Police say former BinanceUS CEO Catherine Coley ‘not reported missing’
Concerns about the whereabouts of former BinanceUS CEO Catherine Coley have not been passed on to police, AsiaMarkets can reveal.
Responding to enquiries from this publication, the San Francisco Police Department revealed it has no file relating to the executive, who hasn’t used her social media accounts since abruptly leaving BinanceUS in May 2021.
“We are unable to locate a police report related to the person to whom you referred,” said Public Information Officer Robert Rueca.
So what happened to Catherine Coley? Is she keeping quiet pending possible legal proceedings against Binance? Or, as some are suggesting, is the truth behind her disappearance far more sinister?
Who is Catherine Coley?
Catherine Coley studied International Business and Asia Studies at university, before working at banking giant Morgan Stanley in Foreign Exchange Sales and Training in London between 2014 and 2016.
From there, she departed for Silicon Valley, where she worked as a Foreign Exchange Advisor for Silicon Valley Bank between 2016 and 2017, before taking up her first major role in the cryptocurrency world as ‘Head of XRP Institutional Liquidity’ at Ripple.
It was in 2019, that Ms Coley was hired as the CEO of Binance US, but her tenure with the company would not last long.
What is Binance US?
Binance US is not the same company as the Binance founded in China in 2017, but an American partner operated by BAM Trading Services (of which Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, known as ‘CZ’, is said to be the majority shareholder).
Binance US has been based in San Francisco, California, since 2019 and has been trying to build a customer-base whilst complying with US regulators, who have investigated any potential links between Binance and money laundering as recently as this year.
In 2020, Ms Coley told Forbes about the difficulties Binance US faces in ensuring the exchange isn’t used for illegal purposes.
“The tricky part … is knowing who your customer is and making sure we are accounting for all those who are who they say they are,” she said.
“I don’t think we would ever compromise on that front… (The customers) … have to follow through with proof of address and social security numbers to verify that they are actually US citizens that are alive and well and are who they say they are.”
A bitter end?
It was in May of 2021 that Coley walked away from Binance US, with the circumstances of her departure kept tightly under wraps.
The 32 year old, who had been the only female to serve as the CEO of a major exchange, had seemingly been sacked or at the very least pressured to resign.
Binance US released a statement announcing former Coinbase executive Brian Brooks as its new CEO and made no mention of Coley or the reason for her departure.
Chanpeng Zhao was quoted as saying “Brian is an esteemed leader with an unparalleled blend of experience across traditional financial services, government, and the digital assets industry.”
“Binance.US’s ability to attract an executive of Brian’s caliber is a testament to the strength of its platform. His knowledge and expertise will be invaluable as Binance.US continues to expand.”
Coley’s press appearances and social media activity in the days leading up to the announcement indicate she was not aware of her impeding fate.
Coley, a prolific tweeter who has posted 4,586 times and amassed 45,000 followers, has not used the platform since April 19, 2021 – shortly after her exit from Binance US.
Her Twitter profile no longer lists her as a Binance employee, while her LinkedIn page describes her as the “former” CEO of Binance US.
There are many theories around the reason for her sudden silence ranging from her signing a non-disclosure agreement with Binance, to the far more extreme.
Some social media users have expressed concern about her fate, calling for an investigation into her whereabouts.
It follows reports that she has failed to make contact with friends, including former Ripple colleague David Schwartz who said “she has not responded to my messages.”
Here is a tweet Schwartz spotted recently by asiaMarkets.com:
Coley’s disappearance was considered mysterious enough that it was mentioned in nymag.com, which noted that “she didn’t respond to multiple messages sent to her various accounts” and that while she has a seemingly active Instagram, it appears to be fake.
The publication says that “the number attached to the account, with a Washington state area code, rings until an automated message from Verizon says the call cannot be completed.”
There are some social media users who strongly believe that Coley has been murdered, however for legal reasons asiaMARKETS.com has chosen not to detail the unproven allegations.
Some say there is sufficient reason to believe Coley is perfectly fine, and simply choosing to take some time away from social media.
Frank Chaparro, the Director of News at The Block, told his Twitter followers that she has been sighted at blockchain events.
“Sources tell me (Coley) is fine and recently attended the BTC Miami conference,” he tweeted.
“She attended several large … events and is currently keeping her head down (publicly) while she figures out her next move (and working out legal kinks) after serving as Binance US CEO.”
Online publication Decrypt claimed in July of 2021 that two of its (unnamed) sources have had interactions with her.
“Those include a text message exchange, and communications with Binance that occurred through an intermediary,” the publication said.
This is where the story takes another turn.
Brian Brooks, the man who replaced Coley, resigned from Binance US only four months after starting as the company’s CEO.
The exact reasons for his decision are unclear, however he did give some hint of what was happening behind the scenes.
Brooks, who was once Chief Legal Officer at Coinbase, posted on Twitter: “I have resigned as CEO of Binance US. Despite differences over strategic direction, I wish my former colleagues much success.”
Chanpeng Zhao released a statement confirming the resignation, whilst adding that he “remains confident in Binance.US’s business and its commitment to serve its customers and innovate.”
“As one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the United States, Binance.US is poised to continue to grow and empower the future of finance.”
Binance carries on
Binance US recently announced the appointment of accomplished executive Brian Shroder as its new President as it looks to move on from the departures of Brooks and Coley.
It has also hired prominent blockchain figure Leigh Travers to lead Binance Australia and is reportedly looking for a boss in the United Kingdom.
asiaMARKETS.com has reached out to Coley on her social media accounts but is yet to receive a response.
If you are aware of her whereabouts please reach out on our Twitter page.