Binance co-founder Yi He, in an interview with Bloomberg, dismissed any parallels between her relationship with exchange CEO Changpeng Zhao and former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Freed’s romantic relationship with his colleague Caroline Ellison.
“There is a significant difference here: Caroline was an employee, and I am a partner. Relationships between co-founders require a lot more than dating relationships. The former are based on camaraderie, shared beliefs, and transcend gender, while the latter are based on chemistry, physical attraction, and selfish desires,” she said.
Both He and Zhao are business partners, have children together and live in the same house in Dubai. However, she referred to him as a “comrade in arms” and something of a dorm roommate. Yi He drew a parallel with Amazon when Jeff Bezos’ ex-wife Mackenzie Scott was involved with the company in its early years. However, she herself admitted that the comparison was not the most successful – the ex-wife of the founder of Amazon was not so actively involved in the business.
Both He and Zhao have known each other since at least 2014, when she hired him to be the CTO of OKCoin and brought him into the crypto exchange industry. In 2017, Yi He helped write the white paper for the $15M Binance ICO as a consultant and later joined the company.
Unlike most of the co-founders, Yi He wasn’t technically with the project at an early stage. But her prominence in the Chinese cryptocurrency industry has helped the exchange quickly achieve success, according to Bloomberg sources.
The exchange co-founder oversees Binance Labs, a multibillion-dollar venture fund that has backed over 200 projects, including P2P file-sharing platform BitTorrent and blockchain game Axie Infinity. She is credited with helping to develop the BNB Chain network. It helps control the business of institutional clients and acquisitions like CoinMarketCap. Yi He also leads the platform’s listing team.
On June 5, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Binance and Changpeng Zhao. The regulator brought 13 charges, including the sale of unregistered securities. The Ministry of Justice of the country is also investigating the company. Claims against the exchange were put forward by the supervisory authorities of a number of other states.
“We respect the position of regulators, regardless of whether they support the development of cryptocurrencies or oppose it. I understand that the overall purpose of their work is good for protecting investors,” Yi He commented.
She admitted the possibility of Binance’s defeat in the proceedings and her and Zhao’s possible departure from the company. According to her, in this case, reserve top managers are being prepared, whose names the businesswoman did not name.
“I think everything will be fine. We are not a single point of failure,” Yi He emphasized.
Recall that journalists found in the SEC lawsuit against Binance parallels with the case of the FTX exchange and its subsidiary Alameda Research.
The former head of the latter, Caroline Ellison, pleaded guilty in December to knowingly defrauding investors. FTX founder Bankman-Fried has been charged with 13 felony charges. In May, his lawyers filed a motion with the court to remove most of the clauses, but it was rejected.
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