Binance CEO shared more details about FTX’s collapse in an interview with tech news publisher TechCrunch.
CZ talks about FTX and the cryptocurrency market
Speaking to TechCrunch on November 18, CZ touched upon his personal role in the series of events that led to FTX’s filing for bankruptcy. Contrary to rumors, the CEO says he has little stake:
I still don’t think I have that much influence. I think we were the last straw. It’s not really a straw that is strong. There are many things that make up this. I may have been the last thing to push him.
CZ later echoed some of the concerns he had voiced in recent days. He said that FTX’s bankruptcy was a negative event in the short term, but would have a positive effect in the long term:
Many investors were really hurt financially, their money stuck in FTX. This will really shake the trust and credibility in the industry… We will have a lot more training to do. We need to significantly increase the transparency of our business. That itself is actually probably a good thing.
CZ separates Binance and other exchanges
The CEO said that Binance is by design other exchanges. He tried to separate his exchange from FTX in many ways. He said the following about the features that make Binance different:
Today we still run a profitable business, we are fine. I was very surprised at the amount of money FTX lost, the amount of client funds they moved, and the situation there.
However, Binance is still very dependent on transaction fees on the main crypto exchange. CZ said that Binance derives about 90% of its revenue from this activity. The revenue of the exchange varies greatly depending on the Bitcoin price. On the other hand, Binance continues to generate revenue from its other products such as CoinMarketCap and Trust Wallet, even if the crypto winter takes longer than expected. CZ says they will provide income stream from here in case of need:
When we bought CoinMarketCap, it was generating $3 million in ad revenue per month. We have removed all ads so no banners, no popups. It’s a much cleaner experience. But we can turn it back on. This will save us $40 million a year. But we don’t need that today. We have many products that we offer for free just to increase the speed of adoption. But if we want to make money from them, we can.
Concerns about Binance
The second concern with the exchange was that Binance also has its own token with BNB. FTX’s bankruptcy began with concerns about the value of FTX’s own token, FTT. CZ has this to say about it:
Undue concern, but we have evidence of reserve and are working with auditors and regulators. We want to be as transparent as possible. We are in a very different situation than FTX.
Recovery fund (SAFU)
During the interview, CZ also talked about his plans to launch an industry recovery fund. It looks like the fund is still a work in progress. According to their description:
It is not fixed in stone. Different numbers were thrown around. I’ve seen figures around $2 billion and I’m not sure if that’s enough or too much. Almost all the projects you hear about in the news will have talked to us.
cryptocoin.comAs you follow, yesterday Bitcoin platform Genesis suspended withdrawals. According to their website, their total active loans are $2.8 billion. So can Genesis get some help from Binance’s industry recovery fund? CZ has this to say about it:
I cannot comment on specific deals. I would assume there would be NDAs in place but we are looking at a lot of projects. Almost all the projects you hear about in the news will have talked to us.
How secure is Binance right now?
Of course, CZ says Binance has 100% reserves for user funds. But given the recent statements by Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of FTX, such a simple explanation is no longer enough. That’s why CZ says exchanges need to prove themselves in more than one area:
Publishing a cold wallet address is a short-term temporary method. This does not mean that you are 100% guaranteed. And as we’ve seen in some cases, it really increases the amount of questions when things don’t quite pick up. How secure is the wallet infrastructure? What technologies do you use for your storage solution? How do you handle customer disputes? In what situations do you pay or not pay users?
CZ stated that Binance is a cutting-edge exchange in all these questions:
We actually want to share many of them to make them industry standards like how we manage wallets. I think we have one of the most secure technologies for managing wallets. We also manage the world’s largest wallets.
Binance CEO says the transition to DeFi will take time
Many believe that the collapse of FTX will lead to greater decentralization. In this case, FTX was a single point of failure. Many users lost some money due to this centralization. But CZ doesn’t necessarily see this as an existential risk. According to him, the crypto market will always be centralized assets and decentralized technologies:
If you ask anyone in the world today who doesn’t own crypto to hold crypto on their own, they’re technically incapable of doing that. So if we force people to switch from banks directly to DeFi, most of them will lose their own money because they misplaced it or lost their keys or didn’t know how to encrypt it.
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