NewsBusiness

Binance CEO CZ on Sam Bankman-Fried's Voyager Bailout: ‘I Would Never Do That Type of Deal’

In an interview for Decrypt's gm podcast, CZ laid out Binance's approach to "bailouts" and critiqued Alameda's lifeline to Voyager.

3 min read
Binance CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao speaks at the 2021 Ethereal Virtual Summit

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao—better known to everyone in crypto as "CZ"—wouldn’t have made the deal that Alameda Research made with Voyager Digital.

Alameda, the firm founded by crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried (CEO of Binance rival FTX) last month extended a $500 million line of credit to crypto broker Voyager Digital. On Wednesday, Voyager's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing revealed that Alameda itself owes Voyager $377 million.

Speaking with Decrypt on Thursday for an upcoming episode of the gm podcast, CZ said when asked about Alameda and Voyager, “That was surprising even to me, to be honest. I try not to comment on our competitors or industry peers. But I would never do that type of deal. I would never say, 'I will invest in your company and then you loan me some money.' I would just not invest in that company, I'll keep my money."

He was reluctant to comment more specifically on the slew of other deals that Bankman-Fried's companies have made in the last two weeks amid a massive crypto liquidity crunch. But earlier in the conversation, Zhao said he and the team at Binance prefer things to be more straightforward.

“Personally, for me, and to a large extent for Binance, we like very simple deals. We like deals like, 'What’s your revenue? What’s your user number?' We don’t like deals where, ‘Hey, I owe you this money, you pay me back this much money, you invest in me, I give you more money in loans, and then you bail me out.' Why don’t we just return all the money and go back to zero and talk about net, who owes who money?”

It’s not the first time Zhao has been critical of bailouts, but it is the first time he’s made it clear that Alameda’s $500 million line of credit to Voyager is something he would not touch.

Still, the timing of his previous comments about FTX's moves has been plenty suggestive.

On June 23, two days after FTX announced a $250 million line of credit to ailing crypto broker BlockFi (which became $400 million last week), CZ published a blog post. “Don’t perpetuate bad companies," he wrote. "Let them fail. Let other better projects take their place, and they will.”

None of that is to say Binance won't be doing any bailouts of its own amid the ongoing crypto liquidity crunch; CZ says it's eyeing some.

"Many companies are short on money, that doesn’t mean most of them are bad companies... some companies make minor mistakes their first time going through a bear market, they have good products, good teams, so we just gotta help help them out a bit," CZ said on the gm podcast. "And those things we are perfectly willing to do. And we’re looking at a high number of deals like that... And some of them are actually good deals. So I think you will see that we will be investing, bailing out, saving multiple projects."

CZ is the next guest on Decrypt's gm podcast; the latest guest was Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis. Listen wherever you get your podcasts, and make sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode.

Stay on top of crypto news, get daily updates in your inbox.