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Binance Pays $4B Fine & CZ Steps Down

What the F Happened Yesterday?

GM DOers! 😎

The Sam Altman OpenAI saga grabbed all the attention lately. Crypto got jealous and decided to fire one of its own CEOs.

CZ, the founder and CEO of Binance, has pleaded guilty to violating criminal anti-money laundering laws and was forced to depart from Binance effective immediately. 

Unlike Altman, this one’s not coming back anytime soon. 

There’s a lot to unpack here today, but here’s a TL;DR if you’re in a rush:

  • Binance has agreed to a $4.3 billion fine settlement.

  • The company has made settlement agreements with FinCEN, OFAC, and CFTC, allocating $1.8 billion of the fines to these entities.

  • Changpeng Zhao (CZ) will step down as CEO and is barred from Binance's operational activities for three years starting from a specified date.

  • CZ could face 18 months in prison.

  • Binance will continue operations under new leadership .

All in all, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we should be grateful for this outcome. Let me explain why.

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Charges & Outcomes 💸

Binance and CZ admitted to engaging in anti-money laundering activities, unlicensed money transmitting, and sanctions violations. 

It failed to register as a money services business and did not implement an anti-money laundering program, violating the Bank Secrecy Act​​.

As a result, Binance agreed to pay approximately $4.3 billion to resolve investigations by the DOJ, including reaching agreements with various other regulators too. 

Under his plea agreement, CZ will pay a $50 million fine to the CFTC and abstain from making statements contradicting his acceptance of responsibility. 

Lastly, Binance will prohibit CZ from operating the business any further. 

On the news, Binance’s native $BNB token dipped from $270 to $240 – much less than anticipated.

What’s Next for Binance & CZ?

While CZ has stepped down as CEO, he’ll remain a shareholder and consultant. 

Richard Teng, previously Binance’s global head of regional markets, will become the new CEO.

In other words, CZ gets to retire on a private island while still owning crypto’s biggest cash cow.

This is still unclear but he could face up to 18 months in prison, although he was recently released from custody.

In his statement, he said that he’ll take a much-needed vacation and won’t return as CEO of any other startup in the future. Instead, he’ll spend his time exploring the DeFi world further.

As for Binance, according to a press release, they said that from now on, they’ll follow all rules and laws regarding compliance, security, and transparency. 

They’ll most likely also be very closely monitored in the near future by various regulators. 

What about crypto? What’s next for this industry?

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What’s Next for Crypto? 🔮

Where do I even start… First up, let’s get the negatives out of the way. 

Secretary Janet Yellen took the opportunity to send a message to the broader crypto industry, in which she threatened to come after any company that’s non-compliant. 

Here’s a thought, Mrs. Yellen: Give us clear laws. 🙄

Anyway, here’s some positive food for thought. 

A few months ago, Travis Kling (big tradfi guy) said this: “If Binance holds on to its current level of influence, no chance this ETF is approved.”

After this settlement, it’s clear that Binance took a big hit and they’re no longer the kings of crypto. 

So now, the SEC can approve the spot Bitcoin ETF and Blackrock, Fidelity, Invesco, and other large players can take over.

The Game of Thrones. 👑

Bottom line: Spot BTC ETF Soon. LFG!

Before I share my takeaways…

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Wrapping Up 🧵 Key Takeaways 

This outcome is the best possible scenario for all of us. 

  • CZ gets to retire and potentially do 0 jail time

  • Crypto avoids another (even bigger) FTX-like black swan event 

  • Binance gets to continue its operations as the biggest crypto exchange

Here’s the thing. Binance had to pay $4 billion. For the size of their company, that’s basically a slap on the wrist for them, and a much better outcome than an implosion would’ve been. 

Also, it’s common practice to have these fines in tradfi. 

Furthermore, I think that we’ve cut most of the not-so-great leaders in crypto and we’re poised to only improve from here. 

While I like CZ, it was clear that his presence was bringing a lot of uncertainty to crypto. With him gone, the broader industry stands to benefit and that’s all that matters.

Also, I think we should collectively respect CZ for stepping forward. It takes a lot of courage and strong leadership skills to do that. 🫡

As for regulators, I think it’s clear… They’re here to stay. 

The biggest governments and regulatory bodies have been steadily observing the crypto space for more than a decade now. 

The observing is over and they’re now taking action. They’re not trying to kill this industry, they’re trying to control it. 

Unfortunately, with time, there’ll be more suits than hoodies in crypto. 

But that also means that we're going mainstream, and that should be celebrated. 

So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, let’s all be grateful for what happened yesterday, because it could’ve been way, way, way worse. 

Share your gratitude by replying to this email with your favorite emoji. 🙏

Thanks for reading. And remember, you're strong, you’re powerful, you’re alpha!

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and not financial advice. Conduct your own research and consult a financial advisor before making investment decisions or taking any action based on the content.

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