Boris Johnson’s younger brother Jo has stepped down from his role as an adviser to Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, which hopes to launch in the UK.
Lord Johnson of Marylebone took on the role of the UK advisory board of Bfinity, a payments firm founded by Binance, in September, the Telegraph reported.
Johnson served on the board alongside Lord Vaizey, the former Conservative culture minister, who is also a member of Binance’s Global Advisory Board.
The former Conservative MP and minister for universities has resigned as scrutiny of Binance’s finances intensifies. Founder Changpeng Zhao insisted it was “business as usual” last week despite investors withdrawing $6 billion in funds. It later emerged that auditor Mazars had stopped working with him.
Johnson’s resignation comes amid a crisis in the cryptocurrency industry following the collapse last month of FTX, one of Binance’s rivals, and the arrest of FTX founder Sam Bankman- Fried, who has been indicted in the United States for alleged fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. .
Johnson and Vaizey’s involvement with Binance underscores the firm’s efforts to gain traction with politicians and regulators in Britain.
Last year, the Financial Conduct Authority blocked the company from launching a UK division over concerns about its transparency.
Earlier this month, Johnson was named chairman of digital education platform FutureLearn as it was acquired by Dutch group Global University Systems.
Johnson told the Guardian: “I’ve taken on a new role as chairman of FutureLearn, the digital learning platform, and I’m cutting back on other activities to focus on that.”
A Binance spokesperson said Johnson will “focus on his new role within the digital learning platform and seek to scale back other activities.”
Johnson sent shockwaves through the Conservative Party in 2019 when he announced he was leaving the cabinet, citing an “unresolvable tension” between his family loyalties and the national interest. His older brother, then Prime Minister, handed him a seat in the House of Lords the following year.
Bifnity is headquartered in Lithuania and was launched by Binance in March. It provides monetary services and converts traditional currencies into digital coins.
In a memo to staff last week, Zhao admitted the next few months would be “bumpy”, but reassured them: “We will get through this difficult time – and we will be stronger for getting through it.”