(June 13): Changpeng Zhao, a co-founder and the chief executive officer (CEO) of the world’s biggest crypto exchange, thinks the crypto winter is a great time to increase investment in talent and acquisitions.
“We have a very healthy war chest. We in fact are expanding hiring right now,” the Binance CEO said via a video link at the Consensus 2022 conference when asked about rival Coinbase Inc’s recent hiring freeze. His company is also “kicking into high gear in terms of M&A (merger and acquisition) activity”, he added.
Crypto firms like Coinbase, Gemini Trust Co and Rain Financial Inc have not been immune from this year’s sell-off that has impacted both stock markets and digital-asset valuations, with the latter two slashing their headcount by as much as 10%. Zhao said Binance had been frugal and avoided big promotional spending like Super Bowl ads or acquiring the naming rights to sports venues. Competing exchanges have in recent times put their names on the Crypto.com Arena and FTX Arena, which host various NBA franchises and other events. Coinbase also jumped on the Super Bowl bandwagon and has been a prominent sponsor across NBA games.
“During bull markets, everyone’s starting their own projects. Everyone’s paying everyone ridiculous compensation,” Zhao said in the Consensus interview. Now the market is more balanced, he added, and “if we are in a crypto winter, we will leverage that, and we will use that to the max”.
Binance is also looking to increase its investment in other companies, building on efforts such as its US$200 million (about RM883.7 million) investment in Forbes, which he explained is a strategic move to help drive the adoption of blockchain technology into more sectors.
Binance probably didn’t offer enough risk warnings and risk management in the past, Zhao said, adding that the company will provide much more user education and information going forward.