Changpeng “CZ” Zhao has resigned as CEO of Binance as part of a deal to settle a long-running investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. The deal, set to be formally announced later today, will see Binance pay $4.3 billion in fines for violating U.S. anti-money laundering laws.
For CZ, once the icon of the crypto industry, the resignation caps a remarkable fall from grace. As Binance ballooned into the world’s largest crypto exchange under CZ’s leadership, its flouting of regulations slipped through the cracks.
Today’s settlement forces CZ to relinquish leadership of the exchange he founded in 2017. While the DOJ investigation centered on activity from 2018–2021, CZ’s resignation signifies an attempt to turn the page and bring Binance into compliance. His successor will inherit the urgent task of overhauling Binance’s KYC and AML policies.
Binance CEO to pay $4.3 billion for settlement
The scale of the fines levied against Binance reflects regulators’ desire to make an example out of the industry’s highest flyers. Much like the downfall of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, CZ’s resignation demonstrates that no crypto leader is above the law.
Confirming a $4.3 billion fine is significant, but markets seem to be trading in the red following the news.
But for CZ himself, the curtain has fallen on his legendary run atop Binance. The DOJ deal saves Binance from legal jeopardy but irreparably stains CZ’s once-sterling reputation.