Media: Brian Brooks has left Binance US over conflict with Changpeng Zhao
Brian Brooks has stepped down as head of Binance US due to a conflict with the cryptocurrency exchange's founder Changpeng Zhao, reports New York Magazine and the New York Times.
Brooks formerly held a senior position at Coinbase and in 2020 headed the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency within the US Department of the Treasury. He left the agency in January and later became an independent board member of startup Spring Labs.
Brooks joined Binance in May. The parties hoped that his experience would help legitimise the exchange's operations in the US.
According to publications, he was implementing a multi-pronged strategy to distance Binance US from its parent company. The plan involved:
Appointing independent members to Binance US's board of directors;
raising $100 million in capital to make the unit financially self-sufficient;
transferring Binance's technology to servers based in the US.
"The transfer was the last piece of the puzzle that Brooks thought would leave Binance's regulatory problems a thing of the past. But in the early days of August, Zhao suddenly stopped everything [...]. The strategy was rejected, Brooks saw no way to resolve the company's regulatory issues and could no longer work there. So he announced his resignation on 6 August," a source told New York Magazine.
The New York Times has a slightly different version of events. The publication claims that Brooks decided to leave after GreatPoint Ventures, which was seen as a key player in the planned investment round, pulled out due to regulatory challenges against Binance. Part of the firm's decision was influenced by the fact that Zhao owns a 90% stake in Binance US, the newspaper said.
Recall that in recent months the exchange has had problems in one form or another with regulators in the Cayman Islands, Thailand, the UK, Japan, Poland, Italy, Malta, Hong Kong, Malaysia and the Netherlands.