Changpeng Zhao (2024)

About Changpeng Zhao

  • Changpeng Zhao, who goes by CZ, is the founder and former CEO of Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world.
  • The Chinese-Canadian coder cut his teeth building high-frequency trading systems for Wall Street's flash boys.
  • Zhao founded Binance in 2017, raising $15 million through an initial coin offering.
  • In 2023, Binance facilitated roughly half of all spot trades processed by centralized crypto exchanges.
  • Zhao pled guilty to U.S. charges of fraud and money laundering in 2023 and awaits sentencing. He retains an estimated 90% stake in Binance.

Wealth History


Forbes Lists



China Rich List (2018)Dropped off in 2019

Personal Stats

Source of Wealth
Cryptocurrency exchange, Self Made
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Did you know

Zhao was born in Jiangsu, China. His father, a professor, was labeled a pro-bourgeois intellect and temporarily exiled shortly after CZ was born.

As a teenager in Vancouver, CZ pitched in to cover the household expenses, flipping burgers at McDonald's and working overnight shifts at a gas station.

In Their Own Words

We need to respect the market, with a level of caution too. It goes up and down in cycles. And especially the fact that it doesn't always make sense.

Changpeng Zhao

More on Forbes

Changpeng Zhao (2024)


Why is Changpeng Zhao so rich? ›

Still, Zhao will enter the history books as the richest person ever to do time in US federal lockup since his ownership of Binance — and an estimated $43 billion personal fortune tied to it — remain intact. His wealth is likely to grow even bigger as Binance's business accelerates amid crypto's latest bull run.

How rich is the CEO of Binance? ›

Binance's CEO, who is worth $18.5 billion, said he doesn't 'really care much about money' Binance CEO and founder Changpeng Zhao doesn't "really care much about money," per Bloomberg.

What happened to Changpeng Zhao? ›

SEATTLE, April 30 (Reuters) - Changpeng Zhao, the former chief executive of Binance, was sentenced on Tuesday to four months in prison after pleading guilty to violating U.S. laws against money laundering at the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange.

When did Changpeng Zhao buy Bitcoin? ›

In 2005, he moved back to China, eventually owning an apartment in Shanghai. In 2015, he sold his Shanghai apartment and used the funds to purchase Bitcoin. Zhao stayed in China until the Chinese government banned crypto exchanges in late 2017. He is currently based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Why did CZ plead guilty? ›

“Binance's and Zhao's willful violations of anti-money laundering and sanctions laws threatened the U.S. financial system and our national security, and each of them has now pleaded guilty. Make no mistake: when you place profits over compliance with the law, you will answer for your crimes in the United States.”

What is Satoshi Nakamoto's net worth? ›

Nakamoto owns between 750,000 and 1,100,000 Bitcoin. In November 2021, when Bitcoin reached a value of over $68,000, his net worth would have been up to $73 billion, making him the 15th-richest person in the world at the time.

Who has the most Bitcoin? ›

The anonymous creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, reportedly possesses approximately 1 million Bitcoin, which are stored in multiple wallets. At the current price, the amount would be worth around $60 billion. Bitcoin has a maximum cap of 21 million, which makes Nakamoto one of the top Bitcoin owners.

How much is CZ worth now? ›

Is Binance China owned? ›

Binance was founded in 2017 by Changpeng Zhao, a developer who had previously created high-frequency trading software. Binance was initially based in China, then moved to Japan shortly before the Chinese government restricted cryptocurrency companies.

Why is Binance founder in jail? ›

Changpeng Zhao, the founder of the world's leading cryptocurrency exchange, was sentenced on Tuesday to four months in prison after pleading guilty last year to charges that he failed to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program.

Is Binance a Chinese owner? ›

The Chinese-Canadian entrepreneur founded Binance in 2017. Though he was required to step down as CEO of the exchange as part of his plea agreement, he is still the controlling shareholder of the company, which one person told Bloomberg was “a massive sh*tcoin casino.”

How did CZ get rich? ›

Changpeng Zhao, known as "CZ," founded Binance, which rapidly grew to be the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world by daily trading volume. With a net worth estimated at $39.6 billion as of March 2024, Zhao's story reflects the fast-paced and unpredictable world of cryptocurrency.

What companies does Changpeng Zhao own? ›

Zhao is the founder of Binance, the world?s largest cryptocurrency-exchange by volume. The company offers markets in more than 360 cryptocurrencies and has said it has over 150 million users. Zhao was sentenced to four months jail in April 2024 after pleading guilty to anti-money laundering violations.

Who owns Coinbase? ›

Who owns Coinbase? As of 7 October 2022, institutional investors own 47.89% of Coinbase's shares. Marc Andreessen is the company's largest individual shareholder, owning a 6.32% stake in the company in addition to shares held by his investment firm, Andreessen Horowitz.


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