Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao announced his resignation from the cryptocurrency exchange in a post on X.
The news of the resignation itself is not new, following the publishing of the Binance plea deal by the Department of Justice earlier today. As part of the deal, he was barred from maintaining a role at the company for a period of three years.
“Today, I stepped down as CEO of Binance. Admittedly, it was not easy to let go emotionally. But I know it is the right thing to do. I made mistakes, and I must take responsibility. This is best for our community, for Binance, and for myself,” Zhao said.
Richard Teng, currently serving as Binance’s head of regional markets, will take over as CEO, according to Zhao. Teng has served in regulatory positions in the past, including stints at the Abu Dhabi Global Market and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Teng, in a post on X, said that he will reassure investors that they “can remain confident in the financial strength, security and safety of the company,” and collaborate with regulators as well as “working with partners to drive growth and adoption of Web3.”
As part of this week’s settlement, Zhao has agreed to plead guilty to “violating and causing a financial institution to violate” the Bank Secrecy Act.
Zhao will pay a fine of $50 million, though the “government agrees to credit the Recommended Fine against the amount the Defendant pays to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission” in his CFTC suit resolution.
The plea agreements for both Binance and Zhao, according to the DOJ “were negotiated in tandem and are designed to address complex questions about future monitoring and compliance, as well as the ongoing roles of Binance and Zhao in the cryptocurrency industry.”
Zhao said that he’ll “take a break” following his resignation.
“After that, my current thinking is I will probably do some passive investing, being a minority token/shareholder in startups in areas of blockchain/Web3/DeFi, AI and biotech. I am happy that I will finally have more time to spend looking at DeFi,” he continued.
He also noted that the US agencies involved — the DOJ, CFTC and the Treasury — “do not allege that Binance misappropriated any user funds” and “do not allege that Binance engaged in any market manipulation.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission, in a separate suit, has accused Binance of commingling funds. The SEC did not take part in the settlements, according to court documents.
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- Changpeng Zhao
- Department of Justice
- Richard Teng