Binance founder Changpeng Zhao to become richest prisoner in US history

Crypto exchange Binance continues to thrive despite the numerous legal problems of its founder, Changpeng Zhao.

Bloomberg estimates that Binance likely generated around $9.8 billion in annual revenue for March. Despite the uncertainty surrounding Zhao’s verdict and Binance’s legal complications, the exchange’s day-to-day operations continue without significant disruption.

Investors have reported little change in the trading experience, and some say the settlement provides certainty amid continued regulatory scrutiny.

Bloomberg journalists clarify that if a Seattle judge agrees with prosecutors and orders him to be jailed, Zhao will go down in history books as the richest person ever to serve time in a U.S. federal prison due to his ownership of Binance — and the personal fortune associated with it, valued at $43 billion, will remain untouched.

Zhao’s wealth is expected to grow as Binance’s business accelerates amid the latest cryptocurrency bull run. Despite giving the CEO title as part of a deal with the government, the Binance founder’s continued influence over the company is hard to ignore.

Additionally, the agency notes that traders view Binance and Zhao differently from its former arch-rival FTX, which went bankrupt after founder Sam Bankman-Fried misappropriated billions of dollars worth of users’ cryptocurrencies.

The most obvious change is that Zhao has recused himself from his role as the company’s public face. Although he was never one to mingle with celebrities or invite reporters to his home, as FTX‘s Bankman-Fried did, Zhao kept a low profile after pleading guilty.

In November 2023, Changpeng Zhao resigned as CEO of Binance as part of a multi-year case. U.S. regulators accused the company of allowing transactions with clients from sanctioned jurisdictions. The entrepreneur admitted guilt and agreed with the U.S. Department of Justice. Binance agreed to pay fines totaling $4.3 billion to settle the authorities’ claims, and Zhao will personally pay $50 million.

The U.S. Department of Justice has requested 36 months in prison for the former head of the Binance cryptocurrency exchange, Changpeng Zhao. Zhao is expected to be sentenced on April 30 in a Seattle courtroom.

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