In a move that shocked the crypto community earlier today, Binance co-founder Changpeng Zhao, widely known as “CZ,” stepped down as the company’s CEO, effective immediately.

CZ, who has been at the helm of Binance since its inception in 2017, acknowledged the challenges faced by the company and the need for new leadership to steer it through the next phase of growth. He expressed confidence in the abilities of Richard Teng, the company’s former Global Head of Regional Markets, who has been appointed as the new CEO.

“Richard is a highly qualified leader with extensive experience in the financial services industry,” stated CZ. “He is well-positioned to lead Binance through its next period of growth and ensure that we continue to deliver on our commitment to security, transparency, and compliance.”

Teng brings over three decades of experience in financial services and regulatory matters to his new role. He previously served as CEO of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority at Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Chief Regulatory Officer of the Singapore Exchange (SGX), and Director of Corporate Finance in the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

In his new capacity, Teng will be tasked with guiding Binance through the ever-evolving cryptocurrency landscape, ensuring that the company maintains its position as a global leader while trying to adhere to the highest regulatory compliance standards.

CZ will remain involved with Binance as a shareholder and consultant, providing guidance and support to the new leadership team. His deep understanding of the company and its history will prove invaluable as Binance navigates the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Looking to the future, CZ plans to take a break and explore new endeavors, including passive investing and mentorship.

This announcement by CZ came shortly after the Office of Public Affairs of the U.S. Department of Justice issued a press release that stated:

Binance Holdings Limited (Binance), the entity that operates the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange,, pleaded guilty today and has agreed to pay over $4 billion to resolve the Justice Department’s investigation into violations related to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), failure to register as a money transmitting business, and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

Binance’s founder and chief executive officer (CEO), Changpeng Zhao, a Canadian national, also pleaded guilty to failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering (AML) program, in violation of the BSA and has resigned as CEO of Binance. Binance’s guilty plea is part of coordinated resolutions with the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland had this to say:

Binance became the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange in part because of the crimes it committed – now it is paying one of the largest corporate penalties in U.S. history. In just the past month, the Justice Department has successfully prosecuted the CEOs of two of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges in two separate criminal cases.  The message here should be clear: using new technology to break the law does not make you a disruptor, it makes you a criminal.