Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao commented on the state of the crypto industry and market during an interview with Bankless on May 29.
Zhao dispels FUD
First, Zhao discussed recent controversies around his company. Binance has recently attempted to refute reports from Forbes, the Financial Times, and Reuters concerning matters such as its alleged misuse of funds and supposed ties to China.
Zhao suggested that mainstream news sources tend to cover cryptocurrency negatively and that Binance specifically attracts FUD because of its large size. He said:
“If you write a negative article about a smaller exchange nobody cares … but if … you put Binance’s name in the title, and hopefully something negative, people click more.”
Zhao also posited that his ethnicity makes him a target. Zhao, though born in China, is a Canadian citizen. Though Binance itself was founded in China, it no longer operates in the country due to regulations and insists it has relocated Chinese staff.
Zhao said that Binance aims to be transparent “as transparent as possible” in spite of FUD and said that Binance currently provides proof-of-reserve reports.
He acknowledged that there are limits to transparency. He argued that if Binance were to disclose all of its own wallet addresses, it would reveal Binance’s vendors and partners, thereby compromising privacy and security and affecting competition.
CZ on global regulations
Zhao said that Binance engages with global regulations. He once again said that regulators put Binance “under the microscope” to a greater degree because of its size.
However, he also suggested that the crypto sector is becoming less competitive and more cooperative when it comes to regulations. He said that companies like Coinbase and Kraken are working together with regulators, and he said that collective engagement can redistribute Binance’s need to engage with regulators to other companies.
More broadly, Zhao said that the Middle East and Europe are currently implementing the most promising crypto regulations. Zhao said in a previous AMA discussion that his company has a growing presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Zhao also noted that Binance at one point considered acquiring a bank but found that this would require extensive compliance with local regulations. He also said that banks are very expensive, carry high risk, and often are not very profitable.
Zhao on the state of the market
Zhao also commented on the current state of the cryptocurrency market. He said that the market is recovering from 2022’s bear market. Zhao said that this gives the market a “mixed mood” as it is unclear what will drive “explosive growth” in the future:
What’s going to drive the next [cycle]? … everyone’s looking for that right now … and when we’re not sure, this is probably why a lot of people pile into memecoins … it shows that there are funds that are ready to be deployed.
Zhao acknowledged that he could be wrong about positive trends and later provided advice to investors who began to invest in crypto during a market downturn.
He said that those who are investing during a bull market should only invest in what they feel comfortable losing and should not seek out overhyped investments. Zhao said that he “learned this lesson the hard way” when he first began to invest in stocks and crypto.