Speaking to Bloomberg News, Zhao noted that Binance made Know Your Customer (KYC) processes mandatory “for global users, for every feature” in a bid to attract new users as a regulatory-compliant business. He revealed that Binance lost about 3% of the users after making KYC obligatory.
Binance didn’t immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for confirmation.
KYC is a common practice used by crypto exchanges and traditional financial institutions. It enables companies to verify a user’s authenticity by requesting some form of real-world identification. Binance made KYC an obligation for all of its existing and new users on Aug. 20 to access its products and services such as cryptocurrency deposits, trades and withdrawals.
“We feel that being compliant will allow more users to use us,” Zhao said, adding that most people do feel more comfortable using a licensed exchange.
Binance touted its decentralized, no-physical-headquarters structure for years until Zhao announced in July that the crypto exchange was ready to work with local regulators by saying, “We want to be licensed everywhere. From now on, we’re going to be a financial institution.”
In his interview, Zhao said that, while regulators were initially skeptical about Binance, their attitudes have changed as the communications continued. “When people see me in person, they say, ‘look, CZ is very reasonable, very calm, not a crazy guy.’ So that helps establish their trust much faster,” he added.
Binance recently established three subsidiaries in Ireland as part of Zhao’s vision to set up formal headquarters in different regions worldwide. “When we first started we wanted to embrace the decentralized principles, no headquarters, work all around the world, no borders”, Zhao then said, adding, “It’s very clear now to run a centralized exchange, you need a centralized, legal entity structure behind it.”