Billionaire Changpeng “CZ” Zhao became the undisputed king of the crypto world on Nov 8, shocking the industry with a move to take over FTX.com, the troubled firm led by his chief rival and onetime disciple, Sam Bankman-Fried.
The letter of acquisition intent by Zhao’s Binance Holdings came after a bitter feud between the two men spilled into the open, with Zhao actively undermining confidence in FTX’s finances and helping spark an exodus of users from the three-year-old FTX.com exchange. A day before accepting the deal from Binance, Bankman-Fried said on Twitter that assets on FTX were “fine.” By Tuesday, he had changed his messaging.
Such moves would be prohibited on Wall Street but aren’t uncommon in this rough-and-tumble corner of finance, which remains largely devoid of regulation about a decade after its founding. Ironically, it was Bankman-Fried who was pushing for greater regulation, something that Zhao has largely opposed.