Binance CEO Zhao flags possible $1.38 billion fund for distressed crypto assets

2 weeks ago 31

MUMBAI - Crypto billionaire Zhao “CZ” Changpeng further outlined his plans to backstop the stricken industry, pledging to amass at least US$1 billion (S$1.38 billion) for buying distressed assets and saying his Binance Holdings will make another bid for bankrupt lender Voyager Digital.

In an interview on Thursday with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin, Mr Zhao provided the most detailed overview yet of the various deals Binance is examining in the wake of rival FTX’s messy collapse. The centrepiece of Zhao’s plan is gathering partners for a fund aimed at backing promising but cash-strapped crypto projects.

“We are going with a loose approach where different industry players will contribute as they wish,” he said. Mr Zhao added that he’ll soon publish a blog post providing more detail about the fund.

Mr Zhao said he’s seeking to limit damage to the crypto sector from FTX’s implosion - an event the Binance chief himself helped accelerate with a Nov 6 tweet about plans to sell a US$530 million holding of FTX’s native digital token. Before his empire fell, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried had agreed to several deals that are now in limbo, including the purchase of Voyager.

The Binance leader’s credibility as industry saviour is a topic of controversy because of his role in FTX’s undoing, as well as investigations into the company from Singapore to the United States. Members of UK Parliament have asked Binance to explain the circumstances surrounding Mr Zhao’s Nov 6 tweet, and whether the company understood the potential impact it might have.

Another source of tension is that while Binance has licenses in many different jurisdictions, it isn’t formally based anywhere. When asked about the matter in the Bloomberg interview, Mr Zhao demurred, saying only that Dubai and Paris are now its “global hubs.”

This year’s deep crypto rout has lopped about US$80 billion off Zhao’s personal fortune, but at US$15 billion it sti...

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