Binance May Be The Next To Fall In Crypto Crisis
The implosion of FTX, a crypto exchange once valued at $32 billion, has left plenty of people with egg on their faces. But one crypto giant, and the man who runs it, is emerging stronger, at least for now, The Economist reported recently.
Photo Insert: Binance has cemented its status as the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
Binance has cemented its status as the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, making it the dominant middleman of a $1-trillion market.
And Changpeng Zhao, its 45-year-old co-founder, and boss, has triumphed over a younger, more charismatic rival in Sam Bankman-Fried, the fallen head of FTX. Even after the crypto crash, Zhao’s fortune is estimated at $ 17 billion. Who is crypto’s Teflon Man?
Zhao was born in China; his family fled repression when he was 12, after his father was accused of being pro-bourgeois and moved to Canada. At secondary school, he was ranked 10th in Canada’s national math competition, and later studied computer science at McGill University.
In 2015, he launched Bijie Tech, which offered software to crypto exchanges in Shanghai. Four years later, China shut down all exchanges based in the country. Bijie Tech folded soon after.
Zhao launched Binance in July 2017. Many of his staff continued to work from Shanghai, and he declared Binance a “remote” organization, without fixed headquarters.
When China’s crackdown grew fiercer, Zhao moved: he has since based himself in Hong Kong, Singapore, and most recently, Dubai. Binance has evolved into a constellation of global entities—some launched from scratch, others acquired—that makes it hard to get to grips with, even for insiders.
What is clear is that it moves a great deal of money: dozens of billions of dollars’ worth of assets change hands on the platform each day. Binance usually takes a 0.1% fee for its trouble. And Zhao had been linked to money laundering, moving $2.35 billion in dark money in five years, according to an investigation conducted by Reuters.
US investigators are gunning after him, along with the Singaporean police. Binance is banned in the UK, Japan, India, and a slew of other nations.