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Binance CEO Narrows on Sequoia-Linked Projects as Legal Spat Continues

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:07 PM
Josiah Wilmoth
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:07 PM

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has fired a shot across the bow in its ongoing legal dispute with US venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao on Monday tweeted that the company, which operates the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange according to self-reported data, is considering requiring projects to disclose any affiliations with Sequoia when they apply to have their assets listed on the firm’s platform.

“We may soon require all projects applying to list on Binance to disclose if they have any direct or indirect relationships with Sequoia,” Zhao tweeted, adding later that “The hard working entrepreneurs are no longer weak, thanks to crypto!”

Zhao did not expound on his cryptic tweet, nor did he state outright that the company would discriminate against Sequoia-affiliated projects. Binance did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.

However, it’s apparent that relations between the two heavyweights remain tense as they continue to litigate a dispute stemming from Sequoia’s failed bid to obtain a minority ownership stake in the exchange.

As CCN.com reported, Sequoia’s Chinese wing had last year made an offer to purchase an 11 percent stake in Binance in a deal that would have valued the firm at $80 million. Those discussions broke down in late 2017 amid a cryptocurrency market boom that saw the exchange become the world’s largest cryptocurrency trading platform. Binance later received an offer from IDG Capital which would have ultimately valued the exchange at $1 billion.

Sequoia filed a suit against Zhao in March, alleging that he violated an exclusivity agreement when he entertained IDG’s offer. Zhao denies the allegations.

Last month, Binance announced that the High Court of Hong Kong had dismissed an injunction that the exchange says Sequoia “improperly obtained” last December, adding that the VC firm had been ordered to pay Zhao’s court costs.

At present, Binance has a daily trading volume in excess of $2 billion, which ranks second among cryptocurrency trading platforms. However, the company — which recently announced a relocation to bitcoin-friendly Malta — usually outpaces its competitors in total volume by a comfortable margin.

Sequoia, meanwhile, has been among the most active Silicon Valley VC firms in the cryptocurrency space and is said to have engaged in funding discussions with cryptocurrency exchanges located throughout the world.

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