Changpeng Zhao, the founder and CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, is being sued by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for allegedly operating an “illegal” exchange. The regulator claims that Binance and Zhao ran a “sham” compliance programme.
Zhao has denied the allegations. Binance is also under investigation by the US Department of Justice for alleged criminal sanctions violations. Zhao has kept a tight grip on Binance from its earliest days, as a powerful leader committed to secrecy and focused on market domination.
Binance CEO Zhao is a big fan of the Signal messaging app, which has an auto-delete function to ensure privacy. He regularly uses it to communicate with Binance subordinates and other contacts. Zhao has also closely guarded information about Binance’s finances, with the core of the business mostly hidden from public view. This secrecy is necessary to keep Binance ahead of the competition.
Binance became the world’s biggest crypto exchange within six months of launching in 2017. It now accounts for about 60% of global crypto trading volumes. Zhao has crisscrossed the globe in his quest for success, working in Tokyo and New York before embracing crypto and founding Binance in Shanghai.