Crypto exchange Binance’s once cozy relationship with Malta is disintegrating before our eyes. Not over pesky regulations and licenses — but $10 million in crypto.
Local charity unit Malta Community Chest Foundation (MCCF), run by president George Vella, walked back legal threats last week to have Binance’s charity arm kicked out of Malta altogether.
Binance’s charity originally raised the funds in November 2018 and earmarked the stash for terminal cancer patients in Malta.
But the value of the digital assets (mostly BNB donated by Binance) has multiplied 50 times since the campaign.
The Binance Charity Foundation (BCF) has since tried to dilute the funds via a US-based charity instead, citing a need to reduce administrative costs of keeping identical entities in the US and Malta.
Last month, reports showed Vella’s MCCF had filed an injunction to keep BCF (headquartered in Malta) from moving the crypto to the US.
BCF’s public position is it can’t confirm that MCCF would utilize the crypto properly without seeing what are essentially medical receipts — patient information and medical bills, along with crypto wallet addresses to receive funds, according to Malta Today.
For scale, BCF says it has dished out $15 million worth of donations in total since 2018, so distributing the cancer funds would nearly double Binance’s overall charitable efforts almost instantly.
Now, the Maltese charity isn’t having it. While Binance holds the millions in BNB hostage, MCCF shot back on Wednesday to assure patients it wouldn’t hand over medical data to the stateless crypto exchange.
“The Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation further reiterates its steadfast respect towards the protection of all patient information and their private details,” said the group (via Malta Today).
Associated companies linger in Malta
At the time, then-Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat welcomed Binance with open arms. This was long before Muscat’s cabinet fell into disgrace over the death of renowned Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Binance is yet to dissolve its associated entities in Malta.
And as Binance and Malta fight over the crypto meant for terminal cancer patients, BCF continues to list the Malta Community Chest Fund as a partner on its website.
Binance says fund still committed to Malta
For what it’s worth, Binance pledged its charitable “Commitment to the Citizens of Malta” last week.
News reports had covered MCCF’s legal threats over three years in missing Binance files (which turned up a few days later).
“Due to the price appreciation of these crypto assets, these funds are now able to help even more people in need. This dedicated fund will always belong to the citizens of Malta,” said Binance (with emphasis).
“Binance has every intention of fulfilling our charitable obligations, and we are eager to work closely with MCCF to come to a resolution and deliver these crypto donations as soon as possible to the hands of the people who need it most.”