Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao really doesn’t want to tell you where his firm’s headquarters is located.
To kick off ConsenSys’ Ethereal Summit on Thursday, Unchained Podcast host Laura Shin held a cozy fireside chat with Zhao who, to mark the occasion, was wearing a personalized football shirt emblazoned with the Binance brand.
Scheduled for 45 minutes, Zhao spent most of it explaining how libra and China’s digital yuan were unlikely to be competitors to existing stablecoin providers; how Binance’s smart chain on Ethereum’s toes – “that depends on the definition of competing,” he said – and how Binance had an incentive to keep its independent from the exchange.
There were only five minutes left on the clock. Zhao was looking confident; he had just batted away a thorny question about an ongoing lawsuit. It was looking like the home stretch.
Then it hit. Shin asked the one question Zhao really didn’t want to have to answer, but many want to know: Where is Binance’s headquarters?
This seemingly simple question is actually more complex. Until February, Binance was considered to be based in Malta. That changed when the island European nation announced that, no, Binance is . Since then Binance has not said just where, exactly, it is now headquartered.
Little wonder that when asked Zhao reddened; he stammered. He looked off-camera, possibly to an aide. “Well, I think what this is is the beauty of the blockchain, right, so you don’t have to … like where’s the Bitcoin office, because Bitcoin doesn’t have an office,” he said.
The line trailed off, then inspiration hit. “What kind of horse is a car?” Zhao asked. Binance has loads of offices, he continued, with staff in 50 countries. It was a new type of organization that doesn’t need registered bank accounts and postal addresses.
“Wherever I sit, is going to be the Binance office. Wherever I need somebody, is going to be the Binance office,” he said.