What’s Next — Binance CEO “CZ” Changpeng Zhao discusses South African plans, cryptocurrency benefits, risks, and regulations

Changpeng Zhao, affectionately called “CZ” in the cryptocurrency community, is the co-founder and CEO of blockchain infrastructure company Binance.

Binance operates the world’s largest centralised exchange for digital assets, and is behind BNB Chain.

BNB Chain is one of the biggest smart contracting blockchains and decentralised finance (DeFi) platforms.

Its native token (BNB) has the fifth-highest market cap among all cryptocurrencies, according to CoinGecko. Defi Llama shows that BNB Chain has the third-highest value locked among DeFi platforms.

Currently based in France, CZ was born in Jiangsu, China and emigrated to Canada with his family at a young age.

CZ helped develop Blockchain.info and served as chief technology officer of OKCoin, a rival centralised exchange that also runs its own blockchain.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Zhao is ranked 30th richest in the world, with a net worth estimated at $43.5 billion as of August 2022.

In this special episode of What’s Next, hosted by MyBroadband editor Jan Vermeulen, CZ discusses why he believes it’s in regulators’ best interests to licence cryptocurrency exchanges and allow local banks to work with them.

He also gives examples of real-world uses of cryptocurrency outside of payments that markets like South Africa, with already-mature payments infrastructure, could benefit from.

CZ and Jan also discuss the trade-offs that come with new technologies, with CZ likening the emergence of blockchain to the early days of the Internet.

They talk about the Terra collapse, its fallout, and whether any top 10 cryptocurrency could go to zero like Luna and UST.

CZ also answers questions about South Africa’s regulatory environment and Binance’s plans in the country, including opening a local bank account and launching fiat onramps for South African rand.

He talks about what they mean when they say BNB Chain is “bigger than Binance”, and answers questions about their plans in Africa and recent meetings with African heads of state.

CZ also discusses Binance Labs and says they believe now is the perfect time to invest in blockchain and decentralised finance projects.

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