Zhao founded Binance after a brief career in finance, including a stint at Bloomberg, where he created trading software. He created the exchange when he was living in Shanghai.
But soon after, the Chinese government banned cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance from operating in the country, and many company employees fled. Mr Zhao maintains an active presence on Twitter but is not always easy to track down, having traveled between Japan, Singapore, Lithuania, Malta and Dubai.
Binance’s lack of a fixed headquarters is in line with the trend of remote working, said company spokeswoman Jessica Jung. In an emailed statement, Ms. Jung said the exchange has established a local presence in nearly a dozen jurisdictions, including Kazakhstan and France.
Ms. Jung said Binance had also announced that it was undergoing a corporate restructuring, “the purpose of which is to provide regulators with more clarity about our organization.” But promises made a year ago to appoint a headquarters and form a board of directors to diversify oversight of the company remain unfulfilled.
Binance is a juggernaut compared to its peers. Prior to FTX’s collapse, cryptocurrency trading volume on Binance alone exceeded the combined totals of its seven closest competitors, according to an industry data tracker.
In a panel chat that included Mr. Bankman-Fried on Nov. 10, the day before FTX filed for bankruptcy, Mr. Zhao introduced himself as the crypto veteran. He accused the FTX founder of making trades that would undermine the broader crypto market, according to screenshots obtained by The Times. “Stop now, cause no more damage,” he said. “The more damage you do now, the longer you will spend in jail.”
The panel discussion included several other prominent crypto executives, and Mr. Zhao seemed eager to devise a common strategy. “I think we should coordinate a bit to see how we can work better together to help stabilize and restore confidence for the market,” he said.