Changpeng Zhao (CZ) is the founder and CEO of Binance. As result of Binance’s success in becoming one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Zhao now has an estimated net worth of $1.9 Billion.
The Chinese-Canadian business executive was born in Jiangsu, China on September 10th, 1977. There, he and his parents lived in the rural parts of the province after his father was branded a “pro-bourgeois intellect” and exiled from the major city.
In the late 80s, at the age of 12, Zhao and his family moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. During his teenage years, Zhao worked several odd jobs to help provide for the family, including various fast-food and service jobs.
Upon graduating high school, the Chinese-Canadian moved to attend McGill University in Montreal. It was there that he began majoring in computer science, and where the seeds of Binance were only starting to be planted.
After graduating, Zhao interned with Tokyo Stock Exchange, working to develop software that would match trade orders. Later, he moved on to Bloomberg Tradebook, where he was a full-time developer of futures trading software.
After staying with the company for four years, in 2005, the 28-year-old moved back to China, founding a trading brokerage company, Fusion Systems. There, the Shanghai-based company was known for developing “some of the fastest high-frequency trading systems for brokers.”
In 2013, Zhao officially began working in the crypto space. During that time, he worked with various projects and even worked as the CTO of OKCoin.
It was in 2017 that Zhao left OKCoin to launch the cryptocurrency exchange that is Binance. In under eight months, the founder managed to grow the exchange company from a $15 million initial offering to the world’s largest crypto exchange.
Now moved to Japan to avoid China’s cryptocurrency ban, by January 2018, the company was given its title as the largest crypto exchange, having a market cap of $1.3 billion at the time.
Since then, Zhao has opened a second, separate extended member of the family (Binance Jersey), helped raise over $32 million to create a stable coin that wouldn’t have the same volitivity as Bitcoin at the time, and partnered with an Israel-based payment processor.
Today, Binance has acquired the Indian cryptocurrency, WazirX, and has become a true force to be reckoned with reaching over $2 trillion in total trading volume, while its coin, BNB, has become the third-largest cryptocurrency in the world.
Zhao’s Crypto Investments
While you might expect Zhao to be diversified along with the different cryptocurrencies available, in reality, the billionaire says that he is currently only invested in two: Bitcoin (BTC) and Binance Coin (BNB).
When speaking with the Associated Press, Zhao emphasized that he does not own equity in any other project. “I do this very deliberately because I don’t want any personal conflicts of interest.”
Home, Wife, and Current Lifestyle
In terms of his personal life, Zhao keeps a fairly low profile. Currently, it is unknown his marital status or if he is in a relationship. Currently, reports say that he is single.
Although he has the wealth to buy anything he wants, Zhao states that he’d rather hold onto it in crypto than sell it prematurely. “The problem with cars and houses is that I just don’t think they’re liquid.” Zhao said when asked about his lack of grandiose purchases. “You can rent an apartment or stay in a hotel – that gives you much higher liquidity… I actually prefer not to own anything.”
Despite his incredible wealth, Zhao doesn’t seem to be particularly stingy. In an interview published on November 16th, 2021, Zhao said that he planned to donate upwards of 99% of his wealth to charitable causes. “I intend to donate most of my wealth,” he said when asked, listing off the business tycoon, John D. Rockefeller as an example. “I intend to donate 90%, 95%, or 99% of my wealth.