Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has accused disgraced crypto entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried of being a dangerous lunatic for threatening to leak potentially damaging information about the billionaire exchange’s co-founder, known as CZ.
“Only a psychopath could write this tweet,” Zhao said Thursday, responding to a question from a moderator at an investment summit sponsored by the Milken Institute.
CZ referred to a post by Bankman-Fried that “may have more to say about a particular match partner”.
Zhao had previously said he suspected the broken Bankman-Fried empire was responsible for leaks that put his children at risk, telling the industry on Monday had evidence pointing to FTX as the source.
Whether by default or design, Binance has emerged from the FTX collapse as the most powerful player in the crypto ecosystem – one that can sink a powerful rival in a matter of days. The collapse of FTX wiped out all of Bankman-Fried’s wealth and he could face prison time.
The result has sparked contagion across the industry, sparking a liquidity crunch at the crypto lender Genesis Global Capitalunit of Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group.
This in turn has caused problems for Gemini Earn, an earning service provided by billionaire twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, who had partnered with Genesis.
Now, Binance’s separately managed US unit is reportedly weighing a takeover of failed crypto lender Voyager Digital, which was once a target of FTX.
— Milken Institute (@MilkenInstitute) November 18, 2022
However, Zhao disputed that Binance directly benefited from its competitors’ problems. Earlier this week he argued that his exchange is so dominant that taking market share away from rivals is less profitable than the growing overall adoption of cryptocurrencies around the world, which he estimates at around 0.5% of total global wealth.
However, with his tweet, Bankman-Fried may have been taking aim at another crypto mainstay.
There has been speculation in the crypto community that Bankman-Fried’s cryptic reference to a “specific fan partner” may actually have been referring to his former colleague Sam Trabucco, who ran Alameda Research until he left the quant hedge fund in August. citing a desire to move on with his life.
As part of the FTX bankruptcy, it emerged that Alameda had suffered heavy losses earlier this year after the collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin and used FTX client funds to hedge its bets.
CZ admitted as much on Thursday, saying he wasn’t entirely sure Bankman-Fried was trying to take the Binance founder down with him.
“I’m actually not sure if this tweet is even about me or us,” he said at the Milken Institute event.
“Walking time bomb”
Zhao meanwhile had to defend himself earlier this week for legitimizing FTX as a secure exchange with his own stamp of approval, having supported it early on even though it turned out the company lacked even basic compliance guardrails .
“I understand the sentiment,” said the Binance founder, explaining that his business did not come out unscathed either: “We had $580 million [FTX native token] FTT—we sold a small portion of it, but we still hold a very large bag. So I think we acted in very ethical ways.”
Describing the entire crypto industry as “totally corrupt”, renowned economist Nouriel Roubini told the UAE that they should expel Zhao as their resident was a “ticking time bomb” and his exchange was banned or under investigation in the US and the UK.
Zhao responded that it was “rude” to spread misinformation: “We are the most licensed crypto exchange in the world,” he said on stage Thursday.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
More from Fortune:
The American middle class is at the end of an era
Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire ‘ran a gang of kids in the Bahamas’ who all dated
Christina Applegate’s early symptoms of multiple sclerosis make it clear that the disease can be mistaken for everyday aches and pains. Here’s what you need to know
Sick of a new Omicron variant? Be prepared for this symptom