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HomeBusinessBinance Founder Changpeng Zhao Becomes America's First Imprisoned Crypto Billionaire

Binance Founder Changpeng Zhao Becomes America’s First Imprisoned Crypto Billionaire

Changpeng Zhao, the founder of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, became the first American crypto billionaire to be imprisoned.

A Seattle court sentenced the 47-year-old to four months in prison earlier this month after he pleaded guilty to violating US anti-money laundering and sanctions laws.

This sentence makes Zhao a unique case. Despite his incarceration, he remains the richest person ever to be imprisoned, with a net worth estimated at a staggering $43 billion. This also marks the second major crypto executive to be imprisoned, following Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX who received a 25-year sentence (though he is appealing).

Changpeng Zhao, Founder of Binance, Becomes America’s First Imprisoned Crypto Billionaire

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Interestingly, Bloomberg reported that Zhao’s wealth might even increase during his prison stint due to the ongoing crypto bull run. Additionally, while he stepped down as CEO, Zhao reportedly retains a significant stake (around 90%) in Binance, with close associates holding positions on the board.

Judge Richard Jones acknowledged the severity of the case but ultimately sentenced Zhao to a shorter term than prosecutors requested. Federal guidelines suggested a maximum of one and a half years. This sentence falls far short of Bankman-Fried’s 25 years, although it remains to be seen if either sentence will stand.

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