Binance has completed another week of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) with a report on its proof-of-reserves. However, Mazars, the authors of the previous reserves report, has distanced itself from the industry.
Following the Mazars report earlier this month, the exchange giant reportedly commissioned CryptoQuant to audit its bitcoin reserves. According to the analytics provider, Binance’s BTC customer deposits are 97% collateralized by the exchange’s assets, increasing to 101% when BTC loans to customers are included.
Their investigation also discovered that, unlike FTX, Binance’s native token (BNB) does not constitute a significant portion of its reserves. Other coins or tokens were not considered, as in the previous Mazars report.
Importantly, CryptoQuant stated that Binance was not subject to FTX. A welcome sign for exchange users and the wider crypto ecosystem.
Mazars announced its withdrawal from the cryptocurrency industry on Friday. Bloomberg reports that the auditor has halted “all work for crypto clients.” The move came after the publication of a contentious report about Binance last week. Mazars removed the report from its website in response to the backlash.
Whilst widely understood to be an audit – with no thanks to CZ himself – the report was actually an AUP, or “agreed-upon procedure”. Essentially, a less thorough examination of their reserves. Mazars explained in an emailed statement that “this is due to concerns about how these reports are perceived by the public.”
Mazars has also distanced itself from its work with Kucoin and Crypto.com, as neither report can be found on its website any longer. According to a Crypto.com representative, the company intends to “engage with reputable audit firms in 2023.”
According to Forbes, the relatively minor audit firm Armanino has also confirmed that it will no longer work with cryptocurrency clients. Armanino is well-known in the crypto community for auditing the defunct exchange FTX.
Mazars and Armanino both worked with some of the most prominent cryptocurrency firms, including FTX, Binance, Nexo, Kraken, and Crypto.com. However, with these firms no longer working with the sector, questions about who will conduct independent audits arise.
In a lawsuit filed last month, Armanino and Prager Metis CPAs both face accusations of “willful blindness” to the “racketeering” with the disgraced exchange.
The recent controversy will do little to dissuade consumers of the importance of independent verification of reserves, which have exploded since FTX’s demise.