Binance Coin (BNB) Hits All-Time High, CZ Becomes Wealthiest US Prisoner

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[[{“value”:”BNB hit an all-time high of $725 amid founder CZ’s prison sentence. 
Zhao’s net worth reached $38.5 billion, making him the richest person to serve time in a US federal prison.

Binance Coin (BNB), the native token of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, reached an all-time high of $725 recently. This milestone coincides with the first week of the exchange’s founder, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), serving a four-month prison sentence in the United States. Despite Zhao’s legal issues, BNB’s market capitalization has surpassed $109 billion, reflecting strong market confidence.

BNB’s price surge mirrors the growing value of assets on the Binance platform, which increased from approximately $80 billion in early January to $125 billion. This growth underscores Binance’s continued dominance in the cryptocurrency industry despite facing a $4.3 billion fine last year to settle a case with U.S. authorities.

BNB holders benefit from trading-fee discounts on the Binance platform. The token is also used for fee settlements on Binance Smart Chain, which supports various crypto applications, including games and exchanges.  Several factors have contributed to this surge in demand.

Increased user engagement on the Binance platform and the expanding utility of BNB within its ecosystem have significantly driven interest. BNB holders benefit from discounts on trading fees and opportunities to participate in token sales, enhancing the coin’s attractiveness. Additionally, the broader positive sentiment in the cryptocurrency market has bolstered BNB’s momentum.

CZ’s Wealth and Legal Troubles

Changpeng Zhao’s legal challenges include allegations of anti-money laundering (AML) and sanctions breaches, with claims that Binance failed to prevent access to the exchange by groups such as Hamas, Al Qaeda, and other militant organizations. Zhao agreed to pay a personal fine of $50 million as part of the settlement. Despite this, Zhao’s net worth, estimated at $38.5 billion, has made him the richest person ever to serve time in a U.S. federal prison. His fortune is primarily denominated in BNB.

Zhao, often referred to as “CZ,” is a significant shareholder in Binance. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Zhao’s net worth has grown by $4.1 billion in 2024, ranking him as the 40th wealthiest person globally. The 2017 whitepaper from BNB’s initial coin offering (ICO) revealed that 80 million tokens, now valued at approximately $56 billion, were allocated to the founding team.

Binance and CZ have faced significant financial penalties, including a $4.3 billion fine to the US government, as part of various settlement agreements. Despite these challenges, Binance’s valuation has soared past $100 billion. 

Altcoins Gain Traction as Bitcoin Stagnates

The cryptocurrency market has witnessed a notable shift in investment patterns as Bitcoin struggles to break the $72,000 barrier. This stagnation has redirected investor interest toward altcoins, with Binance Coin (BNB) among the primary beneficiaries.

The recent approval of spot Ether ETFs in Hong Kong and the United States reflects a growing institutional appetite for altcoins, further diversifying the market.

BNB has experienced remarkable growth this year, soaring over 200% since January. This upward trajectory brought BNB close to its all-time high of around $700. However, recent market corrections saw BNB dip 5%, settling around $608 as of this writing. Despite this setback, the long-term outlook for BNB remains strong, buoyed by the broader market’s interest in altcoins and Binance’s expanding ecosystem.

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