Changpeng Zhao is conducting one of the biggest PR campaigns in the history of Binance, as the company seeks to evolve from a ‘decentralized’ technology company to become a centralized financial services firm.
The Binance CEO has recently completed a number of high-profile interviews, talking to Bloomberg TV, CNBC, and the Associated Press among others. Binance also placed its first-ever advert in the Financial Times, to propose a crypto bill of rights.
The PR drive is part of a wider plan to legitimize Binance in the eyes of the regulators as the company seeks to launch a number of fundraising events in the near future – with the first of these to occur in the U.S.
On CNBC last week, Zhao discussed the long term strategic vision of Binance as the company seeks to come out from the crypto cold into the warm embrace of financial regulation.
“Right now we are at the pivotal point. We need to change from a technology company to a financial services company,” said CZ. “It’s very clear that for a centralized exchange we need a centralized structure, so we are setting up headquarters, offices, regional headquarters and local branches. Regulators don’t know how to work with decentralized structures. So we’re setting up all those centralized structures now.”
To set the right mood music for U.S. regulators, the Binance chief went on to add, “We believe very strongly that regulations are good for this industry.”
Binance is currently examining 3-5 locations for major regional headquarters around the world. During an appearance on Bloomberg TV, the Binance chief revealed that fundraising is one of the reasons why brick and mortar locations will be increasingly important for the company in the near term.
“I think the first one that will complete fundraising is probably Binance.US – they run relatively independently, although I am the Chairman of the board,” said CZ. “I think they will complete a [fundraising] round within a month or two. So that’s the first one. If that one goes well, and we think it will, then we will repeat that exercise in different parts of the world.”
While regulation and brick and mortar locations are the key to unlocking fresh inward investment in the near term, the strategy is also part of a long term play. During the interview at CNBC, CZ offered clues as to how the pieces fit together and offered a hint at the eventual endgame for the crypto exchange.
“Today if we look at where all the wealth is, most of the wealth is still in traditional financial systems. We need to build a bridge between those two, and Binance wants to be the bridge between those two industries,” said CZ.
Lower fees and success
During the recent PR blitz, interviewers have been keen to draw CZ on the value of Binance as well as his personal wealth. In every instance the Binance chief has deflected or downplayed these types of questions.
At the Bloomberg New Economy Forum last week one interviewer even went on to suggest that CZ could be one of the richest people in the world.
“I’m not sure about that to be honest, and also I don’t really care about wealth or money,” CZ responded. “I am committed to giving 90% of my wealth away,” he added.
“We [Binance] are already profitable so we can actually think of charging even lower fees. We’re actually thinking about that right now,” he said. “I do not believe in maximizing profits, I also do not believe in maximizing shareholder value in the short term. I believe in growing the industry, providing the best value for our users and then we’ll grow and long term and we actually maximize the shareholder value,” he explained.
The host responded, “That sounds a lot to me like Jeff Bezos.”
As the full scale of the Binance CEO’s ambition was finally laid bare, CZ said, “I don’t know him personally, but I’d love to be as successful as he is in the future.”