Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao has joined the ranks of the world’s top billionaires, with an estimated net worth of at least $96 billion, according to new calculations from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index published Monday. Zhao’s projected fortune now rivals that of Oracle founder Larry Ellison and surpasses that of Mukesh Ambani, the Indian tycoon whose fortune has also soared over the last two years.
CZ is among the richest crypto entrepreneurs.
The ascent of the Chinese-Canadian entrepreneur is emblematic of the rapid creation of wealth in the fast-moving world of digital currencies. Earlier, other crypto founders also enjoyed huge gains as the value of virtual coins rallied, with ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin and Coinbase founder Brain Armstrong both becoming billionaires. Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, another cryptocurrency exchange that Binance backs, pointed Tuesday to an “unprecedented amount of wealth creation that has occurred in the industry over the last few years.”
“Don’t worry about rankings. Focus on how many people you can help.”
In a post on Twitter Monday, Zhao also appeared to acknowledge the distinction. “Don’t worry about rankings. Focus on how many people you can help,” he wrote. Zhao launched Binance in 2017, gradually building it into one of the world’s leading crypto exchanges. According to a company blog post, the executive grew up in an immigrant family in Canada and previously worked at McDonald’s to help support his household. After studying computer science at McGill University, he worked on trading software for the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Bloomberg. Zhao learned about bitcoin in 2013 during a game of poker, after which he decided to go all-in on crypto by dedicating his life to it, according to Binance.