FILE PHOTO: Representations of cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Ethereum, DogeCoin, Ripple, and Litecoin are seen in front of a displayed Binance logo in this illustration taken, June 28, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
July 16, 2021
By Tom Wilson
LONDON (Reuters) – Major cryptocurrency exchange Binance said on Friday that users can no longer buy digital tokens linked to stocks, a day after Italian regulators joined a string of financial watchdogs to crackdown on the platform
“Effective immediately, stock tokens are unavailable for purchase on Binance.com,” the exchange said on its website, adding that it would cease all support in October.
The move comes after growing scrutiny of the exchange by regulators from the United States to Europe and Asia.
Italy’s market regulator said on Thursday that Binance – one of the world’s biggest platforms – was not authorised to provide investment services and activities in Italy, even via its main website which offered information in Italian on derivatives and stock tokens.
Stock tokens are digital versions of equities pegged to the value of the relevant share. Binance was offering stock tokens for companies including Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Tesla Inc.
BaFin, the German regulator, said in April that Binance risked being fined for offering stock tokens without publishing an investor prospectus.
Binance users holding stock tokens can sell or hold them over the next 90 days, the exchange said, but will no longer be able to sell or close positions after Oct. 14.
Binance said it was shifting its commercial focus to other product offerings. A spokesperson did not immediately reply to a request for further comment.
(Reporting by Tom Wilson; Editing by Rachel Armstrong)