Binance was in the dark about Musk’s Twitter reversal, says CEO
Binance Co-Founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao speaks on stage during the opening night of Web Summit 2022.
Hugo Amral | Sopa Pictures | Light flare | Getty Images
LISBON, Portugal — The boss of crypto exchange Binance says he was unaware of Elon Musk’s thinking when the billionaire backed off, then relaunched, his takeover of Twitter.
Speaking on stage at the Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon, Portugal, Changpeng Zhao said he was “a bit surprised” when he learned that Musk had finally agreed to acquire the company.
Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, is now one of Twitter’s backers, pumping in $500 million to help Musk buy the company. Zhao expressed his hope to integrate Twitter with “Web3”, a term used by the technology industry to describe the next generation of the Internet.
“It’s very hard to predict what Elon will do next,” Zhao, who goes by the name “CZ” online, told the audience at the Web Summit’s opening night on Tuesday. “Deal was done, deal was off, deal was done. It’s okay, we pledge our support.”
“For me, big deals like this involve so many different factors. I’m not directly involved in what he thinks. Big deals, there’s so much at stake. It could go one way or another.”
Zhao added that he wasn’t bothered by Musk’s attempts to get out of the takeover.
“When we invest in a deal, we’re very comfortable if the deal goes through, we’re very comfortable if the deal doesn’t go through,” he said.
The “number one reason” for him to buy the social media company was to make it a “free speech platform”, he said.
The protracted saga over Musk’s purchase of Twitter ended last month when Musk agreed to a final deal with the company.
Having initially reversed his decision to buy the company due to concerns over suspicious accounts, he later made a renewed offer, largely to avoid a contentious legal battle with company management, who sued him. to force him to buy it after his withdrawal.
He has since disbanded Twitter’s board, fired some of its top executives, and named himself CEO. Musk is already discussing plans to improve the platform’s monetization efforts, including adding fees for verified users. Initial reports suggested he would charge users $20 for a “blue check” badge on their profiles, but his latest tweets suggest he’s leaning towards $8 instead.
Zhao said he had heard of Musk’s wish to introduce fees for verification badges, but was unaware of the latest developments.
“Elon Musk is probably a tough guy for me to predict,” he said. “I’m not the CEO of Twitter. We’re an investor in Twitter but I don’t run it.”
Zhao added that he shares Musk’s desire to promote free speech on the platform and purge it of bots and suspicious accounts. “Twitter is the global town square,” he said.