In a groundbreaking move, Binance, the world's biggest crypto exchange, has announced the delisting of 10 major trading pairs, including Aptos (APT), Axie Infinity (AXS), Filecoin (FIL) and others. The affected pairs are specifically tied to BUSD, Binance's stablecoin.
This decision comes amid a series of delistings throughout 2023, a trend that many link to Binance's escalating legal challenges.
However, the latest announcement is particularly notable as it coincides with the bombshell revelation that Changpeng Zhao, or CZ, the founder and head of Binance, will step down from his role. The move is part of a comprehensive deal struck with the U.S. Department of Justice, resolving criminal charges against Binance.
CZ pled guilty to charges related to operating an unlicensed money transfer business, conspiracy and violating restrictions, culminating in a substantial fine of $4.3 billion for the exchange. While Zhao will no longer be involved in Binance's management, he retains his controlling stake in the company. Additionally, he personally faces a $50 million fine.
As part of the agreement with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Binance will undergo a "full exit" from the United States, with a five-year watchdog appointed to oversee compliance with restrictions. During this period, the U.S. Treasury Department will have unfettered access to Binance's data and systems.
The sentencing for CZ is scheduled for Feb. 23, although delays are anticipated. If convicted, he could face up to 18 months in prison. Reflecting on the developments, Zhao expressed a desire to "take responsibility and close this chapter in my life."