It appears that Binance is still on the Swiss corporate registry and Pascal Schmid (the former head of the Cardano Foundation) remains a co-founder right next to Changpeng Zhao.
This has been independently verified through multiple different sources (all of which will be referenced in this piece; every source has been saved and archived in multiple locations as well - so if any of the links in this article 'go dead' or reflect information that is materially different / updated from what it was at the time of publication, then those links will be provided).
Investigating Binance's Swiss Entity
This foray began on monetas.ch (Swiss corps registry site).
A brief look for Binance on there takes us to a concrete entity that lists both Changpeng Zhao and Pascal Schmid as functioning operators and owners of the company.
In addition, the address for the company ("Binance (Switzerland) AG") is given too.
Quick Note: This should not be considered 'doxxing' because this is a publicly listed address for a place of business / registered company, not a private residence. This would be no different than posting the address to a specific McDonald's location ; there is no reason why any reader viewing this content should feel inspired to leverage this information in a malicious manner either - but just in case there are, Librehash would like to make it unequivocally clear that they denounce any and all such efforts, motivations and/or ideas -- please direct your grievances and/or frustrations through the proper legal channels if you have any with them
Seeking Another Lead
Unfortunately, the initial site that we landed upon were asking for a hefty sum of money (in a different currency than what we have on hand) in order to obtain the **full corporate governance records of the Binance (Switzerland) AG entity we sourced through the Swiss corps registry.
Fortunately for us, however, there are plenty of alternative sources on the internet that will allow us to glean this information without incurring further expense.
Cross Referencing With 'Zefix'
Zefix isn't perfect, but they do contain much of the same information that other Swiss corporate registries do - and that's the important part.
User may notice a disclaimer stating:
"The data provided electronically by the internet database Zefix is not legally valid. You can obtain a confirmed information if a business name already exists by REGIX." (forgive the funky syntax ; that disclaimer is translated)
Providing Clarification on the Disclaimer
In the interest of transparency, fairness and comprehensiveness, the disclaimer located at the bottom of the Zefix corporate governance lookup page (cited in the photo above), was re-published to bring it to every reader's attention before continuing forward.
Additional Points of Clarification:
- This disclaimer means that the platform where we are seeking the information is not considered the ultimate authority on corporate registry information. That does not mean that they are fake or invalid. This distinction must be understood by all readers before continuing forward.
- Since we already have the corporate name for Binance in hand, corroborating additional information should be relatively simple. The chances that there is "fake information" implanted into one of these registrars (official or not) is slim to none (something that Librehash has never witnessed in all of the time that it has conducted this specific type of corporate governance research / OSINT).
Moving Forward: Clicking the Link
To bring us back to speed, below is a re-publishing of the screenshot that we originally ascertained from the 'Zefix' website showing a listing for the company, 'Binance (Switzerland) AG'
source: https://www.zefix.admin.ch/en/search/entity/list?name=Binance (Switzerland) AG&searchType=undefined
Upon clicking on said link provided at the bottom of the page where the business results are at, we were taken to the following page
From first glance we can see that the information matches what we found in the first corporate registry (Monetas):
Another Point of Reference
Once again, in the interest of being thorough (and also conducting proper due diligence), we decided to extract **all of the links from the webpage where Binance's corporate governance records were held at since it appeared that there were at least a few critically relevant ones embedded throughout the page (with some of the links being annotated in Swiss, which the author does not speak natively, read or intelligibly understand).
That link extracted list can be found below:
- Fortunately, it appears that we hit 'paydirt', because it led us to an official website that contains all of the Swiss companies registered on the "commercial register" in Zug, Switzerland (right in the heart of where Binance is supposedly located / registered!)
The website in question being referred to can be found here: https://zg.chregister.ch/cr-portal/suche/suche.xhtml
A screenshot of the relevant site can be found below:
As readers can see above, we took the liberty of preemptively entering the name 'Changpeng Zhao' to see if we would be given the same lead, and it appears that we were:
To make things even sweeter, we have the option of sifting among:
- deleted companies
- previous company names
- deleted persons
Let's check out what we get once we check all of those boxes, then search the name Changpeng Zhao:
Looks like there was an additional entry found once we checked those additional criteria!
But what is Sigma Chain AG? A
Further Down the Rabbit Hole
Fortunately, a cursory search on the internet brought us to another Swiss Corporate registrar that does have the necessary information on "Sigma Chain AG".
Curiously, the only individual that has any authority over the company (at the time of writing) is an individual named, 'Guangying Chen' (see below):
Ever Heard of Guangying Chen Before?
Readers can't be faulted if the name, 'Guangying Chen' doesn't ring a bell.
However, this name does carry significance in our investigation of Binance and Changpeng Zhao - because it turns out that they may have been related to Changpeng Zhao's operations for quite some time.
China's 2017 ICO Crackdown
It seems like almost a decade ago at this point, but it turns out that the Chinese ICO crackdown occurred only 3-4 short years ago (from the time of writing).
In addition to the crackdown on ICOs, it listed a slew of companies / individuals whom it claimed were in serious breach of their ordinances.
One of those individuals / entities was rumored to be Binance at the day - but since there was no definitive proof, the claim was summarily dismissed as "FUD".
But even in spite of the rebuttal from Binance and other affiliates claiming that the assertions were "FUD", numerous outlets decided to independently probe into the matter as well to assess the veracity of either side's argument.
Below is an example of such a piece from 'The Merkle':
Fortunately, the article is still online and can be accessed at the time of writing; and in perpetuity now since it has also been archived.
The more relevant bits of the article that address the claim that Binance was one of the 60 companies targeted by the Chinese government for violations of their regulations / laws is summarized with remarkable brevity and depth by 'The Merkle'.
Of particular note is the statement:
"For the time being, there are more questions than answers regarding China's ICO investigation. There is no reason to think Binance is in some sort of trouble right now, as we do not know the full extent of the investigation or the company's role in all of this."
At the time that the article was published, this was a very fair statement to make.
However, in light of the recent corporate governance records that we uncovered in the Swiss registry (specifically re: Guangying Chen), it appears that this disposition no longer holds true.
Librehash Still Possesses the Original PDF and Sheet With Company Names
The specific pdf document that was released to the general public as well as the sheet with 60+ names on it that also had Binance's name was saved by Librehash for the purposes of preservation (just in case a connection like the one we're about to make could be made).
Here is the link to the relevant pdf (hosted on our servers): https://reqs.librehash.org/project/assets/nhfr13uwllccgwco
Quick Note: The link above has an 'ETHNews' watermark because that is where we obtained it from initially; however, at the time of writing, the site 'ethnews' is no longer in business or existence
Below is a screenshot of the same chart, which bears Binance's name:
Notably, in the chart above, we can see an individual named 'Guangying Chen' attached with the company in question (Binance).
The same Guangying Cheng that we saw at the head of "Sigma Chain AG" (the Swiss company where CZ was the former head before 'Guangying Chen' took over).
Bingo. Looks like we have a match. So we can now confirm that Binance was under investigation by the Chinese government. Yikes. Not good.