Changpeng CZ Zhao, the CEO of Binance, with an estimated net worth of $96 billion has joined the ranks of the world’s top billionaires. His projected fortune now rivals that of Oracle founder Larry Ellison and surpasses Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani.
Zhao’s climb is emblematic of the rapid creation of wealth in the fast-moving world of cryptocurrencies. Other crypto founders such as Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, and Brian Armstrong, Coinbase founder, are rolling in the huge gains of 2021. Both have also emerged as billionaires.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of FTX, has highlighted the unprecedented amount of wealth creation that has occurred in the crypto industry over the last few years. “I think that there’s a lot of people who are trying to figure out what to do with that.”
However, Zhao has said not to worry about rankings. He believes a person should focus on how many people they can help. “Unpopular opinion: instead of wealth rankings, there should be a ranking of charity and philanthropy efforts,” Zhao tweeted.
A Binance spokesperson said CZ intends to give away most of his wealth. Like fellow entrepreneurs and founders, Zhao wants to give away up to 99% of his wealth. It should be noted that a number of renowned individuals and businessmen like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have signed up for an initiative – Giving Pledge. It was started by Warren Buffett with Bill and Melinda Gates. The initiative aims to encourage the rich to donate the bulk of their fortunes to charity.
Zhao has a humble background. He grew up in an immigrant family in Canada and worked at McDonald’s to help support his family. The Binance CEO studied computer science at McGill University and worked on trading software for the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Bloomberg.
During a game of poker in 2013, he came to know about bitcoin and grew a passion for it. He set off on an crypto-life.