The founder and former head of the largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Changpeng Zhao, was released on bail of $175 million, secured by depositing $15 million into a special account and two personal guarantees, CoinDesk reports. According to the court decision, the entrepreneur can leave the United States and return to the UAE, but must appear in court in Seattle 14 days before the sentencing, the date of which is set for February 23, 2024. If these conditions are violated, the maximum penalty is up to ten years in prison.
Last night, Changpeng Zhao resigned as head of the Binance exchange and also pleaded guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act. According to Zhao, first of all, he plans to take a vacation and then invest in blockchain startups, artificial intelligence and biotechnology. He stressed that none of the charges accused Binance of using user funds or manipulating the market.
The exchange itself faces three criminal charges, including operating an unlicensed financial business, conspiracy and violating the Emergency Financial Powers Act. The text of the accusation against Binance itself takes up 30 pages, including the lack of measures to counter the financing of terrorism and drug trafficking, as well as violation of American sanctions, including servicing clients from Crimea, DPR and LPR. As part of the deal aimed at resolving US authorities’ charges against Binance, Zhao will personally pay a fine of $50 million and retain a controlling stake, but will not be able to hold management positions or make public statements on behalf of the exchange. The exchange will pay several fines totaling $4.3 billion.
Richard Teng, who was previously responsible for all regional markets outside the United States, has been appointed as the new head of Binance. Bloomberg wrote about Teng’s candidacy in June after a lawsuit against Binance from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Teng has over 30 years of financial and regulatory experience. At the end of May, Zhao appointed Teng to head all regional markets outside the US, which are managed as a separate division. Prior to this, Teng, according to his LinkedIn profile, worked for 13 years at the Central Bank of Singapore, at the Singapore Stock Exchange, where he served as head of regulatory affairs, and for six years at the head of the Abu Dhabi Financial Center (the so-called SEZ). He received a Master’s degree in Applied Finance from the University of Western Australia. Teng joined Binance in August 2021 as platform director in Singapore, and Zhao says his hiring was quick even by industry standards.
The Bitcoin (BTC) rate fell by 2.3% from November 21 to November 22, immediately reaching $35,660 in pairs with the stablecoin Tether USD (USDT) on the Binance exchange. At 15:00 Hong Kong time, BTC is trading at $36,529. Most of the top 10 cryptocurrencies by capitalization also fell in price. Ethereum (ETH) is trading below $2 thousand, XRP from Ripple, Dogecoin (DOGE), Cardano (ADA) and Solana (SOL) lost 2-4% in price per day.
Binance’s native token (BNB) reacted with a fall of almost 10% to news of the US Department of Justice’s claims against the exchange, a record fine of $4.3 billion imposed on it, and the resignation of its head Changpeng Zhao. According to DefiLlama, Binance clients withdrew about $1 billion from the platform in one day. BNB reacted by rising to $271 to the first news that an agreement between the US authorities and the exchange would be reached, but when details emerged, in particular about Zhao’s resignation, the token dropped sharply in price. At the time of publication, the BNB rate is $236.
Amid the problems of the largest crypto exchange, the price of the token of the bankrupt exchange FTX (FTT) sharply increased in price. Investors are likely expecting a restart of the site, which has been repeatedly discussed by business representatives and regulators in the United States. FTT has grown by more than 15% over the past day and is trading at $3.55.
Jumps in prices for cryptocurrencies provoked a massive liquidation of margin positions of traders on crypto exchanges. According to Coinglass, over the past 24 hours, more than 94 thousand traders collectively lost more than $230 million due to forced closures of their positions. The largest order in the amount of $2.35 million was forcibly closed on the Bybit exchange.
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