Investors pull $956 million from Binance after CEO pleads guilty

Investors withdrew around $956 million from leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance in the past day, data firm Nansen reported on Wednesday. The outflows come a day after Binance’s founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao stepped down and pleaded guilty to violating US anti-money laundering laws.

The plea deal will see Binance pay $4.3 billion to settle a years-long illicit finance investigation by US authorities. It raises questions over the future of the world’s largest crypto exchange and marks another setback for the beleaguered crypto industry.

Zhao has been replaced by senior executive Richard Teng, who joined Binance in 2021. Despite the outflows, Binance still holds over $65 billion in assets, according to Nansen. Analysts there said that while concerning, the withdrawals were small relative to Binance’s total holdings.

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Investors also pulled around $1.43 billion from Binance and its US affiliate in June after the US Securities and Exchange Commission sued the companies.

Zhao, who resides in Dubai, entered his guilty plea in a Seattle court on Tuesday. He agreed to pay a $50 million fine and faces up to 18 months in prison. While authorities have investigated Zhao and Binance for years, his exit signals a dramatic turn for one of crypto’s most influential leaders.