'I Quit Job, Sold House and Aped Into Bitcoin' Ex Binance CEO Tells All

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:
Dec/03/2023

The ousted founder and CEO of disgraced bitcoin exchange Binance celebrated his 10th year in the crypto sector with a tweet.

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"10 years ago today, I quit my job, sold my house, and aped into Bitcoin," Changpeng Zhao said.

Upon interacting with followers, Zhao confessed with a tearing laughter emoji "Mom didn't think it was the right decision at the time".

Zhao plead guilty last month to money laundering charges.

He will also pay $200 million in fines.  Binance has agreed to pay more than $4 billion in fines and other penalties while exiting the U.S. market.

Following a years-long investigation, authorities allege Binance allowed bad actors to freely transact on the platform, enabling everything from child sex abuse and narcotics to terrorist financing for ISIS, Al Qaeda and Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades.

“Binance became the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange in part because of the crimes it committed – now it is paying one of the largest corporate penalties in US history,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

Our colleagues at CoinGeek have long pointed out the connection.

As far back as 2019, Israeli media linked Hamas funding to Binance accounts. In 2021, blockchain detectives tracked more BTC flowing from Hamas wallets to Binance, CoinGeek's Stephen Stradbrooke writes.

He adds:

"While donations to Hamas tend to surge following outbreaks of violence, efforts by Hamas-linked entities to fundraise off the current crisis have so far proven less lucrative. Not that this has stopped Hamas from trying. Despite its earlier moratorium, Hamas followed up its recent attacks with new appeals on social media networks for donations in BTC or the USDT (Tether) stablecoin."

And while Binance is being forced to exit the U.S. market, Zhao is required to stick around a little longer.

He needs to stay in the United States until the Seattle court considers whether he should remain through his sentencing hearing in February, or if he should be allowed to return to the United Arab Emirates, where he is a citizen.

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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