Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao believes that a major obstacle in bringing in 100 million new users to cryptocurrency is the lack of resources available to convert fiat currencies like the US dollar into crypto assets. At the Token2049 crypto event in Singapore, Zhao spoke about this challenge.
“Today, to be very frank, it’s actually fiat ramps,” Zhao said. “With tightening regulations in the earlier part of this year, we’re seeing a lot of traditional institutions that used to provide fiat ramp channels pull away.”
This comes amid a tumultuous year for the cryptocurrency industry. In November, the largest-ever withdrawal of Bitcoin occurred when crypto exchange FTX collapsed, raising a total of $1.5 billion. In January, Metropolitan Commercial Bank, one of the first banks to get involved with cryptocurrency, announced that it would be pivoting away from its business. Silvergate Bank followed suit in March.
This means that crypto firms have fewer options for converting fiat currencies into crypto assets, as the US has tightened its regulations against crypto companies. In June, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against the largest crypto exchange in the US, Coinbase, and a day before, the SEC had similar charges against Zhao’s Binance.
Despite this, Bitcoin prices have risen since November 2021, reaching almost a quarter of its peak price in 2022 of $69,000. Zhao remains one of the wealthiest people in the crypto industry, with a total net worth of 27.1 billion dollars as per Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His exchange, Binance, is the largest crypto exchange by trading volume in 2023.