Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the founder of Binance, has admitted to allegations of money laundering. As a result, CZ has resigned from Binance as CEO of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.

CZ announced in an evening statement on November 21st, “I am leaving my position as CEO of Binance as of today. Although it was difficult to acknowledge, this decision was the appropriate one to make. I admit my faults and must accept responsibility for them. It’s the best thing I can do for myself, Binance, and the community.” CZ declared, “Binance is no longer a child” and that it’s time to take independent strides.

In court earlier that day in Seattle, CZ entered a guilty plea to “failure to comply with anti-money laundering regulations.” According to Zhao’s attorney, Binance’s head has shown his dedication and sincerity by coming to the US from the United Arab Emirates, a country with which the US does not have an extradition arrangement.

CZ’s Fate After the Resignation

Official Announcement: CZ Resigns from Binance After Pleading Guilty To Money Laundering Allegation in 2023

CZ is due to be sentenced on February 23, 2024, and may receive a sentence of up to 18 months in jail. He clarified that Binance will not face accusations of embezzlement or market manipulation from US regulatory bodies.

The biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, Binance, also intends to admit guilt to criminal charges and has agreed to pay a total fine of $4.3 billion, which includes the sum required to resolve civil claims made by regulatory bodies.

With this settlement, the extensive investigations against Binance will end. In a recently posted press release, the company admitted, “At its inception, Binance lacked appropriate compliance measures.”

In addition, CZ declared that Richard Teng, the former Global Head of Markets of Binance, will take over as CEO. According to CZ, Richard is a highly skilled leader with over thirty years of financial services and management expertise. Richard will ensure that security, transparency, compliance, and growth are the main priorities as Binance moves into the next phase.

Wall Street Journal sources claim that although CZ is leaving the operational position, he can keep a sizeable ownership position in the business according to the CEO succession arrangement. This result is similar to that of BitMEX’s former CEO, Arthur Hayes, who entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to two years of probation for breaking anti-money laundering rules.

“What lies ahead for me? I’m going to have a nap beforehand. I haven’t taken a real day off (with my phone off) in six and a half years,” CZ said, clarifying that he doesn’t see himself running any company as CEO in the future. However, he intends to invest in and take a stake in a few Web3, blockchain, DeFi, AI, and biotech firms. He’s willing to counsel a few entrepreneurs as well.

Summary of CZ’s role in Binance

Official Announcement: CZ Resigns from Binance After Pleading Guilty To Money Laundering Allegation in 2023

Before establishing Binance in July 2017, CZ worked as the Chief Technology Officer of OKCoin, the second-biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, and as a member of the development team of CZ raised $15 million during Binance’s first coin offering (ICO).

Binance developed into the most significant cryptocurrency ecosystem in the world under CZ’s direction. The exchange has grown its market share and impact since FTX’s collapse last year. According to Bloomberg’s rankings, Changpeng Zhao became a billionaire in 2021, with an estimated net worth of $96 billion.

Binance has encountered an unending barrage of difficulties in the past few months. In response to regulatory authorities’ probes around Europe, senior executives started leaving the company at the beginning of this year.

In the middle of March, the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) began investigating Binance and its CEO for possible violations of eight sections of the U.S. Commodity Exchange Act.

The regulations in question mandated implementing measures aimed at “preventing and detecting money laundering and terrorist financing activities.” According to Bloomberg, this was the most extensive legal action U.S. regulatory agencies had taken against Binance.

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Finally, although CNBC conjectured that this might cause disturbances to Binance’s functioning, it is perceived as merely the first phase of a sequence of regulatory measures directed towards the biggest cryptocurrency exchange globally.

The resignation of CZ is the latest negative news in the crypto space, and it has negatively affected the prices of significant crypto assets, including BNB and Bitcoin.

However, many crypto enthusiasts see the decline as one step closer to the highly anticipated bull market. According to some, this event will be the last bad news to usher in the bull market and everyone should fill their bags with profitable crypto assets.