Binance Founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao embraced government efforts to oversee the cryptocurrency market, where growth and investor interest have exploded recently.
Zhao's remarks came just as U.S. financial regulators unveiled an inter-agency roadmap for how to craft stricter crypto regulation. Dubbed the “crypto sprint,” the agenda sketches out a to-do list for 2022 that will offer crypto players more clarity on the rules of the road, and comes as the industry is moving to shape the debate.
“Cryptocurrencies didn’t grow big because of this lack of protection or lack of regulation. Binance has grown to be the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the crypto industry because we protect our users and the users trust us,” Zhao told Yahoo Finance on Tuesday.
“We believe it should be up to each nation’s policymakers and their constituents to decide who should have oversight over the industry,” the bill states.
While he admitted that cryptocurrency is still nascent, Zhao added that “I think the industry has grown to a point where there are many smaller players who are less protective of their users and we would like to see more regulation in the space so the retail consumers are protected.”
Big profits, governance headaches
Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, has earned record-breaking profits this year as cryptocurrencies surged when Bitcoin (BTC-USD) cracked a new all time high earlier in November, hitting levels just below $69,000. The notoriously volatile digital coin market has had a rough week, with Bitcoin shedding over $10,000 from its record.
Zhao insisted his company was wrapping up its latest round of funding “in about a month or two,” as he tries to smooth over Binance's friction with regulators, who are trying to make sense of the asset class — and provide effective investor protections.
Meanwhile, the exchange’s U.S. subsidiary, Binance.US, has seen a revolving door of three different CEOs this year alone. Catherine Coley was replaced in April by the former acting head of the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Brian Brooks — who left to head the crypto infrastructure and banking company after only a few months on the job.
Greetings #crypto community. Letting you all know that I have resigned as CEO of @BinanceUS . Despite differences over strategic direction, I wish my former colleagues much success. Exciting new things to come!
— Brian Brooks (@BrianBrooksUS) August 6, 2021
More recently, Binance.US promoted Brian Shroder to CEO and hired Amjad Qaqish — another former regulator from the IRS’ Criminal Investigations unit (IRS-CI) — to lead its compliance division.
Amid the executive turmoil, the exchange's token, Binance Coin (BNB), has become the third largest cryptocurrency after BTC and ethereum (ETH-USD). Currently trading just below $590, BNB is up 4% on the day.
David Hollerith covers cryptocurrency for Yahoo Finance. Follow him @dshollers.