For AFP, the boss of the cryptocurrency giant returned to the priorities of the crypto exchange, the peaks in the price of bitcoin and the setbacks of his predecessor.

The new general manager of the largest cryptoasset platform in the world, Binance, advocates in an interview with AFP on Tuesday the importance of regulation and highlights the growth of the company. After a little more than four months at the helm of the American company, Richard Teng was in Paris for a cycle of meetings and conferences, Paris Blockchain Week. He looks back on his priorities, the peaks of the bitcoin price and the setbacks of his predecessor.

Former boss Changpeng Zhao, nicknamed CZ, pleaded guilty to violating anti-money laundering laws in the United States. He faces prison and the company has agreed to pay fines of $3.4 billion and $968 million to two agencies reporting to the US Treasury.

You were appointed general manager last November. What are your priorities?

When I became CEO, I clearly listed three commitments: the first is to keep the user at the center of the organization. User trust is extremely important to us. Second, we want to emphasize compliance. New regulations are coming, bringing with them more transparency in this industry. We look forward to working with regulators to improve international standards. My third commitment is to work with global partners to promote the use and development of cryptoassets. We are still at a very early stage in the development of cryptos and we want to ensure that we continue to evolve in a dynamic and living ecosystem.

How many users do you have today?

In November 2023 we had 166 million users, today this number has increased to 185 million. Binance therefore continues to grow, innovate and develop products and services that meet the needs of our users.

The crypto sector has been shaken in recent years by the fall of several star entrepreneurs and high-profile bankruptcies. How do you approach compliance topics?

We have invested enormously in this regard: around 158 million dollars in 2022 then 213 million last year. This figure will increase further. We work closely with regulators and the judiciary to fight crimes, terrorist financing, etc. We have frozen a large number of assets in this context and we will continue to do so. We have devoted a lot of time to training users but also legislators or policy makers.

Are you afraid that your predecessor’s setbacks will affect the company’s image?

CZ stepped down in November last year taking responsibility for the mistakes we made in the past. The company will have a structure that regulators will be more inclined to understand. For example, we have just set up a board of directors which includes three independent directors. This advice will guide the direction we should take, ensuring that we adopt best practices.

Bitcoin reached a record price last month, at more than $73,000. How do you explain this investor interest?

The long-term trend is upward, but the market is volatile. The rise in the price of bitcoin is partly explained by the influx of liquidity provided by ETFs (index funds authorized at the start of the year by the American financial markets policeman, Editor’s note). After the “halving” (imminent event which will halve the reward awarded to “miners” who validate transactions, and slow down the generation of new units of this digital currency, Editor’s note), I remain optimistic about an increase in the price.

Is France an important country for Binance?

Paris is the company’s historic headquarters on the continent. The objective for Binance is to use France to cover the rest of Europe. We have a strong team in France, with a growing workforce, who oversee different parts of the business and work closely with local stakeholders and regulators.


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