Binance CEO: “Crypto Fall Is An Opportunity For Us”

Changpeng Zhao runs Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Passing through Brussels, he reveals his ambitions for Europe and Belgium.

Over $ 20 billion is traded on Binance every day. The crypto platform, which has 90 million users, is the largest player in the industry. Its founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao, nicknamed CZ on social networks, paid a whirlwind visit to Belgium. On Sunday, he gathered 600 cryptocurrency fans at Dockx Brussels.

“I’m a normal guy. All I have is a van in Singapore and an apartment in Dubai.”

Changpeng Zhao

Binance CEO

The Chinese-born entrepreneur, who expatriated to Canada before leading a life as a globetrotter, cultivates a cool attitude. “I’m a normal guy”, he assures man, who weighs ten billion dollars, making him one of the 200 richest people on the planet. “I’m lucky to be financially free. But I’ve kept the same lifestyle. All I have is a van in Singapore and an apartment in Dubai.”

The cryptocurrency market is in free fall. Is it a bad time for Binance?

It’s a bad time for a lot of people, but we need to put things in perspective. Binance started trading when bitcoin was at $ 2,000. Today it is around $ 20,000. That’s ten times more than at that moment. We have already experienced several such cycles. We are used.

Have cryptocurrencies entered a systemic crisis?

The cryptocurrency market has already experienced a steep decline in 2018. But in five years, things have changed. The market has consolidated. Currently, the effects are limited to a very small number of companies, such as Celsius (This cryptocurrency lending platform is facing serious liquidity problems, ed.) The other projects (Bitcoin, Ethereum, BNB …) are doing well. As the sector is decentralized, there is no strong link between the projects. This makes it more resistant. We are moved. But the situation is better than in 2018.

Is Binance exposed to problematic projects?

Fortunately, Binance has almost no exposure to these projects. The only exposure we have is Luna (this stable currency has completely collapsed, ed). We invested three million dollars in it at the start of the project. At its peak, this stake was worth 1.6 billion. Today it is worth nothing. Some will say that we have lost 1.6 billion, others that we have lost three million. Either way, it doesn’t have a big impact on our accounts. We have invested in 150 projects so far. He’s the only one who broke his face.

Several platforms have announced layoffs. For its part, Binance is hiring. How is it possible?

The bear market is an opportunity for Binance. We deliberately limited our spending during the bull market, when all companies were competing and offering crazy wage packages. Now that other platforms are laying off, there is more talent on the market and wages are dropping. This is the right time to commit.

Are you planning to buy competing platforms?

The time has come for us to be more aggressive. We expect to participate in a consolidation movement in the market. We just raised $ 500 million. We do not set limits.

“We are looking to invest in start-ups in all countries, especially Belgium.”

We will also continue our investments in start-ups. Last week alone, more than 15 rows arrived on my table. During the bull market, the valuations were crazy. Prices are now more reasonable. We look at start-ups in all countries, especially in Belgium, where the community is very active.

Are you planning to apply for a license from the FSMA to operate in Belgium?

Pending the adoption of the new European regulations (Mica), we must register in each country. We are therefore in discussions with all regulators, including the FSMA.

“Clear regulations will help support the growth of the cryptocurrency industry.”

At first, regulators still have a negative view of Binance, mostly due to media criticism of the cryptocurrency market. But when they talk to me, they realize that I am a reasonable, mature and stable person. I am convinced that clear regulations will help support the growth of the cryptocurrency industry.

According to a Reuters investigation, Binance promotes money laundering.

This is fake news. Reuters accuses us of facilitating the laundering of $ 2.3 billion. However, the blockchain (the technology that supports cryptocurrencies, ed) is a public ledger on which all transactions can be found. But Reuters has never been able to show us the transaction history.

Is there no money laundering on Binance?

I wouldn’t go that far. But the numbers aren’t that high. We use the best anti-money laundering devices and the same means of control as the FBI or Interpol. When we detect a suspicious transaction, we block it immediately and contact the police.

How many users do you have in Belgium and Europe?

“Binance is the first crypto platform in Belgium.”

Binance is the first crypto platform in Belgium. Outside of the United States, Europe is the most important market for us. The adoption of cryptocurrencies is very strong there. In the countries where we get a license, we see a sharp increase in the number of users. This is what happened in France and Italy. If we receive it in Belgium, it will be the same.

Does Binance have a facility in Belgium?

Our European hub is Paris. We will be hiring 500 people in France by the end of the year. In Belgium we have a small team (35 people for the Benelux, ed), but she is growing up.

The key phrases

  • “We have already experienced several bear market cycles in the cryptocurrency market. We are used to it.”
  • “The time has come for us to be more aggressive. We intend to participate in a consolidation movement.”
  • “We are talking to all regulators, including the FSMA.”
  • “We have a small team in Belgium, but it’s growing.”

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