic projects, including the Pink Care Token (PCAT). Through sponsoring feminine hygiene products in developing regions, PCAT intended to reduce the gender gap. To date, PCAT has helped over 10,000 young women, with Binance Charity planning to scale up these efforts to reach 5 million or more individuals in need.
Zero-tolerance for corruption
Last but not least, Binance has enlisted a strict zero-tolerance policy for corruption, which includes trading restrictions for the company’s employees. Strict internal policies against corruption align with most investors’ priorities. According to a survey from 2020, anti-corruption was found to be the utmost ESG priority for institutional investors.
Pioneering ESG practices
Binance continues to pride themselves as a pioneer in ESG practices, although they recognize that much more can be done. The team has resolved to deepen its existing efforts in environmental conservation, elimination of gender gap, facilitating financial inclusion and further improving its corporate governance policies.
Binance Asia Acquires 18% Stake in Singaporean Securities Exchange HGX
Despite being stuck in regulatory limbo, Binance Singapore has acquired a stake in a MAS-regulated platform.
Binance Asia Service (a.k.a Binance.sg), the Singaporean arm of the world’s leading cryptocurrency trading venue, has invested in the private securities exchange – HG Exchange (HGX) – on December 8th.
Binance’s Strategic Stake
According to the official press release, BAS revealed an 18% post-money stake in HGX. Richard Teng, the CEO of Binance Singapore stated that the platform plans to work collaboratively with HGX to foster the blockchain ecosystem in the region and added:
“Crypto and traditional financial offerings continue to converge. Through this investment, we seek to work with HGX in enhancing offerings of products and services supported by blockchain technology.
In Singapore, we continue to work closely with key government agencies to support the growth of the blockchain ecosystem and development of requisite local talent needed.”
For the uninitiated, HGX was founded by prominent institutions such as brokerage firm PhillipCapital, financial service group PrimePartners, and investment firm Fundnel. Additionally, it is powered by the blockchain platform Zilliqa. Singaporean regulator, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), recently granted HGX a Recognized Market Operator license.
Regulator Tussle For Binance Not Over
Despite acquiring an 18% stake at the regional private securities exchange and getting access to engage with a regulated market operator, Binance is yet to cement its position in Singapore.
Reports earlier suggested that the cryptocurrency firm planned to withdraw its application from the region. Singapore is a tough nut to crack. Besides, with the mounting regulatory threat across different parts of the world, the CZ-led exchange is now looking elsewhere to build its headquarter.
It’s important to note that Binance’s Singaporean entity is under an exemption from holding a license under the city-state’s Payment Services Act (PS Act) for the provision of digital payment token services. In short, Binance Asia Services’ license is still being processed by MAS.
Meaning, the platform is allowed to offer services until its application is being reviewed and will cease after a response from the regulatory authority, be it approval, rejection, or withdrawal. If Binance plans to withdraw its license, the users in the region would not be able to buy and trade crypto-assets through the platform legally.
Earlier in September this year, MAS added Binance.com to its Investor’s Alert List that provides a list of unregulated platforms which may have been mistakenly perceived as being licensed or regulated by the authority. Shortly after, a Binance official clarified that the two entities – Binance.com and Binance Singapore (Binance.sg) – are separate platforms.
Breaking: Binance Expands Business in Singapore Amid Exit Speculations
As speculations about the world’s largest exchange, Binance’s exit from its former hub, Singapore took over social media, the latest update cancelled out all rumours, and determined Binance’s expansion plans. Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao took to Twitter today, declaring that the crypto exchange has acquired 18 per cent of Singapore-regulated private securities exchange, Hg Exchange (HGX).
Binance Exclusive Investment To Cross Regulatory Hurdles
The acquisition has come just in time when Binance was struggling with getting approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to legally provide crypto services in the nation. As HGX is a recognised market operator, it could potentially help Binance cross the innumerable regulatory hurdles.
According to Binance Singapore’s Chief Executive, Richard Teng, with its latest investment into HGX, Binance seeks to expand business in Singapore by offering improved and more centralised services, backed by blockchain technology. However, interestingly, Teng had formerly worked as the Chairman at HGX, henceforth, this investment may not been as out of the blue as portrayed.
“Crypto and traditional financial offerings continue to converge. Through this investment, we seek to work with HGX in enhancing offerings of products and services supported by blockchain technology…In Singapore, we continue to work closely with key government agencies to support the growth of the blockchain ecosystem and development of requisite local talent needed” Teng told the Business Times.
Binance CEO on Collaboration of Centralised approach with Decentralised technology
Earlier this month, CoinGape reported on Binance’s alleged, upcoming exit from Singapore in lieu of regulatory inconvenience. Insider reports claimed that Binance hinted at withdrawing its application with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) because of its overdue approval of an operation’s permit. While Binance CEO declined to comment on the status of his the exchange’s local unit’s licence application in Singapore, he noted that the exchange only seeks to establish in countries with a pro-crypto approach, despite agreeing to become centralised. He asserted that both, risk reduction and Innovation driven economic growth can go hand in hand.
“When (regulators) only go by that metric, they just shut everything down, and yes that’s the best way to reduce risk. But better regulators have 2 metrics – they want to encourage innovation or economic growth and reduce risk. Regulators usually make rules that are much more pro-business when they look at both these metrics.”, The Business Times quoted its impromptu interview with CZ.
FTX overtakes Binance in Bitcoin Futures OI as price reclaim $50k
- FTX has surpassed Binance in Bitcoin futures OI.
- Overall, interest in Bitcoin and other altcoins is starting to increase again.
- Fear and Greed index suggests now is a good buying opportunity for BTC.
Cryptocurrency trading platform FTX has now surpassed Binance and other popular digital currency derivatives platforms in terms of open interest (OI) in Bitcoin. The growing interest in Bitcoin futures comes at the time when the volume and price of Bitcoin are also reclaiming high marks, which somewhat indicates a bullish market ahead.
📈@FTX_Official has overtaken competitors to become the largest exchange in the #Bitcoin futures market, according to https://t.co/poOM1xPG0E data.
The exchange recently announced that, together with its US affiliate, it seeks to raise $1.5 billion.
👉 https://t.co/qyzOcvlZfh pic.twitter.com/VKPe8sKvOc— CryptoRank Platform (@CryptoRank_io) December 7, 2021
FTX records $3.6B OI in Bitcoin Futures
According to the market data by CryptoRank, the overall open interest in Bitcoin futures on FTX exchange has topped $3.65 billion, followed by Binance ($3.4 billion), Bybit ($1.55 billion), OKEx ($1.52 billion), Deribit ($1.30 billion), BitMEX ($520 million), and others. On the 24 hours timeframe, however, Binance leads with more than $25 billion OI in Bitcoin futures.
The growing interest in the Bitcoin market can be considered a bullish sign. OI tends to increase when there are notable inflows of capital to the market; otherwise, the OI drops, as seen recently when Bitcoin crashed below $45,000. At the time of writing, Bitcoin was trading above the $51,500 mark, which a market capitalization above $973 billion, per Coinmarketcap.
Some bullish signs
There are some indicators pointing towards a better market ahead, one of which is the Bitcoin fear and greed index. About 30 days ago, traders in the BTC market were in the “greed” state, which preceded the sudden crash in the price of Bitcoin some days ago. Presently, the market is in the “fear” state, which is considered a buying opportunity.
Other major altcoins have been trending alongside Bitcoin, moving to the upsides since the beginning of the week. The overall crypto market valuation is up by more than nine percent over the last 24 hours to $2.40 trillion.