‘I Will Do My Time’: Binance Founder Sets Sights on Life After Prison

Crypto billionaire Changpeng “C.Z.” Zhao took to Twitter hours after being sentenced to four months in prison in a Seattle courtroom to thank supporters and call out a “silver lining” to the months-long legal process.

“I will do my time, conclude this phase and focus on the next chapter of my life,” Zhao wrote. “I will remain a passive investor (and holder) in crypto. Our industry has entered a new phase.”

He noted that education will be his post-prison focus—most likely through the Giggle Academy, which he announced in March while waiting for his day in court.

”I would like to thank everyone for your care and support, be it writing letters, showing support on X, or in any other form,” Zhao wrote. “They all mean a lot to me and keep me strong.”

He also praised his former company and reinforced the overall theme of his court case.

“A silver lining of this whole process is that Binance has been under the microscope and funds are SAFU,” he said. “Compliance is super important… Protect users!”

Zhao had pleaded guilty to federal money laundering charges last year, which focused on a corporate culture at Binance that federal prosecutors say sidelined fraud prevention in favor of growth. He was forced to leave the company and pay a $50 million fine.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Zhao should be subject to enhanced sentencing guidelines due to the severity of his crimes, and asked the judge for a three-year prison sentence. Tuesday’s sentencing began with a debate over the appropriate sentence, as prosecutors wanting to use the case to “send a message” to future bad actors.

U.S. District Judge Richard Jones disagreed, and instead followed the recommendations of the federal probation office. Zhao will receive credit for time already served, and the four-year sentence could include as little as 10 months behind bars with the remaining time under supervised release.

“Everything I see about your history and characteristics are of a mitigating nature and a positive nature,” Jones told Zhao, according to The Verge.

When Zhao has completed his sentence, his “next chapter” in education will likely include Giggle Academy, a free online education platform for students from first grade through high school. He pitched the project via a concept paper that proposed 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.”

“We are looking for teachers who can create digital content,” he wrote at the time. “I will be a student myself.”

Just one week ago, he unveiled the brightly colored, smiling logo for the academy.

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