Could Binance CEO Zhao Step Down, Swap In New Regulatory-Friendly Face Of Crypto?
Binance’s CEO and founder, Changpeng Zhao, has stated that the major cryptocurrency exchange will collaborate with local regulators as it establishes Binance regional headquarters.
Changpeng “CZ” Zhao Wants To Work With Regulators
The CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance has stated that he is willing to step down as the company seeks to become a regulated financial institution.
Changpeng “CZ” Zhao stated at a virtual press conference on Tuesday that he has no immediate plans to leave his position, 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.
“We want to be licensed everywhere,” added CZ. “From now on, we’re going to be a financial institution.”
Zhao’s comments came after Binance came under intense scrutiny from regulators who were concerned that its cryptocurrency exchanges could be used for money laundering or that investors would fall victim to scams and runaway bets. Binance is the world’s largest digital currency exchange by trading volume.
Financial regulators in the United Kingdom, US, Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Malta, Lithuania, and Thailand have recently expressed concern about Binance.
In an interview with journalists, Zhao provided a candid assessment of the challenges, stating that he wished to improve relations with regulators. He stated that Binance would seek their approval before establishing regional headquarters, breaking with the company’s decentralized structure.
While emphasizing that he does not intend to leave immediately, Zhao also stated that he is open to passing the torch to a successor.
“This is not a situation where I am forced to step down,” Zhao told journalists, adding that he was willing to pass control to someone who could do a “better job”.
“I’m a technology entrepreneur. We are doing this pivot to be a regulated financial institution and I would be very open to look for a leader with strong regulatory background.”
Binance Plans For The Future
Binance wants to establish a number of regional offices worldwide and is looking for licenses wherever possible, Zhao said. Binance did not have an official head office, he said previously.
Zhao insisted that his succession had no immediate plans, adding that Binance “kept open our options.”
“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.
When reports that the authorities had raided the operations of Binance in Shanghai circulated in November 2019, Binance denied these offices.
Despite the fact that CZ now resides in Singapore, the exchange has ties to China, Japan, Malta, the Seychelles, and the Cayman Islands. Because a number of staff live in different countries, it’s unknown where Binance calls home at the time of writing.
According to data from UK researcher CryptoCompare, Binance’s trade volumes have nearly tenfolded in the last year, reaching $668 billion last month.
“Our goal is to help increase the freedom of money all around the world without sacrificing security and compliance,” Zhao said. “We want to be fully compliant, we want to be fully secure, and we want to protect our users and at the same time we want to move our industry forward.”Source