Binance’s recent regulatory hurdles paved the way for Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, co-founder and current CEO of the platform.
An early candidate for the job is Richard Teng, who was recently named president of all regional markets outside the United States, according to people familiar with the matter.
Teng’s resume includes senior positions at the Central Bank of Singapore and the Abu Dhabi International Free Trade Zone, making him the ideal candidate to lead Binance through the current regulatory storm.
One of Teng’s first assignments at Binance was to help secure a crypto license in Singapore, one of the most coveted seals of approval in the crypto space at the time.
The application failed because the Binance subsidiary did not meet the requirements for protection against money laundering and terrorist financing.
However, the downturn does not seem to affect the future prospects of Teng Binance, which is later the leader in the Middle East and North Africa region, and then in Europe and Asia.
Teng’s rise has brought him into the inner circle of Zhao’s inner circle, including He Yin, another co-founder of Binance, with whom Zhao has two children.
In a recent interview, Ye referred to Teng’s organizational background when asked about his development, but other traits also emerged. “I think he is a very professional and experienced manager,” she said.
Teng Binance can help overcome regulatory hurdles.
Binance, which still handles more transactions than all other highly centralized crypto exchanges combined, is under intense scrutiny from US federal agencies.
The cryptocurrency exchange is said to be facing at least four investigations or enforcement action in the US, including a lawsuit from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that deliberately offered Binance crypto derivatives products not registered in the US.
Regulators in Canada and Australia are also looking into the business, and Dubai, where Zhao is headquartered, has stepped up vetting of license applicants, including Binance.
Still, appointing Teng to the leadership role could help the struggling company navigate regulatory waters.
“Binance says they want to work with regulators,” said Campbell Harvey, a professor of finance at Duke University.
Last week, the exchange announced that it had teamed up with US federal prosecutors to seize $4.4 million worth of crypto assets and freeze accounts linked to North Korean hacking groups.
Binance appears to be preparing for more regulatory scrutiny, in part due to the rapid collapse last year of FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange that many see as a serious challenge to Binance’s dominance.
Earlier this year, the exchange hired former Gemini Trust COO Noah Perlman, whose resume includes a six-year stint as global head of financial crime at Morgan Stanley, to run its compliance functions.
In addition, the company has consistently said that it has grown its compliance team to more than 750 people in the past two years.