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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Markets -> 
Crypto bourse founder sued by Sequoia unit
    2018-04-26  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

A LEGAL dispute between Zhao Changpeng, founder of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, and a unit of Sequoia Capital is offering a rare glimpse into one of the digital asset industry’s fastest-growing startups.

Sequoia sued Zhao over a funding deal gone awry, according to Hong Kong court filings on March 26 and Tuesday. The filings shed light on Zhao’s interactions with big-name venture capital firms and reveal details about how they’ve valued Binance, the exchange that Zhao started just nine months ago.

The trading platform’s meteoric rise has been one of the virtual currency industry’s most remarkable growth stories, landing Zhao on the cover of Forbes magazine and helping him amass a personal fortune that he claims is worth as much as US$2 billion.

Binance has also attracted scrutiny from regulators, who have been clamping down on digital asset exchanges around the world amid concern that the venues may be flouting securities laws.

According to the Hong Kong court filings, Zhao and Sequoia began negotiating terms of an investment in Binance in August. The deal would have given Sequoia a nearly 11 percent stake and valued the exchange at about US$80 million.

Talks continued over the next few months, the court documents show, when cryptocurrency prices and transaction values soared to all-time highs. But in mid-December, as bitcoin traded at a record near US$20,000, the negotiations broke down.

On Dec. 14, Zhao’s team told Sequoia that Binance’s existing shareholders thought their proposed deal undervalued the exchange. Around the same time, Zhao was approached by another venture capital firm, IDG Capital, with an offer that would have injected two rounds of funding into Binance at vastly higher valuations: US$400 million and US$1 billion, respectively.

At issue is whether Zhao’s talks with IDG violated his exclusivity agreements with Sequoia.

While Sequoia and Zhao are planning to settle the dispute in arbitration, the disagreement became public after Sequoia turned to Hong Kong’s High Court to successfully secure an injunction barring Zhao from negotiating with other investors. Further hearings will be necessary to establish whether Zhao was at fault, the court said Tuesday.

Zhao has previously said that Binance doesn’t need outside money and that he’s only interested in partnering with venture capital firms if they can help him work with regulators to secure operating licenses. (SD-Agencies)

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