Leading global crypto exchange Binance recently experienced a notable departure with Jennifer Hicks resigning from her position as the firm’s first anti-terrorism financial advisor.
Hicks, who previously worked as a cybercrime investigator at Chainalysis and has a background in the U.S. Navy, joined Binance as Senior Manager of Intelligence and Investigations in late 2021, according to her LinkedIn profile.
The appointment of Hicks to the position was seen as a key step in Binance’s efforts to combat financial terrorism. However, merely two months after her promotion, she has left the company.
Hicks’ departure is part of a broader trend of high-level exits at Binance, including the product manager, chief business officer, general counsel, and head of the Asia-Pacific region.
Another significant exit is that of Stéphanie Cabossioras, the Managing Director of Binance’s French unit.
These departures come at a challenging time for Binance, which is facing stringent regulatory hurdles worldwide. The company’s plan to establish a European hub in Paris, a project closely associated with Cabossioras, now seems uncertain.
The recent focus in the U.S. on the potential use of cryptocurrencies in financing terrorism has intensified, particularly following a report suggesting that Hamas and other militant groups may have amassed significant crypto funds before an attack on Israel.
This development, occurring during Hicks’ tenure at Binance in the U.S., has led to calls from American legislators for President Joe Biden to shed more light on the extent of Hamas’s engagement with cryptocurrency.
Senator Elizabeth Warren also weighed in on the issue, stating:
“The danger of crypto-financed terrorism is real and should be an urgent priority for Congress. There’s a growing bipartisan coalition of senators who are committed to passing this bill and fighting back against terrorism worldwide by choking off the financing.”
Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator.
In response to the report, blockchain forensics firm Elliptic clarified that the extent of crypto fundraising by terrorist groups might have been overstated.
Regardless, the implementation of know-your-customer (KYC) and counter-terrorism protocols by crypto exchanges, especially Binance, has garnered heightened attention in the past year as trading platforms have been more heavily scrutinized by regulators, principally in the United States.