- 26 Feb, 23
Changpeng Zhao: From Zero to Hero of Crypto Empire
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, was founded by Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ, who is currently the active CEO of the company. It is said that his personal wealth exceeds $15 billion, but this is believed to be calculated by including Binance’s current value.
Established in 2017, Binance rapidly increased its daily trading volume to over $20 billion. As of April 2018, Binance became the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. Originally based in China, Binance moved its headquarters out of China when the government introduced regulations on cryptocurrency trading. In this article on Zatrun.com, you can find everything you need to know about Changpeng Zhao.
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Who is Changpeng Zhao?
Changpeng Zhao was born in the Jiangsu province of China. In the late 80s, he moved to Canada with his family when he was 12, and they settled in Vancouver, British Columbia. Both of his parents were teachers in China.
During his teenage years, Zhao worked in various service jobs, including at McDonald’s, to help support his family. He later specialized in computer science at McGill University in Quebec, Montreal, where he was also said to be talented in futures trading and the stock market.
After completing his university education, CZ travelled the world for a while until he found a job at Bloomberg in New York as a trading software expert. He started working at Bloomberg in 2001, where he was responsible for designing and developing software solutions for futures trading. He was promoted three times during his four years at Bloomberg and was responsible for leading teams in different locations, such as Tokyo, London, and New Jersey. However, in 2005, he left Bloomberg on his own initiative.
In 2005, he moved to Shanghai and founded Fusion Systems, which was known for “the fastest high-frequency trading systems for brokers.” This was his first attempt to start his own company. Although he worked on different things in the future, he spent about eight years at Fusion Systems. CZ left Fusion Systems in December 2013.
CZ, Crypto Market and Binance
CZ’s introduction to Bitcoin and blockchain took place in 2013. He was friends with Ron Cao, the Managing Director of Lightspeed Venture Partners. In August 2013, Cao invested in BTC China and introduced CZ to Bitcoin.
Another friend, BTCC CEO Bobby Lee, advised Changpeng Zhao to invest about 10% of his net worth in Bitcoin. As time passed, CZ’s interest in blockchain and Bitcoin grew, and he participated in various conferences in this field.
In 2014, Changpeng Zhao joined the cryptocurrency exchange platform OKCoin as Chief Technology Officer (CTO). At the time, OKCoin was the largest Bitcoin exchange in China. After leaving OKCoin, CZ wanted to start his own cryptocurrency company. In July 2017, he launched the Binance ICO, which raised $15 million. During the ICO, approximately 200 million BNB (Binance Coin) tokens were sold.
Within six months, Binance became the world’s number one cryptocurrency exchange. However, in September 2017, China banned all cryptocurrency exchanges, forcing Binance to move its headquarters out of China.
Discussions about CZ and Binance
In 2021, Binance came under investigation by both the United States Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service for allegations of money laundering. Additionally, the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom instructed Binance to cease all regulated activities in the country in June 2021.
In November 2022, rival exchange FTX faced a liquidity crisis. Changpeng Zhao announced that he would sell his FTT (FTX Token) holdings and suspended trading of FTT. However, CZ later revealed that he had been in talks with FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried to acquire FTX.
The following day, Zhao stated that Binance had withdrawn its offer to acquire FTX considering issues uncovered during due diligence. Two days after this announcement, FTX, once valued at $32 billion, filed for bankruptcy.
No matter what, it cannot be denied that CZ is one of the richest businessmen in the world today. CZ’s current net worth exceeds $15 billion when calculated alongside the valuation of Binance. However, this figure does not include the value of CZ’s cryptocurrency holdings, about which no information is available.