Changpeng Zhao teases writing project ahead of reporting to prison


The former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, has suggested he plans to “write something” during his upcoming four-month incarceration.

At an April 30 hearing, Judge Richard Jones sentenced Zhao to four months in prison. The former Binance CEO pleaded guilty to one felony charge for failing to maintain an effective Anti-Money Laundering program at the exchange. Zhao is expected to report to either the Camp at the Federal Correctional Institution Sheridan in Oregon or the Federal Detention Center SeaTac in Washington at a date that had not been determined at the time of publication.

Before and after the sentencing hearing, CZ remained active on social media, hinting at his plans on X. The former Binance CEO launched a youth-focused crypto and blockchain education program called Giggle Academy. He also reached out to his 8.9 million X followers, hinting at suggestions on how to pass the time in prison.

Source: Changpeng Zhao

Zhao suggested he had “nothing else to do” but read books and wait until his reporting date. He pleaded guilty to the felony charge in November 2023 and was allowed to remain out of jail and travel within areas of the United States on a $175 million bond. He will likely continue to be free until the Probation or Pretrial Services Office notifies his legal team where and when he will be required to report.

With an estimated net worth of $33 billion, CZ would be one of the wealthiest individuals to ever go to prison. Before sentencing, Zhao’s lawyers submitted declarations from experts suggesting that his wealth and status could pose a risk of theft and extortion.

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These factors could have contributed to Judge Jones not immediately ordering CZ behind bars. The Federal Bureau of Prisons may be weighing which facility could present the least risk of physical harm to Zhao during his four-month imprisonment — both FDC SeaTac and FCI Sheridan house violent offenders.

“After sentencing, […] presentence reports are utilized by the Bureau of Prisons to designate the institutions appropriate for offenders to serve their sentences, to select prison programs to help the offenders, and to develop case plans for their custody and eventual release,” states the Probation or Pretrial Services Office of the Western District of Washington’s website.

Zhao already paid a $50 million penalty as part of a deal between Binance and U.S. authorities in November. The crypto exchange agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle “civil regulatory enforcement actions,” but the matter did not resolve a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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