Report: Ex-Binance CEO Holds Majority of Circulating BNB


A recent report by Forbes has ignited a discussion surrounding the ownership structure of Binance Coin (BNB), the native token of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. The report claims that Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the former CEO of Binance, holds a staggering 64% – roughly 94 million tokens – of the total circulating supply of BNB.

This revelation comes from a forensic analysis conducted by Gray Wolf Analytics in collaboration with Forbes. The report suggests that 80 million BNB tokens were initially allocated to the Binance founding team, with 46 million of those tokens still under the company’s control.

The combined holdings of Binance and CZ reportedly represent a dominant 71% stake of the 147 million BNB tokens currently in circulation. This significant concentration of ownership raises concerns about the token’s decentralization and potential manipulation.

Understanding BNB Tokenomics

BNB serves as the fuel for the Binance ecosystem, providing users with discounts on trading fees and access to exclusive features on the platform. With a maximum supply capped at 200 million tokens, over 153 million BNB are currently circulating on the market. As of today, the token boasts a market capitalization exceeding $91 billion, with each BNB valued at around $593.

The past few months have been favorable for BNB, experiencing a significant price surge. The token price has more than doubled, climbing from lows of $290 in January 2024 to a peak of $724 in June, highlighting its recent bullish trend.

DOJ Case and Leadership Changes

It’s important to note that these findings come amidst ongoing scrutiny surrounding Binance and its former CEO. In 2023, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) brought charges against both CZ and Binance for alleged violations of sanctions and money laundering regulations. CZ, who was the CEO at the time, reached a plea agreement with US prosecutors.

As a consequence of the plea deal, CZ admitted guilt to violating the Bank Secrecy Act and relinquished his leadership position at Binance. Richard Teng assumed the role of CEO. The settlement also included a $50 million fine for CZ and a substantial $4.3 billion penalty levied against Binance. Additionally, the DOJ appointed the Forensic Risk Alliance, an independent firm, to act as a monitor for Binance over the following three years.

The court proceedings concluded with a sentencing of four months in prison for CZ on April 30th, 2024, by U.S. federal judge Richard Jones. This sentence fell short of the three years requested by prosecutors in connection with CZ’s alleged involvement in sanctions evasion and facilitating money laundering.

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Author: Sb

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