Binance CEO: Exchange Assets Are Backed One-to-One, No Liquidity Crunch

Binance CEO: Exchange Assets Are Backed One-to-One, No Liquidity Crunch

December 17, 2022

The CEO of leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao, has recently defended that the exchange holds customer assets backed one-to-one that it isn’t facing a liquidity crunch during a run on the bank.

During an interview with CNBC Squawk Box hot Aaron Sorkin, Zhao defended that Binance does not have a liquidity crunch and is covering users’ withdrawals as they come in. Zhao said:

People can withdraw 100% of the assets they have on Binance. We will not have an issue on any given day. So 100% of users withdraw 100% of assets, we’d be fine

Zhao pointed out that cryptocurrency exchange’s business models are very different from the traditional business model banks use, which is relying on fractional reserves. Per his words, traditional finance professionals and regulators believe that exchanges can run on fractional reserves as well but “that is not okay.” He added:

In crypto, there’s no central bank printing money to bail out banks when there’s a liquidity crunch. So, crypto businesses have to hold user assets one-to-one and that’s what we do. It’s very simple.

Binance has recently seen the volume of withdrawals off of its platform explode amid concerns it maynot have users’ assets held separately from the exchange’s own funds. The withdrawals come after Binance was criticized for only showing “part” of its assets and liabilities in a proof-of-reserves and proof-of-liabilities verification report released over the past week, conducted by accounting firm Mazars’ South African affiliate.

Douglas Carmichael, an accounting professor at Baruch College and former chief auditor of the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, said he “can’t imagine it answers all the questions an investor would have about the sufficiency of collateralization.”

Kraken CEO Jesse Powell also criticized the report, saying it features “interchangeable” assets, negative balances, and aggregation by “class.”

Also read: What is Binance’s Withdrawal Limit?

During the interview, Zhao noted the firm is working with auditors to increase transparency and disclose its liabilities. Binance, he said, does not owe anything o any other entity, has taken no venture capital investments, and does not have loans to other parties that it relies on.

He said:

People who are hurt by FTX are now worried about everybody else. They were defending FTX before, that’s why they had money on FTX. But just because they were bitten by one snake doesn’t mean that every other animal is the same.

Per Zhao Binance is a “very simple, very self-contained type of organization and we manage our cash very simply.” Notably, Nansen data shows Binance still has over $52 billion worth of digital assets in its wallets, with over 50% being in BUSD, USDT, and BTC.

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