Binance founder and CEO Zhao says he’s willing to step down from his role as the company pivots to become a regulated financial institution
We’ve covered Binance several times in recent months after series of reports that the world’s largest crypto exchange is under investigation for money laundering and other regulatory violations in at least eight countries. Binance has come under intense regulatory scrutiny since early May from government authorities as crypto crackdown intensifies around the world.
It now appears the company is willing to cooperate with government regulators as it plans to set up a number of regional headquarters around the world and will seek licenses wherever they are available.
In addition, Binance founder and CEO Zhao said he’s willing to step down from the company he founded four years ago and hand the baton to someone with more regulatory experience as the company seeks to become a regulated financial institution.
In a virtual press conference Tuesday, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao said he had no immediate plans to quit his role but that the company does have a succession plan in place.
“We’re going to pivot to be a fully regulated financial institution going forward,” Zhao told reporters, adding that, during that pivot, he would be “very open” to finding a replacement CEO with more regulatory experience.
Zhao insisted there were no immediate plans for his succession, adding Binance was “keeping our options open. I’ll be honored to continue to run Binance as a regulated financial institution until we find somebody who may do a better job,” he said. As part of its effort to become a regulated financial institution, Binance said early this month that it would no longer offer “stock tokens,” digital versions of shares like Tesla, Apple and Coinbase.
We wrote about Binance after reports that seven countries are now investigating the world’s largest crypto exchange for money laundering and illegal activities. Singapore, the country with some of the toughest cryptocurrency regulations in the world, said it’s going to “follow up on global Binance concerns” amid global regulatory scrutiny of the company.
Italy became the latest in the list of countries cracking down on the world’s largest crypto exchange. In an announcement on July 15, the country’s market watchdog said that Binance is not authorized to carry out activities in Italy, joining a string of global regulatory moves against the 4-year old crypto startup.
In May, Bloomberg reported that Binance was facing a federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service.
Domiciled in the Cayman Islands, Binance was founded in 2017 by Changpeng Zhao and Yi He. The exchange provides a platform for trading various cryptocurrencies. Today, Binance is the world’s largest crypto exchange. Binance provides access to exchange digital currency pairs on the market while maintaining security, liquidity, enabling a safe and efficient deal with anyone, anytime and anywhere.
Before founding Binance, CEO Changpeng Zhao previously founded Fusion Systems in 2005 in Shanghai; the company that built high-frequency trading systems for brokers. In 2013 he joined Blockchain.info as the third member of the cryptocurrency wallet’s team. He also worked at OKCoin as CTO for less than a year, a platform for spot trading between fiat and digital assets.