After crypto firm Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao, who’s known as C.Z. in the crypto world, agreed to pay a $50 million personal fine as part of a money laundering settlement, he took to X to reassure clients that the money in the exchange was safe and wouldn’t disappear suddenly like in the case of the once mighty FTX last year.
In a post on X, where he has nearly 9 million followers, C.Z. explained that he was stepping down from the company and would be replaced as CEO by Richard Teng, the former head of Regional Markets.
“As a shareholder and former CEO with historical knowledge of our company, I will remain available to the team to consult as needed, consistent with the framework set out in our U.S. agency resolutions,” C.Z. added. C.Z. is banned from any involvement with Binance’s business until three years after a court-appointed monitor is installed at Binance, reported the New York Times.
“ I am proud to point out that in our resolutions with the U.S. agencies they: do not allege that Binance misappropriated any user funds, and do not allege that Binance engaged in any market manipulation,” C.Z. claimed in his statement.
“Funds are SAFU!” C.Z. finished, referencing a crypto meme that basically means the your money won’t be disappearing.
According to the plea deal, Binance will have to pay a $4.3 billion fine and penalty to the federal government.
Binance is accused of violating money laundering provisions by not properly identifying who was using its service. The government alleged that C.Z. knew its anti-sanctions measures were being circumvented but that he did nothing about it.
News that the fund wouldn’t be affected received a positive reception on crypto X.
“funds are safu but cz was not safu,” wrote one poster.
Others saw the plea as a way to protect crypto users and keep their funds safe.
“WHEN YOU SEE CZ JUST SACRIFICED HIMSELF FOR US AND OUR BAGS[,]” wrote another.
C.Z. has long been a high-flyer in the crypto industry. In 2022, Forbes estimated that he was the richest man in the industry, with an estimated net worth of around $65 billion. In October, that fell by billions of dollars to around $17 billion, according to Bloomberg. If that figure is accurate, it would mean the $50 million fine represents around just 0.29% of his wealth.
However, the Treasury Department called the action “unprecedented,” and said that the settlement would also ensure that Binance would no longer be able to operate in the United States.