A day after crypto exchange Binance’s chief Changpeng Zhao stepped down and pleaded guilty to breaking US anti-money laundering laws, investors pulled about $956 million over the past 24 hours, Reuters quoted data firm Nansen as saying on 22 November.
The deal, which will see Binance pay $4.3 billion to US authorities to settle the years-long illicit finance probe, has raised questions over the future of the world’s largest crypto exchange. It also marks another blow for an industry beset by scandals. Meanwhile, Zhao has been replaced by Richard Teng, a senior Binance executive who joined in 2021, the company said.
Though the Nansen data does not include bitcoin flows, but signals that Tuesday’s news rattled some customers of the exchange. Still, there are well over $65 billion of assets on the platform, according to Nansen data.
“Binance has seen significant exchange outflows since the announcement, but relative to their total holdings, it’s quite small,” Reuters quoted Nansen analysts as saying.
In June, investors pulled around $1.43 billion from the crypto exchange and its US affiliate after the US Securities and Exchange Commission sued the companies.
While authorities have probed Zhao and Binance for years, Zhao’s exit marks a dramatic development for one of the most powerful figures in the crypto industry. Zhao, who resides in Dubai, entered his plea in a Seattle court on Tuesday.
Zhao has agreed to pay a $50 million fine and faces a maximum prison sentence of 18 months under federal guidelines. Though it was not immediately clear how much jail time the Justice Department is seeking, however under Zhao’s plea deal he has agreed not to appeal any sentence up to that length. Officials for the agency did not immediately return calls seeking comment on Wednesday.
After promising a $175 million bond and another $15 million held in a trust account, Zhao agreed to appear at a 23 February sentencing hearing in Seattle. He has agreed to return to the United States 14 days before sentencing.