‘Protect Users’: CZ’s Parting Words to Community After 4-Month Sentence

May 1, 2024

In a somber farewell address to his global community, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the influential founder of the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, emphasized the paramount importance of user protection.

His words, ‘Protect Users,’ came just moments after CZ was sentenced to a four-month imprisonment, leaving the community anxious and saddened by the court’s decision.

Gratitude in Adversity

Despite the looming worry of imprisonment, CZ’s spirits remained high, fueled by the overwhelming support from his community. He acknowledged the various forms of solidarity shown by his followers, from heartfelt letters to vocal support on social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter). 

“I would like to thank everyone for your care and support, be it writing letters, showing support on X, or in any other form. They all mean a lot to me and keep me strong,” CZ shared, his gratitude palpable through his words. With a focus on the future, he expressed a desire to turn the page on this chapter of his life and dedicate his energy to educational endeavors.

CZ also reaffirmed his continued involvement in the cryptocurrency sector as a passive investor, highlighting his commitment to the industry he helped shape. He underscored the evolving landscape of cryptocurrency regulation, stressing the newfound emphasis on compliance. 

“Our industry has entered a new phase. Compliance is super important,” he remarked, signaling a shift toward greater regulatory alignment. Furthermore, CZ pointed to a silver lining amid his legal challenges—the rigorous scrutiny Binance underwent, which ultimately reinforced the platform’s trustworthiness. “A silver lining of this whole process is that Binance has been under the microscope. And funds are SAFU,” he assured.

His final and emphatic message to the crypto community was a call to prioritize user protection: “Protect users!” This statement underscores his enduring dedication to the safety and integrity of the cryptocurrency market, despite his personal legal challenges.

Echoes of Appreciation

The community’s response to Zhao’s departure was deeply sympathetic, with many expressing gratitude for his role in advancing the cryptocurrency industry, a field once marginalized by mainstream financial sectors. Notable figures within the crypto community shared their admiration and support.

Ki Young Ju, CEO of CryptoQuant, an on-chain and market data analytics provider, praised CZ’s influence: “You’ve advanced this industry by guiding entrepreneurs to build products and making crypto purchases more accessible and secure worldwide. Thank you, CZ. We appreciate you.”

Coin Bureau, an informational portal for all things cryptocurrency, expressed its gratitude to the Binance founder: “Stay SAFU! Thanks for everything you have done for the industry.”

“Cz I have tremendous respect for you and was overjoyed that your sentence was not years which would have been unfair — get through this and share your wisdom with others you will be a legendary educator — if you need teachers and help don’t hesitate to ask — it would be an honor to get to know you more — with respect,” crypto commentator MartyParty told the crypto founder.

Legal Proceedings and Sentencing

The legal backdrop to CZ’s farewell was marked by a court hearing where Federal Judge Richard Jones handed down a four-month prison sentence for CZ’s failure to maintain an effective Anti-Money Laundering program at Binance. Despite prosecutors’ recommendation for a three-year sentence, Judge Jones noted the lack of evidence that Zhao was directly informed of specific illegal activities within Binance, mitigating the severity of the sentence.

In their final arguments, government lawyers criticized CZ’s managerial approach, which they claimed often prioritized seeking forgiveness over securing permission, suggesting that he should not profit from these missteps.

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