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Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao Denies Owning CommEx, The Day-Old Exchange That Bought Russia Unit

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Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao denied being the owner of CommEX, the day-old company that bought the exchange’s Russia unit.

“I am not their UBO [ultimate beneficial owner], nor do I own any shares there,” he said in a post on X, adding that some former employees of the Russia unit may join CommEx or already have, which he described as ”a good thing.”

The sale of an established exchange to an entity that just launched and has no experience in running a business of Binance’s scale raised some eyebrows, prompting some to suggest the ultimate owner may be Zhao.

Binance was forced to exit its operations in Russia because of sanctions placed on the country by the US and EU following the invasion of Ukraine. Its continued operations in the country led to allegations that it was aiding the country in violating the sanctions by facilitating the transfer of funds to other countries. 

Zhao said that any transactions between CommEx and Binance were part of a testing phase to ensure proper integration between the two platforms for the transfer of funds. He added that in the months to come it is expected that “there will be crypto transfers between Binance & CommEx as users migrate with their funds.”

To make it clear that Binance was complying with the sanctions, CZ said that “CommEx does not service US or EU users. They have IP and KYC blocks. This is a term we asked for in the deal.”

He added that unlike companies such as McDonalds, Nissan, and Mercedes, Binance’s sale to CommEx has no buyback option, affirming that it had cut all ties with the country and its market.

CommEx And Binance Have Similar User Interfaces

A key thing that raised suspicions over ownership of CommEX was the similarity between their user interfaces. Users have noted that the CommEx interface has a similar look and feel to that of Binance. Zhao responded that Binance had requested that so as to maintain the system’s familiarity for its customers.

“Their design, APIs, etc are similar to Binance,” he said. “We asked for this to ensure a smooth user experience.”

Despite the clarification, CoinTelegraph reported that even the privacy notices and other website pages, including terms of use, were similar between the two exchanges. “For example, CommEx’s privacy notice essentially provides a reworded copy of Binance’s privacy notice, closely following its structure and many formulations,” it said.

According to data from SimilarWeb, Russia has been one of Binance’s largest markets and is currently the top market in terms of user visits to the website, with 6.9% of all visits at the time of writing.

“I don’t think that CZ is ready to abandon such a huge pie like Russia and leave just like that,” one local cryptocurrency observer told CoinTelegraph.

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