The end of November 2023 became a turning point in the history of the cryptocurrency world – on November 21, the head of the largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, took on all the accusations made by U.S. regulators. The company agreed to pay a fine, the amount of which ranked among the largest corporate fines in U.S. history, totaling $4.3 billion.
The United States authorities accuse the exchange and its head of violating state laws, namely, money laundering and conducting unlicensed transfers. Changpeng Zhao, once the most influential player in the crypto market, transformed from the CEO of the most influential crypto exchange into a criminal in a matter of hours. He immediately resigned and agreed to pay compensation of $50 million.
Stepping into the role of CEO at Binance is Richard Teng, a notable figure who previously oversaw the company's subsidiaries in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. With this new position, Teng has garnered the attention of millions and emerged as the most prominent figure in the crypto business. Let's delve into the details to understand who Richard Teng, the new head of the world's largest crypto corporation, is.
Richard Teng - the beginning of the journey
The future CEO of Binance was born in 1971 in Singapore.He successfully graduated from Western Sydney University, obtained a master's degree in applied finance, and specialized in accounting. He participated in a senior executive training program at the Wharton School of Business, in short, from his early student years, he prepared to connect his life with the global financial management system.
Teng joined Binance in 2021 as the director of the platform in Singapore. Even before joining the largest cryptocurrency company, he had established himself as a competent manager with extensive work experience - due to his experience at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, where dealt with issues related to the regulation of the banking, fund, and insurance sectors. In the 90s, he actively participated in Singapore's financial services transformation program, particularly working on the development of independent banks and market capital.
In August 2021, Richard Teng was appointed as the head of Binance's Singapore subsidiary, focusing on strengthening the team and ensuring compliance. His career here developed rapidly and systematically. In December 2021, Teng became the head of the MENA market, in 2022, the European market joined, in 2023 – Asia, and by the summer of 2023, Richard Teng was already the head of all the company's regional markets. In fact,he was responsible for all regions outside the United States.
Although Richard Teng's name may not have resonated as often as Changpeng Zhao's (who gave interviews to Forbes), he was no less significant for the company itself. The former head of Binance referred to Teng as a highly qualified specialist and was confident in his decisions.
Due to the conflict arising from Zhao's departure and accusations from U.S. regulators, the well-being of the cryptocurrency exchange and its influence on the digital currency market came under threat. Therefore, Teng's primary task in his new position is to prevent customer outflow from Binance and strengthen its parameters of security and reliability.
What's happening with Zhao, and what will happen to Binance?
Undoubtedly, 2023 marks a significant year for regulatory developments in the cryptocurrency industry. Increased scrutiny from government bodies worldwide, particularly in the United States, has prompted crypto companies to adapt their operations to meet regulatory standards. Binance, a major player in the industry, is no exception to this trend. The ongoing conflict with US regulators has led to visible outcomes, reflecting the company's efforts to address regulatory concerns.
According to open sources, Changpeng Zhao has been released on bail of $175 million. His court hearing is scheduled for February 23, 2024. Zhao can now freely leave the United States.Despite the challenges, CZ remains one of the most influential figures in the crypto world. In contrast to SBF, CZ is not viewed as a manipulator or criminal, maintaining public trust and confidence as a fair player. While his resignation is undoubtedly a painful step for both him and Binance, it is a necessary one to safeguard the business and the platform's future. Although CZ cannot participate in Binance governance as per the agreement, it is evident that he will likely maintain informal channels of communication and influence through individuals such as Binance co-founder Yi He. The story is far from over, and its evolution will unfold in 2024.
Binance has to clean up its reputation – the money laundering case has become prominent, and the fines are significantly large. U.S. regulators are convinced that the exchange has been engaging in illegal activities over the past few years, servicing companies in sanctioned states, which violates U.S. laws. Nevertheless, now Binance has an opportunity to start a new chapter in its development, learning from past mistakes and failures. The resolution of Binance's regulatory issues also sends a clear signal to other exchanges, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing compliance with regulatory policies and laws across jurisdictions. Importantly, it paves the way for the anticipated and significant event of Bitcoin ETFs approval, a development eagerly awaited in the crypto industry.