Binance Nears Deal to Sell Majority Stake in Gopax to Megazone

Binance Nears Deal to Sell Majority Stake in Gopax to Megazone

Binance is reportedly on the verge of finalizing negotiations with South Korean cloud service provider Megazone to sell a majority stake in Gopax, a local cryptocurrency exchange. According to South Korean news outlet The Chosun Ilbo, Binance plans to reduce its current 72.6% stake in Gopax to as low as 10%.

Strategic Move to Improve Governance

Sources familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity, indicated that Binance is pursuing the sale to enhance its governance structure in response to requests from local financial authorities. This strategic move comes as Binance seeks to renew Gopax’s real-name account contract with Jeonbuk Bank, which is set to expire on August 11, 2024.

Initial Acquisition and Regulatory Hurdles

Binance acquired a majority stake in Gopax in February 2023 to reestablish its presence in the South Korean market. However, South Korean financial authorities blocked Binance’s capital injection by denying the change in the largest shareholder at the time. This setback prompted Binance to explore adjusting its ownership in Gopax to comply with regulatory requirements.

Gopax’s Financial Performance

Despite these challenges, Gopax has shown improvement in its financial performance. In April, Gopax reported a net loss of 51.3 billion Korean won ($37 million) for the fiscal year 2023, an improvement from the net loss of 90.6 billion won in 2022. Additionally, Gopax’s revenue surged by 97% to reach 3.1 billion won, and its net operating loss decreased by 78% to approximately 17 billion won.

Binance’s Dominance and Regulatory Challenges

Binance continues to hold its position as the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, with over 200 million users and managing assets totaling $100 billion. In the past two years, Binance’s user base has grown significantly, adding 40 million users in 2023 alone and 30 million more in the first half of 2024.

Recently, Binance has successfully navigated various regulatory landscapes. In May, the Financial Intelligence Unit of India (FIU-IND) announced Binance’s registration with the regulatory body, marking the exchange’s return to the country. Additionally, Binance obtained a license from Dubai’s regulator, VARA, allowing it to serve retail clients as well as qualified and institutional ones.

However, Binance has faced increasing regulatory scrutiny globally. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed charges against Binance for allegedly operating an illegal digital asset derivatives exchange and evading federal laws. Similarly, the US Securities and Exchange Commission charged Binance Holdings LTD and former CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) with operating unregistered exchanges, broker exchanges, clearing houses, and the unregistered offer and sale of securities.

Conclusion

As Binance approaches the final stages of negotiations with Megazone for the sale of its majority stake in Gopax, the move highlights the exchange’s efforts to align with regulatory expectations and strengthen its governance structure. Despite facing regulatory challenges, Binance remains a dominant force in the cryptocurrency industry, continually expanding its user base and navigating complex regulatory environments.

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