Changpeng Zhao is back with new project post-Binance era

Changpeng Zhao, the founder and former CEO of Binance, hinted at a new educational project on Monday.

Zhao, who stepped down from his role at Binance in November 2023 following a plea deal with the U.S. Department of Justice, shared on X that this project would focus on education without introducing new tokens. More details are expected to be announced soon.

In his departure from Binance, Zhao agreed to plead guilty to charges related to breaches of the Bank Secrecy Act and will pay a $50 million fine. The act mandates that businesses aid in preventing money laundering and other financial crimes.

Earlier in February, a federal court announced a new sentencing date for Changpeng Zhao. Originally scheduled for February 23, his sentencing on charges related to money laundering has now been moved to April 30. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Zhao could face up to 18 months in prison, although prosecutors have suggested a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Despite his exit from Binance, Zhao’s fortune soared by almost $25 billion this year, even as his holdings in Bitcoin and Binance’s own coin, BNB, are not included in this valuation. His wealth, now estimated at over $37 billion, ranks him as the 35th richest person globally. This increase is primarily attributed to his controlling stake in Binance. However, this figure remains well below its peak of nearly $97 billion in early 2022. It also dropped from the year-to-date high of $50.4 billion eight months ago.

Binance, known for holding user assets in a 1:1 ratio along with additional reserves, has assets exceeding $100 billion. The exchange’s proof-of-reserves (POR) system supports transparency for 31 digital assets, although critiques have been made about the lack of audited fiat reserves and detailed financial health information.

A blog post from Binance highlighted that the total value locked on its centralized exchange has soared from about $67 billion to $115 billion over the past. This comes in a landmark month for the broader crypto industry, with daily exchange volume, DeFi TVL, global crypto investment products AuM, and U.S. spot bitcoin ETFs trading volume all surpassing the $100 billion mark.