A cryptocurrency CEO is now one of the world’s wealthiest.
Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, CEO of Binance, has joined the ranks of the world’s billionaires, with a net worth of at least $96 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Zhao’s estimated fortune now rivals that of Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani, whose fortune has risen dramatically in recent years.
The rise of the Chinese-Canadian entrepreneur typifies the rapid wealth creation in the world of digital currencies.
Other crypto founders made billions last year as the value of virtual coins soared, including ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin and Coinbase founder Brian Armstrong.
Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, another Binance-backed cryptocurrency exchange, said Tuesday that the industry has seen “unprecedented wealth creation.”
I believe many are trying to figure out what to do with it,” Friedman said during a virtual onstage discussion at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong.
On Monday, Zhao appeared to acknowledge the distinction on Twitter.
“Don’t sweat rankings. Consider how many you can assist “he said
Zhao tweeted again Tuesday, saying:
Unpopular opinion: instead of wealth rankings, there should be a ranking of charity and philanthropy efforts.
Unquote, “CZ intends to give away most of his wealth, even all of it, like other entrepreneurs and founders.”
A number of notable business leaders, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, have recently pledged to donate a large portion of their fortunes to charity, following in the footsteps of Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates.
Born in 2017, Zhao has grown Binance into one of the world’s largest crypto exchange.
The executive grew up in a Canadian immigrant family and previously worked at McDonald’s to support his family.
After McGill, he worked on trading software for the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Bloomberg.
“He discovered bitcoin in 2013 while playing poker and decided to go all-in on crypto, dedicating his life to it,” Binance says. “He sold his apartment for bitcoin.”
Binance, like other exchanges, has recently faced significant regulatory challenges globally, including a ban in the UK and restrictions in countries like Canada.
In an open letter last year, Zhao stated that “clear regulations are critical for continued growth.”
Increased regulation indicates an industry’s maturity, he added. “Because it allows a larger population to feel safe participating in crypto.”