Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, recently turned down an offer to acquire Tron blockchain founder Justin Sun’s ownership stake in rival exchange Huobi, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Binance wasn’t interested because of rumors that Huobi has ties to mainland China, which Binance wants nothing to do with, according to the person, who requested anonymity. In an interview last month with CoinDesk TV, Sun said Huobi wants to attain a license in Hong Kong and launch a new exchange there called Huobi Hong Kong.
The scope of Sun’s involvement with Huobi has been cloaked in secrecy. A company called About Capital purchased Huobi in October of last year. Sun’s representatives have said he’s not involved with About, though Huobi confirmed in January that he’s a leader of the company. Last week, following a Bloomberg report that Sun was trying to sell his Huobi stake, he compared such speculation to an April Fool’s joke.
Binance has been led to believe that Sun owns a majority stake in Huobi, the person said.
Sun’s overture was made directly to Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao in the last week or so, the person said.
Representatives for Sun and Huobi didn’t respond to requests for comment.
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“We don’t have any comment to share,” a Binance spokesperson said.