What was in Binance Changpeng Zhao’s “sealed” file?

Changpeng Zhao got off lightly during his sentencing hearing in Seattle on Tuesday — so lightly that a judge gave the Binance founder just four months in prison for turning a blind eye to money laundering, not the one or two years we expect. all expected. Much of this leniency came about because Zhao, also known as CZ, took a plea deal and said all the right things. But some of it was due to a mitigating factor – one involving a “sealed” case that the judge and attorneys repeatedly referred to during the hearing.

The crypto world loves a good conspiracy and sure enough, the fever swamps of Crypto Twitter started spouting theories about who sold out Zhao or what kind of nefarious deal he must have made. A well-known account even claimed that Zhao only got four months for “betraying,” while his former rival Sam Bankman-Fried got 25 years for “not betraying” (an ironic claim considering the FTX founder tried to kill everyone he knew, including his ex girlfriend and his lawyers, under the bus).

So what exactly did Zhao tell the FBI? We don’t know for sure, but my best guess is that the deal he made is based on Binance continuing to work with law enforcement agencies to identify terrorist financing networks. As Leo orphan Anyone who has followed crypto and Binance knows that the company has been helping cops and spooks around the world track down hardcore bad guys for a while now. For example, earlier this year I spoke with Binance executive and former IRS agent Tigran Gambaryan, who told me a credible story about the company that helped take down an ISIS cell in Asia. (Gambaryan is currently being held hostage by Nigeria’s criminal government).

It’s also helpful to remember that the sweet plea deal Zhao struck was years in the making. He only decided to turn himself in after many months of negotiations between the Justice Department and Binance’s army of expensive lawyers. Zhao also had influence because he could have chosen to simply stay in Dubai, where he owns a house and where authorities are reluctant to extradite wealthy residents. The Binance founder appears to have been biding his time for years by handing over juicy tidbits to law enforcement while negotiating his plea deal.

The most interesting thing to me now is what Binance and Zhao plan to do once the sentence is served. Will they return to outlaw behavior once the US government no longer turns its back on them? Or is the plan to follow the straight and narrow – the same way the biggest companies in the once illegal alcohol and gambling industries have done? We’ll find out soon enough. Zhao will be a free man in September.

Jeff John Roberts
[email protected]


The FBI is investigating Block due to lack of compliance Cash App And Square, which has reportedly led to transactions by terrorists and sanctioned countries. (NBC)

Bitcoin briefly fell below $57,000 in response to hawkish comments from the Fed chairman. (Fortune)

Tether announced record profits of $4.5 billion in the first quarter, driven by stablecoin interest and mark-to-market gains in its gold and Bitcoin holdings. (Bloomberg)

Stronghold, a publicly traded Bitcoin miner that uses environmentally friendly processes, plans to put itself up for sale due to the halving. (Fortune)

Ellipticalwith help of IBM And MIT, has released an open-source AI tool to detect money laundering, based on a training set of more than 200 million transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain. (Wired)


A crypto folk hero is born:

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