- Binance’s CEO has said he spends 80% or more of his time thinking about crypto regulation.
- Changpeng Zhao told Bloomberg TV the crypto exchange is pivoting to become a financial services company.
- The world’s biggest crypto exchange is drawing scrutiny from regulators, who worry its products are highly risky.
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Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao said he spends at least 80% of his time thinking about regulation and next to none on the daily running of the crypto exchange, as official scrutiny of trading platforms intensifies.
Zhao, known in the crypto community as CZ, told Bloomberg TV that Binance is undergoing big changes to appease regulators, who are unhappy with some of the exchange’s products and its compliance with local rules.
The chief executive and founder of Binance said he spends almost all of his time focusing on regulations, “probably 80% or more.” Zhao added: “I’m not really involved in the day-to-day operations of the exchange.”
Binance is pivoting from a technology innovator into a financial services company, he said in the interview Tuesday. “These types of pivots are very difficult to do, so I’m spending almost all my time on it,” Zhao said.
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Binance is facing intense regulatory pressure from financial watchdogs around the globe. It became the world’s biggest crypto exchange in large part by allowing people to trade crypto derivatives using high levels of leverage, or borrowed money. Regulators are concerned about the dangers these products pose to consumers and potentially the wider economy.
In June, the UK’s financial services watchdog banned Binance’s UK arm Binance Markets, ordering it to stop all regulated activities in the country.
Zhao’s focus on regulation is a sign of the changing times in the crypto world, which once prided itself on being rebellious and outside of government control.
The Binance CEO, who founded the exchange in 2017, said the company is now focused on hiring more staff to deal with regulation, centralizing its operations, and making sure products are compliant with local regulations.
On Wednesday, Binance said it has hired Greg Monahan, a former US government criminal investigator, to head up its anti-money laundering reporting division.
Zhao told Bloomberg that Binance spends a lot of time on protecting the exchange from hackers, saying security is the number-one issue for any cryptocurrency business. His comments came after hackers stole $600 million from crypto platform Poly Network, before returning much of the haul.