Largest crypto exchange names ex-U.S. senator Baucus adviser

Binance Holdings, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has named prominent former U.S. politician Max Baucus as a policy and government-relations adviser.

Baucus, a 79-year-old Democrat who served as Senator from Montana for more than three decades including a seven-year stint as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and later as U.S. ambassador to China from 2014-2017, will provide guidance and policy advice covering some of the world’s most important financial jurisdictions and agencies, according to a statement from Binance. He will also liaise with U.S. officials on best practice and policies affecting the industry, it said.

Max Sieben Baucus, former U.S. senator, speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York on Aug. 2, 2017.

Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg

“Binance is committed to working closely with governments around the world, under the guidance of some of the most seasoned experts,” said Binance Chief Executive Officer Changpeng “CZ” Zhao in emailed comments to Bloomberg. “We believe Senator Baucus will play an instrumental role for Binance, the crypto industry and the different government bodies around the world going forward.”

Baucus’s appointment comes at a time of both increased interest in cryptocurrencies and heightened scrutiny by regulators. Crypto has been on a tear higher, with Bitcoin rising more than sevenfold in the past year, helping fuel investments and also attracting attention by government officials to an industry that’s found itself quickly gaining power and influence.

Efforts like the Facebook Inc.-led Libra/Diem have drawn opposition from government officials. Founders of rival exchange BitMEX were charged in October by federal prosecutors in New York with failing to prevent money laundering. And governments are getting in on the act to an extent themselves with research into central bank digital currencies.

“As the crypto industry is still in its infancy, there are many specific issues or topics we would like Senator Baucus to help us with,” Zhao said. “Not only for Binance, but for the industry in general.”

Binance isn’t the only crypto company looking to get some expertise from a Washington insider. announced on Wednesday that Jim Messina, a deputy chief of staff in Barack Obama’s White House, is joining its board.

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