USA: Crypto king dethroned

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Crypto has been in a big mess for the better part of the year, and the struggle continues. Here’s another sad ending for a big fish in the crypto world.

Changpeng Zhao, founder of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, warned last year that it was difficult to prevent illegal activity in the industry that he dominated. “[If] somebody wants to violate the law, the law is not going to prevent that. The law can help to reduce that,” the company’s then chief executive said.

But the authorities can catch up with you, as the 46-year-old found out this week. Zhao quit as Binance’s chief executive on Tuesday after pleading guilty to breaking US anti-money-laundering legislation. He will pay a $50m fine and faces a possible prison term, while Binance has agreed to pay a $4.3bn settlement.

At the time of giving that quote, Zhao was answering a question about the collapse of FTX, a rival exchange that filed for bankruptcy in November last year. Its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, was found guilty of defrauding his customers earlier this month – two of crypto’s figureheads brought down by criminal proceedings within three weeks of each other.

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