Changpeng "CZ" Zhao, the founder of cryptocurrency exchange Binance who stepped down as CEO in November in a settlement over federal money laundering charges, announced plans Monday to launch a new nonprofit online education platform called Giggle Academy.

"Let's make basic education accessible and entertaining to children all around the world," he wrote on Twitter, noting that Project Giggle is hiring and that one of the benefits is the chance to work directly with him.

"Free basic (grade 1-12 ish) education for all, no revenue, gamified, adaptive,” he explained, providing a link to the Project Giggle concept paper and website.


The announcement comes as Zhao awaits sentencing on charges of failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program at Binance. In November, Zhao pleaded guilty and agreed to step down as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. Binance was ordered to pay $4.3 billion in penalties and "completely exit" the United States market.

Zhao faces between 10 and 18 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, with sentencing postponed until April 30. As part of his plea deal, Zhao paid $50 million in fines and is currently free on a $175 million bond. A federal judge imposed travel restrictions preventing him from leaving the U.S., deeming him a flight risk.

Despite his legal troubles, Zhao appears to be enthusiastic and optimistic about Project Giggle and the underlying cause. The concept paper outlines an ambitious vision to "make basic education accessible, addictive and adaptive, to the kids who don't have access to them today, all around the world, for free."

The paper cites statistics showing "over 75% of the world's 781 million illiterate adults are found in South Asia, West Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa, and women represent almost two-thirds of all illiterate adults globally." Giggle Academy aims to provide free, online courses from grades 1-12 across core subjects as well as topics like emotional intelligence, finance, and blockchain.


The no-cost, no-revenue initiative will draw support and interest through gamification to drive student engagement, an adaptive curriculum that encourages subject specialization, and a system of blockchain-based "soul-bound tokens" to certify student achievements.

Crypto Twitter certainly had thoughts.

Big man gifting the world free education after gifting [Crypto Twitter] the start of the greatest supercycle ever seen,” replied one self-described retired trader. ”Respect.”

”Very good initiative CZ—the only way to bring change in this world is through education." added Kashif Raza, founder of Bitcoin education platform Bitinning. ”Satoshi curriculum of 9 pages changed the world forever.”

Yet another follower quickly launched a Solana memecoin, although it appears more than a dozen now exist that riff on the Giggle brand.

"Building a high-quality and sticky education platform that is entirely free and accessible to all is the most impactful thing I could do for the next chapter of my life," Zhao said in a quote featured on the Giggle Academy website, which also lists job openings for a Senior Game Developer and Gamification Product Manager.

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