Journalist bluffs his way into a senior Binance job worth $220K per year
An undercover journalist recently bluffed their way into a senior job at crypto exchange Binance — fooling a hiring process that included four separate interviews.
As detailed in fintech blog Disruption Banking, reporter Harry Clynch responded to a Binance job advert for a “Senior Regulatory Advisor – Futures Business” last year.
He submitted a fake resume and LinkedIn profile under the name of Daniel Somerset. Clynch claimed to be an anti-money laundering expert working in the advertised role for Binance competitor Coinbase.
“I was keen to investigate how serious Binance really is about cleaning up its act, and how robust their regulatory recruitment processes are,” wrote Clynch. “So I decided to apply for the role under a fake name and with false credentials.”
Considering the seniority of the role and Binance’s seemingly endless bad press, Clynch assumed he’d fail at the first hurdle. “I envisaged crumbling when asked some complex question about derivatives licensing regulation.”
But four interviews later, Binance offered him the job with a salary of £160,000 ($218,500) and promised a sign-on bonus of £60,000 ($81,900) in Binance Coin (BNB) after six months.
Compliance is a work in progress
Considering the ease at which Clynch secured his senior regulatory role, Binance may be finding difficulty in putting together a team of regulatory experts from scratch.
Binance last year pledged to hire regulatory experts after warnings from swathes of watchdogs worldwide, as well as probes from the US Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department.
Many governmental agencies allege that Binance enables money laundering and tax evasion. Recent hires at Binance include former securities regulators in Canada after a subsidiary incorporated in Alberta.
Binance has hired former Russian and Ukrainian officials to fill senior regional posts. The firm is also pursuing meetings with US officials; Zhao expressed confidence that SEC chair Gary Gensler will “do the right thing” toward crypto businesses.
Still, there’s apparent flaws in Binance’s job hiring process.
“The fact that a journalist can successfully pass off as such an expert on four separate occasions and be offered a senior role in Binance’s regulatory team, suggests that their expertise in compliance might not be as strong as claimed,” Clynch told Protos.
“Tens of billions of dollars pass through Binance every day. For this reason, it is crucial that Binance demonstrates the utmost seriousness when it comes to regulatory affairs,” he added, our emphasis.
Despite regulatory difficulties, Binance claims its regulatory team is a top priority. Chief exec Changpeng Zhao claims he’s spent most of his recent time on compliance.
Binance’s headquarters left China for Tokyo in 2017 due to a Beijing crackdown on crypto exchanges. It’s currently registered in the Cayman Islands with indications of interest to relocate to Dubai or Bahrain.
To date, nobody is exactly sure where Binance’s servers are located, which likely has regulators scratching heads over which jurisdiction is responsible for keeping the exchange in check.
The exchange’s terms of service is bound by the laws of Hong Kong. Binance executives are also incredibly difficult to locate, making it nearly impossible to serve them legal documents.
Binance says it would’ve booted journalist from job… eventually
But now, Zhao says Binance is advising the United Arab Emirates on blockchain regulation.
So, as Binance works on regulatory compliance and educating national governments about crypto, it must button down its hiring process so unqualified candidates like Clynch don’t slip through.
For what it’s worth, Binance did respond to unknowingly hiring an investigative journalist for a senior compliance job (via Disruption Banking):
“All roles at Binance are offered on a conditional basis and are contingent on meeting thorough background checks to verify experience after an offer is accepted,” said the company. “This candidate falsified his background and work experience.”
Read more: [Binance staff exploited users’ crypto trades for personal gain, whistleblower]
“While he was offered a position, like any other company, after signing he would have had to pass our background check which is conducted by an independent third-party. His fraudulent statements and falsified work history would have been easily flagged.”
For Binance’s sake, let’s hope that’s true.
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