Changpeng Zhao, known as ‘CZ’, is the CEO of crypto exchange Binance. Bloomberg has estimated his net worth for the first time, and that is not less. According to Bloomberg’s billionaire list, CZ is worth at least 96 billion dollars. That puts him just outside the top ten.
Zhao comes close to Oracle founder Larry Ellison with that gigantic net worth. It is on the Bloomberg billionaires list at number 10 and is good for 109 billion dollars. On 11 is Mukesh Ambani, a tycoon from India with a net worth of 93.3 billion dollars. At the very top is Elon Musk. He now more than beats ancient Jeff Bezos and Bernard Arnault.
Who is Changpeng Zhao?
Changpeng Zhao grew up in a migrant family in Canada. He once made hamburgers at McDonald’s. He studied computer science at McGill University and then went on to work for the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Bloomberg. “In 2013, he got to know bitcoin during a game of poker, after which he decided to go all-in on crypto and dedicate his life to it,” Binance said. “He even sold his apartment to buy bitcoins.”
In 2017, the Chinese-Canadian entrepreneur founded crypto exchange Binance, a platform where crypto coins – including bitcoin – are traded. Cryptocurrencies go up and down but are still on the rise globally in recent years.
Similarly, Vitalik Buterin, the man behind Ethereum, and Brian Armstrong, founder of Coinbase, both became billionaires in 2021. Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of crypto exchange FTX and a billionaire himself, previously spoke of “unprecedented wealth that has been created in the sector in recent years.”
Zhao wrote on Twitter, “Don’t worry about lists. Focus on how many people you can help”. And also, “Unpopular opinion: instead of ranking wealth, there should be a ranking of charity and philanthropy.”
A Binance spokesperson informed CNN that “CZ plans to give away most of its wealth, even 99 percent of it, like other entrepreneurs and founders.” A reference to Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates’ “Giving Pledge,” an initiative that many billionaires, such as Mark Zuckerberg, have already signed, promising to donate the vast majority of their fortunes to charities.
Binance is not beyond reproach. It has clashed with a variety of regulations in several countries in recent months, leading to bans in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, among other restrictions in Canada. Zhao, therefore, called for “clear regulation, which is crucial for continued growth.”
“More regulation is actually a positive sign that an industry is maturing,” he added. “Because this lays the foundation for a broader population to feel safe to participate in crypto.”
CZ’s real assets are probably much higher than 96 billion dollars. Bloomberg does not take into account the assets from Zhao’s personal portfolio of crypto coins for its estimate.