ABU DHABI — Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao stood in support of crypto, reassuring a packed hall on Wednesday at Abu Dhabi Finance Week (ADFW) that crypto is the future.
Yet not everyone attending the second day of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) event was buying it. A speaker at the event tweeted about his distrust of Zhao shortly after.
What happened: Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy last week, and Binance’s role in it has led to big reactions.
Nouriel Roubini, the chief economist at Atlas Capital, went on the event's main stage after Zhao and berated the CEO on stage in addition to tweeting about it.
"I can't believe @cz_binance has a license to operate in the UAE," he told CNBC correspondent Dan Murphy while on stage.
There was opposition to the views of the professor emeritus of economics at New York University, with Binance receiving support from people in the audience and globally for their pioneering work and process.
"No one in the crypto space is doing even 1/4 of what @cz_binance and @binance is doing for the crypto industry. Very transparent in all their dealings and putting in so much $ for security & adoption of crypto," wrote Twitter user Danladi Dimah Tia from Ghana.
What it means: There is increasing skepticism about the reliability of cryptocurrencies and the exchanges that manage them amid the fluctuating market that has caused huge losses among investors and led to a crypto winter.
The overall cryptocurrency market has fallen by about two-thirds from its peak to $1.07 trillion.
Before FTX’s collapse, Zhao sparked concerns among investors on Nov. 6 when he said in a tweet that Binance would sell its holdings of FTT, a token of the now-bankrupt FTX Exchange.
On Monday, Zhao announced Binance had previously held a $580 million value of FTT, of which "we only sold quite a small portion — we still hold a large bag."
Binance is currently under investigation by the US Justice Department for possible violations of money laundering rules, Reuters reported last week.
Binance was granted a license to operate in Dubai in March of this year, which Zhao said was an ideal place to operate.
“It’s not a saturated market; we don’t need to compete with the 1% of today,” he said about the United Arab Emirates and the region.
He continued to discuss his relationship with Abu Dhabi and further interest in the Gulf in the discussion with CEO of financial services company Galaxy Digital Holdings Mike Novogratz.
The Binance CEO announced that there is one market maker on his platform that he's invested in, but that it's for liquidity and registered in Bahrain.
Know more: Abu Dhabi’s international business center announced on Tuesday the introduction of blockchain technology to its legal system.
The Abu Dhabi Global Market Courts said it will begin securing commercial judgments via blockchain technology.
The judgments will be available immediately via the courts’ digital system, meaning entities will no longer need to wait for a certified copy from a judge, according to a press release.