Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao, CEO of crypto exchange Binance, seems to be very unhappy with his portrayal by a major media outlet, as he is willing to go to court to fight against it. Zhao has sued the Hong Kong publisher of Bloomberg Businessweek after a Chinese language version of an article allegedly depicted him as operating a shitcoin casino.
In a tweet, ‘CZ’ claimed that he was upset after the outlet changed the article’s scope and tone last minute and after convincing the chief executive that the article would show him and Binance in a positive light.
“Bloomberg: hey, we will do a nice profile piece on you, invite you for photoshoots, etc. Then switches the story last minute. Ignore all positive comments they got from 3rd parties. Picked only old negatives. And still puts you on the cover. WTF!? Unprofessional,” Zhao tweeted.
The English language version of the piece quotes an unnamed, alleged trader who claims to use Binance and who called it “a massive shitcoin casino.” The piece also quotes a sports media entrepreneur who ponders whether cryptocurrencies could be a Ponzi scheme as a whole.
At the same time, the article calls Zhao the builder of “the world’s biggest digital currency exchange” and adds that he is now facing “a looming regulatory crackdown in a brutal crypto winter.”
Court documents filed with the Southern District of New York indicate that Zhao’s legal team has applied to the relevant US court for an order authorizing them to obtain certain limited discovery from Bloomberg that is to be used in pending litigation before the Court of First Instance in Hong Kong.
The filed documents state that “[n]o basis was provided for the allegation that Binance is a ‘massive shitcoin casino’” and “no attempts were made in the Original Article to identify and verify the identity of this supposed ‘trader’.”
Before filing the lawsuit, Binance’s CEO demanded that Bloomberg retract the article, and also remove all of its online versions and related social media posts. The publisher’s lawyers have replied that, without admission of wrongdoing, Bloomberg would take steps to delete the posts and recall the physical publication of the translated piece within Hong Kong.
As Zhao considered these steps to be inadequate, he proceeded to instruct his Hong Kong counsel to file a lawsuit before a local court against the company’s affiliate, Modern Media CL. “The action asserts claims for defamation,” the documents say.