Binance CEO Teng Sees ‘Landmark’ Year as Crypto Goes Mainstream

Teng was appointed as Binance’s CEO in November, replacing founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao as part of a settlement with US authorities that included more than $4 billion in penalties. Zhao remains Binance’s largest shareholder and with a net worth of $41.9 billion, according to a Bloomberg estimate, he became the wealthiest US prisoner when he began a four-month sentence in California this month. Binance pleaded guilty to violating US money-laundering regulations and trade sanctions last year, agreeing to remove Zhao and submit to a three-year monitoring arrangement as part of its plea deal.

Its appointed monitors, Sullivan & Cromwell and Forensic Risk Alliance, have now begun work at the firm, Teng said. Binance has yet to decide on the location of its headquarters, but it’s in discussions in several jurisdictions, he added.

Binance currently has about $114.6 billion in assets on its exchange, according to tracker DeFiLlama. The growth at Binance corresponds with a strong rebound in cryptocurrency markets following a bear market and series of industry bankruptcies in 2022. Bitcoin, the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency, reached a record high of $73,798 in mid-March, though it has struggled to maintain that level amid shifting interest-rate expectations.

Separately, Binance is in “close touch” with its customers regarding the bankruptcy of FlowBank SA, Teng said, after Switzerland’s banking regulator opened proceedings against the company on Thursday. FlowBank had partnered with Binance in an arrangement that allowed the exchange’s clients to keep their trading collateral at the bank, instead of on the crypto platform.

“There’s very little assets on FlowBank on the tripartite arrangement front,” said Teng, adding that all assets should have been “properly segregated and custodied.” The Swiss regulator said FlowBank, which has approximately CHF680 million ($760 million) in assets, no longer has the minimum capital required for its business operations.

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