Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao, the co-founder and former CEO of Binance, the world’s leading crypto exchange platform has now exited his role as CEO of the platform following a series of investigations that has now culminated in an agreement with the Department of Justice (DoJ).
In an announcement in the early hours of today, CZ announced his decision to step aside and has agreed to plead guilty to violations of US money laundering regulations. The move which CZ describes as “the best for our community, for Binance, and myself” is an attempt to close the criminal investigations into the crypto exchange and secure the exchange’s continued operations.
Binance Reaches Settlement with Regulators
Earlier, the Wall Street Journal citing sources familiar with the matter revealed that the largest crypto exchange has agreed to pay $4.3 billion as part of the settlement for charges brought against it. The platform was charged for breaking sanctions and money-transmitting laws. Separately, CZ will pay a $50 million fine in addition to stepping down from his role as CEO for charges he faces.
Notably, the DoJ will announce the details of the settlement later today at a press conference bringing an end to the years-long investigations. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice, Binance, and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) are all parties to the agreement.
CZ Announces new CEO
Markedly, CZ in his announcement named Richard Teng as Binance’s new CEO effective immediately. According to CZ, Teng will pilot the exchange’s next phase of security, transparency, compliance, and growth.
Before his appointment, Teng was Binance’s Global Head for Regional markets. However, this changing of the guard at the executive level may indicate a proactive step by the exchange to address the challenges it faced and position itself as a compliant and responsible player in the crypto market.
Moreover, the crypto community’s response to the news has been mixed, with some expressing optimism about Teng’s regulatory expertise and others waiting to see the specific initiatives he will undertake as CEO.
What is Next for CZ?
After exiting his leadership role from the exchange he led to meteoric rise, CZ will now embark on passive investing in startups focused on Blockchain, Web 3.0, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), and Biotech. CZ is also available to share his wealth of experience with entrepreneurs in the space.
Interestingly, CZ remains the largest shareholder of Binance and will be available to the exchange for consultations.