Facing potential prison time, former Binance CEO hints at new project


Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, expected to return to court on April 30 to face a judge for sentencing over his guilty plea of one felony count, has hinted at a project with “no new tokens.”

In a March 18 X post, Zhao announced an education-focused project purportedly related to cryptocurrency or blockchain technology. The former Binance CEO said “no new tokens” would be involved in the mysterious project, adding he planned to release more details soon.

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Source: X

CZ resigned as CEO of Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, in November 2023 as part of a plea agreement with United States authorities. The deal with the U.S. Justice Department, Department of the Treasury, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission required Binance to pay $4.3 billion as part of a settlement and Zhao to plead guilty to one count related to failure to maintain an effective Anti-Money Laundering program at the exchange.

Zhao has remained in the U.S. on bail with a $175 million bond. His legal team has repeatedly petitioned a judge to allow him to visit family in the United Arab Emirates. He was initially scheduled to be sentenced in February, but the hearing was pushed back to April 30. Some experts have suggested the former Binance CEO could face 12 to 18 months in prison.

Related: Prosecutors request Changpeng Zhao surrender all passports ahead of sentencing

Since the plea agreement, CZ has largely been inactive on social media, posting mainly neutral holiday messages. His March 18 post caused much speculation regarding the project among followers, but it was unclear what Zhao was planning at the time of publication.

Binance, Binance.US and Zhao still face a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange (SEC) in June 2023. In a March 5 court filing, the exchange’s U.S. arm said the regulator had dealt a “near-mortal blow” with the enforcement action.

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