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4 Nov 2022

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From Binance CEO's Perspective, Musk Made His Decision out of the Blue

Talking at the Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon, Portugal, Changpeng Zhao said he was slightly surprised when he heard Elon Musk agreed to acquire the company, despite all that had happened before.

Musk bought Twitter for $500 million with the help of Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange. As part of "Web3," the technology industry refers to the next generation of the internet, Zhao hopes to bring Twitter into the fold.

"It's very hard to predict what Elon will do next," Zhao, who goes by "CZ" online, told the audience on the opening night of Web Summit Tuesday. "The deal was on; the deal was off; the deal was on. It's OK; we're committed to our support."

"For me, large deals like this involve so many different factors. I'm not directly involved in what he's thinking ... There are so many different little things that could go one way or another, negotiations, changes of minds."

Zhao added that he wasn't affected by Musk's attempts to find an escape from the takeover.

"When we invest in a deal, we're very comfortable if the deal goes through; we're very comfortable if the deal doesn't go through," he said.

The "number one reason" for him to buy the social media firm was to make it a "free speech platform," he added.

As a result of Musk's final agreement with Twitter, the long-running saga over Musk's purchase of Twitter has ended.

He rescinded his decision to buy the company due to concerns over suspicious accounts, partly to avoid a contentious legal battle with company management, which sued him to force him into buying it.

Musk quickly dissolved the Twitter board and fired some top executives, giving himself the CEO position. Now, he is discussing plans to monetize Twitter, such as by introducing a fee for verified accounts. Early reports indicated he wanted to charge users $20 for a blue tick badge on their profiles, but he's been rethinking this price recently and might charge $8 for the badge instead.

According to Zhao, he knew Musk wanted to introduce a fee for verification badges, but he was unaware of the latest developments.

"Elon Musk's probably a hard guy for me to predict," he said. "I'm not the CEO of Twitter. We're an investor in Twitter, but I'm not running it."

He added that he shared Musk's desire to rid the platform of bots and suspicious accounts and promote free speech. "Twitter is the global town square," he added.

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