In September it was announced that Binance would be selling off its Russian assets — from its customer’s deposits to loans — to a small, unheard-of crypto exchange called CommEx.
As previously reported by Protos, there’s “almost identical language in CommEX and Binance’s terms of service,” and Russian users are, essentially, being bribed to move to CommEx with “a sweet 25% trading discount for BNB holders.” But there appear to be even closer, more direct ties between Binance and the newly created Russian exchange.
Emails, transfer agents, and oddities
According to X user @intel_jakal, after stopping halfway through a test of the CommEx verification process, they were sent emails reminding them to finish verifying their identity. Unfortunately, those emails weren’t sent from CommEx — they were sent from a Binance email address.
Read more: Binance brokers like Nominex continue to serve Russia
The screenshot above appears as though the user was trying to sign up with Binance, but that wasn’t the case.
As is clear from intel_jakal’s history, they were attempting a sign-up through CommEx on October 3. Instead of receiving an email from CommEx, they received numerous verification reminders from Binance.
Finally, on October 18, intel_jakal received an email that wasn’t directly from Binance, but appeared to be from CommEx itself.
But this is deceiving. The email, while from [email protected], is actually utilizing a Binance mail transfer agent to get the verification reminder to intel_jakal.
Read more: Binance directs Dutch users to Coinmerce — a Binance broker
So what does this mean?
While the email verification is intertwined with Binance’s mail transfer agent, it’s not as simple as “CommEx is Binance.”
Indeed, there are numerous reasons why this may be occurring. For example, Binance could be selling white label exchange software and having verifications and the trading engine rely on it. Binance markets its white-label solution as Binance Cloud, a “one-stop infrastructure solution for local exchange businesses” that is “designed to meet diverse regulatory requirements for markets globally.”
Alternatively, Binance could simply be allowing CommEx to utilize its platform while the sales are completed and customer accounts are transferred.
Whatever the reason, it’s clear that the “arm’s length distance” between the entities isn’t factually accurate. And without knowing who the company’s ultimate beneficial owner is — because they refuse to divulge who is in charge, who is involved, and who owns it — it’s impossible to believe Changpeng Zhao or CommEx’s reassurances that Binance isn’t involved.
Protos has reached out to Binance for comment and we’ll update if we hear back.