Binance’s CZ in talks with Sam Altman to explore AI investments

As an analyst with a background in technology and finance, I find Changpeng Zhao’s exploration into artificial intelligence (AI) investments intriguing, given the recent developments in his personal and professional life.

Changpeng Zhao, the founder of Binance, seems to be considering investments in artificial intelligence-centric data centers as he looks into potential new business ventures.

According to sources close to the situation, former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) has reportedly held several conversations with OpenAI’s Sam Altman as he considers new projects. This comes despite the possibility of a three-year prison sentence for allowing money laundering activities on his exchange, based on allegations made by the New York Times.

The specifics of Zhao’s conversations with Altman are scant, with reports indicating that the ex-Binance CEO holds a strong fascination for artificial intelligence. Based on available information, their initial encounter took place in 2023, prior to Zhao’s resignation from Binance. Following leadership shifts at OpenAI late last November, it is said that Zhao and Altman engaged in further discussions.

In December 2023, Zhao admitted to Ronghui Gu, a computer science professor at Columbia University, during a private meeting that they had previously engaged in conversation. Gu shared in an interview with the New York Times that both Zhao and Altman hold the belief that artificial intelligence (A.I.) will significantly contribute to the advancement of technology and human knowledge.

Gu additionally shared that Binance’s founder expressed his intention to explore investing prospects in substantial data centers essential for artificial intelligence (AI) operations. However, it is yet undetermined whether Zhao’s primary interest lies with OpenAI or similar competitors.

Today, I relinquished my role as CEO at Binance. I won’t deny the emotional challenge of this decision. But I believe it’s the best course of action. I acknowledge past errors and accept accountability. This move benefits our community, Binance as a whole, and myself in the long run. Binance has grown beyond infancy; it’s now a mature entity.— CZ 🔶 BNB (@cz_binance) November 21, 2023

In a November post on the platform X, Zhao revealed his intentions following his legal disputes, expressing his desire to invest in the areas of web3, decentralized finance, and artificial intelligence.

As an analyst, I have come to the conclusion that my next move will likely involve passive investment. Specifically, I intend to become a minority shareholder or token holder in emerging companies within the sectors of blockchain, Web3, DeFi, artificial intelligence (AI), and biotechnology.

Changpeng Zhao

While U.S. authorities push for a 36-month prison term for Zhao, highlighting the gravity of the accused crimes, they believe this penalty will serve as a deterrent to him and others from circumventing American laws for monetary benefits. Zhao, who admitted guilt for Bank Secrecy Act infringement in November 2023, is yet to be sentenced (on Apr. 30). Despite being released on a $175 million bond, his application to visit Dubai was refused by the U.S. judge due to concerns over his substantial affluence and high risk of fleeing.

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2024-04-30 11:52