The newly-appointed Binance CFO, Wei Zhou is something of an initial public offering (IPO) specialist, leading to speculation that the exchange is considering an IPO to raise funds.
The appointment is the latest in a succession of top executives making the move from traditional financial institutions to the cryptocurrency or blockchain sectors. Recently, FXcoin, a crypto startup based in Japan, hired former Deutsche Bank trader Yasuo Matsuda to be its virtual coin strategist, whilst another DB alumnus, Edward Budd, formed his own blockchain outfit, Adhera, with Santander’s Julio Faura. However, Wei Zhou becoming the new Binance CFO stands out as the biggest hiring coup for some time.
Zhou’s calibre is undeniable. An Economics and East Asian studies graduate from Harvard University, Zhou’s career began at Goldman Sachs’ Hong Kong division, where he specialised in investment banking for a number of years. From there Zhou cut his teeth on a series of successful IPOs for both recruitment platform Zhaopin, and Charm communications.
The experience of bringing these two uniquely Chinese products to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and NASDAQ respectively, could well prove invaluable in his new role, as no other exchange epitomes the global reach of crypto trading like Binance. When it comes to cryptocurrency, having one foot in the U.S. and the other in China is a great place to be standing.
The inevitable speculation surrounding a Binance IPO was dispelled yesterday by the exchange’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, who tweeted;
“Binance have no plans for IPO, but that doesn’t make those experiences less valuable in our new industry. On the contrary, those are very much needed. We are always looking for top talent, from traditional finance, internet … any industry and anywhere in the world!”
Whatever the reasons for Wei Zhou’s hiring are, the new Binance CFO finds himself at the confluence of two great rivers where crypto upstarts are rushing headlong into the financial old guard. Where the current takes us is anyone’s guess, but it’s going to be a Hell of a ride, so hold on tight.