Amid Binance pleading guilty to money laundering, speculation in the crypto market suggests the potential of Binance facing a fate similar to FTX and going bankrupt.
Late Tuesday, the Department of Justice (DoJ) sanctioned Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, for purportedly violating anti-money laundering (AML) laws. Under investigation by the DoJ for the past five years, Binance faces allegations of money laundering, illegal money transfers, and violating criminal penalties. Bloomberg reports that the DoJ is seeking a $4 billion settlement in the case.
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao Steps Down Amid Legal Troubles
Following claims and charges, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) resigned and pleaded guilty to charges related to the failure to operate an effective anti-money laundering system, according to the Department of Justice. Despite residing overseas, Zhao personally entered his guilty plea in the United States. In tandem, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) accused Samuel Lim, Binance’s former compliance officer, of violating the Commodities Exchange Act and actively promoting Binance’s infractions. Lim has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle the allegations, pending court approval.
Zhao, taken into custody after being found guilty, was later released on bail. Instead of traveling to Dubai, he opted for a $175 million release bond and committed to returning to the United States 14 days before his sentencing on February 23, 2024. Zhao agreed to disclose his residence to the court, with the possibility of a warrant for his arrest if he fails to appear for his scheduled court hearing, as per a bail application filed in a federal court in Seattle on November 21. Missing court dates can lead to a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.
Binance Thrives Despite FTX Collapse: Strong Finances, New Leadership
Following the collapse of FTX in November 2022, Binance emerged as the dominant force responsible for 66% of trading activity. Experts assert that Binance, with a reported net revenue of $12 billion in 2022 and 128 million users, is deemed too substantial to face a similar fate. Holding a significant portion of crypto shares, predominantly in Bitcoin and Ethereum, Binance’s recent “proof of reserves” report discloses crypto assets totaling $65 billion, reaching $68.4 billion according to DefiLlama.
Particularly noteworthy is the staggering amount attributed to Binance’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), whose net worth stands at $10 billion, earning him a place on Forbes’ “Richest Persons in Cryptocurrency” list. Despite challenges, Binance maintains a robust user base with millions still registering. The firm has recently appointed Richard Teng, a Singaporean businessman and former regulator, as its new CEO.
Important: Please note that this article is only meant to provide information and should not be taken as legal, tax, investment, financial, or any other type of advice.
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