Binance CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao was in talks to acquire beleaguered crypto exchange FTX for less than one day. That's because a quick look at the books sent the Binance team running.
"It was pretty clear pretty soon … the user funds were gone," Zhao said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."
What To Know: Binance is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world and one of the few big players left standing following the collapse of FTX which had a ripple effect on the entire industry as a result of what appears to be reckless management practices and potential fraud.
FTX co-founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, also known as "SBF," went from crypto king to crypto clown in less than 48 hours.
Related Link: Sam Bankman-Fried Is A 'Criminal,' Says Coinbase CEO
"It's clear that he lied to his users, his investors, his VC investors, his employees," Zhao said of the former FTX chief.
Once it became obvious that Bankman-Fried was hiding the truth, Zhao said his team quickly realized they couldn't trust anything they were looking at.
"It was quite hard for us to do that due diligence, so we didn't go very far," the Binance CEO said.
When asked if Zhao thought SBF knew what he was doing, he responded, "I think he thought he understood. I think he probably still thinks he understands what he's doing now. I don't think he should be tweeting."
Bankman-Fried has been on a Twitter rampage of sorts since the fallout, spewing his thoughts in long twisted Twitter threads. He has shown regret for picking a fight with Zhao and suggested that his firm ended up where it was because FTX lost its battle against Binance.
"We were never in a battle with him. He may think he is in a battle with us. We didn't even notice," Zhao told CNBC.
"This incident will set us back a bit, but then the industry will become healthier so it's actually better in the long run," Zhao said.
Originally published on Nov. 17, 2022
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