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Binance CEO eyes '50 to 100 deals' as crypto slump shakes industry

·Senior Reporter
·3-min read
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Amid a heavy sell-off in cryptocurrencies in recent weeks, firms are running into trouble and some of the industry’s biggest players have stepped in to offer support.

“We’re seeing that a number of firms are insolvent, but it's a small number in the grand scheme of things,” Changpeng Zhao, founder and chief operating officer of crypto exchange Binance told Yahoo Finance Live. Zhao, known as 'CZ' by the industry, said Binance is currently “looking at 50 to 100 deals.”

But in CZ's view, these transactions aren’t necessarily bailouts, calling this an "overloaded word."

“We do look at stressed assets, companies that are insolvent and we’d like to help them either with loans, minority investments or even with majority acquisitions," CZ said. "All of those things are on the table." CZ added that Binance has already done "quite a few" deals.

Zhao Changpeng, founder and chief executive officer of Binance attends the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France June 16, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Zhao Changpeng, founder and chief executive officer of Binance attends the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France June 16, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The firm is seeing “a lot of opportunities in the market” on the hiring front, M&A, and is also exploring lowered trading fees with its U.S. subsidiary offering zero-fee bitcoin trading last week.

In recent weeks, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has arisen as the industry’s most active player offering financial relief to embattled firms. Some have likened his actions to the crypto equivalent of Warren Buffett’s actions during the Financial Crisis back in 2008.

FTX has offered crypto lender BlockFi a $250 million line of credit. Meanwhile, Canadian crypto broker has signed a term sheet with Bankman-Fried’s trading firm Alameda Research for a revolving credit line of $200 million in cash/USDC and 15,000 in BTC, a total of $519 million based on bitcoin's current value.

As of the time of this writing, Voyager had accessed $75 million of the credit and issued a notice of default to crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, which is said to be facing insolvency. The default does not break Voyager's terms with Alameda according to a release from Voyager.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 23: Sam Bankman-Fried speaks onstage during the first annual Moonlight Gala benefitting CARE - Children With Special Needs - hosted by Michael Cayre, Roy Nachum and MegaMoon Museum at Casa Cipriani on June 23, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for CARE For Special Children )
Sam Bankman-Fried speaks onstage on June 23, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for CARE For Special Children)

Crypto’s total market capitalization has dropped by more than $1 trillion in the last three months, standing at $956 billion as of Monday morning, according to Coinmarketcap. In the last month alone, bitcoin (BTC-USD) is down more than 25% and currently trades at $21,296. Ether (ETH-USD), the second largest cryptocurrency, has sold off worse, taking a 29% loss and now changing hands at $1,222 per unit.

After a year of unprecedented growth, a number of crypto firms have cut growth projections and laid off workers including Robinhood, Gemini, BlockFi, Crypto.com, Coinbase and Bitpanda. More worrisome still, some are limiting withdrawals or outright freezing customer accounts of including Babel Finance, Coinflex, Voyager Digital, and most notably the crypto lender Celsius.

Unlike FTX, Binance hasn’t yet shared the details of any deals the company has done, with CZ telling Yahoo Finance some of those firms “may or may not want to admit that they are close to bankruptcy.”

“Everybody knows we have the largest cash reserve in the industry,” CZ added, “we don’t need to advertise.”

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