“CZ” Zhao, The Founder and CEO of Binance, Stepps Down
In one of the crypto community’s most anti-climatic moments, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the founder and CEO of Binance, stepped down.
CZ said in a lengthy “X” post, “Today, I stepped down as CEO of Binance. Admittedly, it was not easy to let go emotionally. But I know it is the right thing to do. I made mistakes, and I must take responsibility. This is best for our community, for Binance, and for myself. Binance is no longer a baby. It is time for me to let it walk and run. I know Binance will continue to grow and excel with the deep bench it has.”
Zhao also agreed to plead guilty to U.S. money laundering charges leveled against him by regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DoJ).
Binance also agreed to pay $4.3 billion in charges as part of a broad settlement with American authorities, while CZ will pay a $50 million fine.
According to a CFTC press release, Binance agreed to pay $1.35 billion in penalties and forfeit another $1.35 billion as part of settlement actions in an ongoing dispute with the regulator. CZ also agreed to pay $150 million.
The consent order that requires those payments is part of moves by the CFTC to settle charges against CZ and Binance of violating the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).
Samuel Lim, former Chief Compliance Officer at Binance, also agreed to pay $1.5 million.
The cryptocurrency exchange’s leadership has also been restructured, with Richard Teng, Binance’s former Singaporean CEO, taking over the helm of affairs. Teng has had a long career in the financial services industry of over three decades, including a stint at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
Binance also announced the delisting of the following token pairs: APT/BUSD, AXS/BUSD, BAKE/BUSD, CFX/BUSD, CHZ/BUSD, ETC/BUSD, FIL/BUSD, GAS/BUSD, TRB/BUSD, USTC/BUSD.
Binance is Crypto’s Borderless Behemoth
Launched in July 2017, the meteoric rise of Binance as a cryptocurrency exchange has been legendary. Especially coupled with its recent and continuing legal battle with American regulators.
Binance has had a storied history of evolving, changing locations initially from China, then to Japan and Malta. To date, the cryptocurrency exchange has no official headquarters.
Despite many challenges, Binance has remained the largest cryptocurrency exchange by size and volume.
In February, The SEC’s enforcement actions against the BUSD and the subsequent cessation of the stablecoin’s minting was an ominous sign of things to come.
The subsequent court cases and legal drama shed light on the mindset of regulators.
Binance had become (in their eyes) too big.
In the end, the regulatory actions did little to affect the bullish sentiment in the space, and efforts to dampen prices have been marginal at best, with tokens ranging to the next break-out point.