“the sector will not disappear,” assures the Binance boss

Changpeng Zhao, boss of Binance, the leading cryptocurrency exchange, during an interview at the VivaTech fair, June 16, 2022 in Paris (Eric PIERMONT / AFP)

Despite the collapse of the cryptocurrency market, “the sector will not disappear,” assured AFP the boss of Binance, the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, during an interview on the sidelines of the VivaTech show in Paris.

The current crisis “creates concern, but we expected it, it’s not unusual,” assured crypto-billionaire Changpeng Zhao, one of the most listened to voices in this medium, at the head of a group that boasts 120 million customers.

“Financial markets go up and down. If you go on the stock market, you can’t expect it to go up forever,” said the 44-year-old businessman, who has the Binance logo tattooed on his right arm. .

After a good period during the pandemic, cryptocurrencies, known for their volatility, have fallen dramatically in recent weeks, reflecting investors’ lower risk appetite.

The market briefly fell below the $ 1 trillion mark on Tuesday when bitcoin, the queen of virtual “currencies”, plunged about 70% from its record high set last November.

Despite these headwinds, Binance, which has nearly 6,000 employees, has just opened 2,000 positions that the company plans to fill by the end of the year.

“We were very cheap” when the market was up, explained the one who is known only by his initials, CZ.

“We didn’t spend much on advertising, we didn’t name stadiums and we weren’t Super Bowl partners,” he said, referring to the choices of some of his rivals.

Whitening –

Despite their popularity in recent years, the use of cryptocurrencies continues to be associated by some politicians with fraudulent practices such as money laundering, a speech CZ calls a “total myth”.

Changpeng Zhao, boss of Binance, the leading cryptocurrency exchange, during an interview with VivaTech, June 16, 2022 in Paris
Changpeng Zhao, boss of Binance, the leading cryptocurrency exchange, during an interview at the VivaTech fair, June 16, 2022 in Paris (Eric PIERMONT / AFP)

The leader, who grew up in China before moving to Canada and taking citizenship, insists that blockchain technology, which protects cryptocurrency transactions, ensures transparency and traceability.

“With a large amount of data, it is possible to know who has such an address with a high level of reliability,” he insists.

For this reason, “most criminals don’t use blockchain” to perpetrate their misdeeds because it’s a “bad tool” for them, he continues.

According to a study by Chainanalysis, only 0.15% of cryptocurrency transactions in 2021 were linked to illegal addresses, a figure significantly lower than traditional bank transfers.

The regulation of crypto-assets is however a central issue, in the United States as in Europe, where the authorities are tightening the screws to better regulate a still recent market.

“In my opinion, this will be a multi-step process that will take decades,” said CZ, who recalled that Binance has employed former heads of regulatory agencies.

– Ambitions in France

The platform is particularly ambitious in France.

The Binance platform obtained registration from the Financial Markets Authority (AMF) in early May to be able to operate in France
The Binance platform obtained registration from the Financial Markets Authority (AMF) in early May to be able to operate in France (ERIC PIERMONT / AFP / Archives)

It got its registration from the Financial Markets Authority (AMF) in early May to be able to exercise, “a crucial step” according to CZ.

“France wants to attract this sector. It sends a very strong message internationally,” insisted the entrepreneur.

The authorization “as a digital asset service provider” is a first in Europe for the group, where UK authorities last year ruled that Binance’s operations could not be adequately supervised and posed a risk to consumers. .

In France, where it employs around 100 employees, the platform has established its headquarters in Montrouge, in the Paris region, and recently moved to the campus of the start-up Station F in Paris.

The group also recently recruited former MFA Deputy Director of Legal Affairs, Stéphanie Cabossioras.

Questioned by AFP, the Authority stated that Ms Cabossioras did not have to manage Binance’s registration process in France, dismissing any suspicion of a conflict of interest.

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