The crypto billionaire who helped expose SBF’s insolvency calls him ‘one of the greatest fraudsters in history’ and accuses media and thought leaders of being manipulated

Changpeng Zhao, billionaire and chief executive officer of Binance
Billionaire Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, is speaking out against the former “white knight” of crypto.
Zed Jameson—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Changpeng Zhao, better known as CZ, definitely came out ahead after the meltdown of the crypto empire that was FTX—despite the fallout for the greater crypto ecosystem.

The billionaire CEO of the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance, watched his main rival essentially evaporate within a matter of weeks last month, leading trading on Binance’s platform to jump 30%.

FTX, formerly the world’s second-largest crypto exchange, filed for bankruptcy in November after customers withdrew billions from the exchange in a matter of days, prompting a halt to withdrawals. And FTX’s founder, Sam Bankman-Fried—or SBF—has been accused of using customer funds to prop up his trading business, Alameda Research.

Now CZ is speaking out against the former “white knight” of crypto.

“SBF is one of the greatest fraudsters in history, he is also a master manipulator when it comes to media and key opinion leaders,” CZ wrote in a Tuesday tweet. “SBF perpetuated a narrative painting me and other people as the ‘bad guys.’ It was critical in maintaining the fantasy that he was a ‘hero.’” 

SBF did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment. In a previous interview with DealBook, SBF denied allegations of intentional fraud.

“I didn’t ever try to commit fraud,” Bankman-Fried told reporter Andrew Sorkin at the New York Times DealBook Summit. “I was excited about the prospects of FTX a month ago. I saw it as a thriving, growing business. I was shocked by what happened this month. And reconstructing it, there are things that I wish I had done differently.”

CZ also pushed back against what he called “wrong narratives,” including accusations that he caused a bank run that “destroyed FTX” when he decided to sell Binance’s holdings of FTX’s FTT token due to a Nov. 2 CoinDesk report that revealed close financial ties between FTX and Alameda Research—SBF’s trading company. 

Binance’s sales, which were announced in a Nov. 6 Tweet, sparked a massive market selloff and $6 billion in withdrawals from FTX in a matter of days. 

But CZ and many in the crypto community argue that talk of a “bank run” doesn’t make sense, and that SBF is simply attempting to avoid jail time by saying in several recent highly publicized interviews that FTX’s failure was merely a result of bad luck and outside attacks. 

“No healthy business can be destroyed by a tweet,” CZ wrote.

The billionaire CEO added that he believes the media has painted a false narrative of SBF as a man with “good intentions” who “just made some mistakes.”

“Lying is never with good intentions,” he wrote. 

While prosecutors have yet to charge SBF with any crime, some experts say it may be just a matter of time. 

Thomas P. Vartanian, executive director at the nonprofit Financial Technology and Cybersecurity Center, who has represented parties in 30 of the 50 largest collapses of financial institutions in U.S. history, previously told Fortune that the filings from FTX’s bankruptcy so far look “pretty devastating” for SBF.

CZ also laughed off the supposed rivalry between him and SBF on Tuesday.

“We don’t focus on competitors because it’s a waste of time and resources when the industry has only touched 6% of the population,” he wrote. “We want multiple exchanges, multiple blockchains, multiple wallets, etc., to coexist in the ecosystem.”

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