Changpeng Zhao is the founder of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. He became a true inspiration to many people since the launch of the company in 2017. Within a span of a few months, Zhao built his company into the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Changpeng Zhao, popularly known as CZ, is one of the richest people in the world with an estimated fortune of $17.4 billion as of June 2022, according to Forbes.
After selling his apartment to buy cryptocurrencies, Zhao became one of the richest people on the planet. Her life is a story that is inspiring many people to believe in the potential of cryptocurrencies to build wealth. Below we will take an in-depth look at where Changpeng Zhao started, his early years, and how he came to become the CEO of Binance.
Personal life of Changpeng Zhao
Changpeng Zhao is a Chinese-Canadian businessman. He was born in Jiangsu province in China on September 10, 1977. His parents were teachers. Zhao’s father was working as a professor at a university and had to go into exile after being considered a bourgeois intellectual. As a result, the family moved to Vancouver, Canada in the late 1980s. During his teenage years in Canada, Zhao began working part-time to help his parents with household expenses. He used to work at McDonald’s and gas stations after school in the morning.
Changpeng Zhao’s early career
Changpeng Zhao graduated from McGill University in Montreal with a degree in Computer Science. After graduating he began a career as an intern in Tokyo. Zhao worked as a trader at the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The Tokyo exchange asked Zhao to develop software to link buy and sell orders on the exchange. After his initial experience, he joined Bloomberg Tradebook LLC in 2001 and served as director of the Futures Development sector for the next four years.
Later, in 2005, Zhao co-founded a company called Fusion Systems. The company was involved in providing information technology solutions and other consulting services. Changpeng Zhaeo remained a partner of Fusion Systems until the end of 2013 and after that, he entered the world of cryptocurrencies.
Entering the world of cryptocurrencies
In 2013, Changpeng Zhao joined as development director of the Blockchain team. Blockchain.com is a company that provides various services related to cryptocurrencies. He created a cryptocurrency wallet that handled nearly 28% of all bitcoin transactions between 2011 and 2020. Zhao worked at this company developing software with cryptocurrency wallet functionality.
After working on Blockchain for about a year, Zhao resigned from the company and joined as the CTO of a company called OKCoin. OKCoin, like Binance, was a cryptocurrency exchange and is considered one of the largest exchanges in the world. But Zhao felt that the company did not fit his vision of what an exchange should be and decided to resign from his position.
Upon giving up OKCoin, Changpeng Zhao founded a company called Bijie Tech. This company provided services for cryptocurrency exchanges in Shanghai. The company maintained its services from 2015 to 2017, until one day all Bijie Tech platforms and websites went down. There was no clarifying information giving any kind of signal as to where the company had gone. Zhao and the other managers just didn’t say anything. But with the death of Bijie Tech, a powerful company known today as Binance emerged.
Changpeng Zhao as CEO of Binance
If you know what the crypto world is, you have surely heard about Binance. It is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world and its CEO is Changpeng Zhao.
Changpeng Zhao’s interest in the world of cryptocurrencies began in 2014, when he was playing poker with a friend. That friend was Boby Leem director of BTC China. In the poker, parade was also the investor Ron Ca. All those present decided to invest at least 10% of their assets in bitcoin. Just at that time, he learned about bitcoin and started investing in it. Zhao sold his house to buy bitcoins. Such was his interest in the world of cryptocurrencies that he was willing to make such a risky bet. Zhao added his background in computer science to his interest by working at various companies dealing with cryptocurrencies.
Bijie Tech slowly disappeared only to flourish again as Binance. All the top managers and resources of the previous company went on to structure Binance. Changpeng Zhao has remained CEO of the company since its founding in 2017. This cryptocurrency exchange is the largest exchange in the world in terms of trading. Binance made Zhao a millionaire in just a matter of 180 trading days. At one point, when bitcoin reached prices of over $60,000, Zhao became the 11th richest person in the world with an estimated worth of $96 billion.
The challenges Changpeng Zhao has faced
Changpeng Zhao has faced a myriad of challenges as the CEO of Binance. China’s harsh policies against cryptocurrencies have forced the company to settle in the Cayman Islands. The United States Department of Justice has placed Binance under investigation for alleged money laundering crimes.
Similarly, many other countries such as Germany and the UK have also brought legal action and raised alerts on Binance’s operations. In fact, in 2019, there was a huge theft of bitcoins from Binance, the value of bitcoins was 40 million dollars.
Likewise, in 2022, Zhao faced the crash of cryptocurrencies such as LUNA and the UST stablecoin as well as a general fall in the crypto market.
Zhao has explicitly addressed all of these challenges, including bitcoin theft. He has made sure that the company compensates for all losses and has never let his clients down.
The secrets of success
Much of Changpeng Zhao’s success is due to his boldness, computer science skills, and years of methodical work. Experience in various stock market companies has certainly helped him a lot and luck was on his side when he sold his house to buy bitcoin. More recently this success can be attributed to continued efforts to secure multiple operating licenses for Binance. Zhao has made it his mission to make Binance legal in every country in which it has operations. Despite all the obstacles, Binance has managed to get the licenses and has successfully carried out acquisitions. This has placed the company as the leader in the crypto world.
Binance managed to generate $20 billion in revenue in 2021 from both spot and derivatives trading volumes. For every trade made on its platform, Binance charges a 0.1% commission. In 2021 Binance reached a valuation of 1300%. Today Binance continues to grow and aims to see much more growth in the years to come.
Postures and thoughts of Changpeng Zhao
As a recognized leader, Changpeng Zhao has come under public scrutiny for his political positions and economic thinking in recent years. In a now-detected tweet in August 2021, Zhao received strong public criticism for stating that generally “poor people are the ones trying to say bad things about Binance”.
In an interview with The New York Times, Zhao said that people are starting out in the crypto world as they see it grow. He claimed that many people trade and make money from cryptocurrencies despite opposing them in public. In this sense, he pointed out that the market always corrects itself despite strong speculation, both upwards and downwards.
On April 6, 2021, Zhao said on Bloomberg Markets that close to 100% of his liquid wealth was in the form of cryptocurrencies. For this reason, it is not surprising that while in 2021 he reached a fortune of 92,000 million dollars, this was reduced to 17,000 million in 2022.
In an interview published on November 16, 2021, Zhao said that he plans to donate 99% of his wealth, following the example of other tycoons. Great millionaires like Warren Buffett or Bill Gates have signed the Giving Pledge, a commitment to donate most of their fortunes in life. “I try to donate most of my wealth, as many other entrepreneurs or founders have done. From Peabody to today (A wealthy 19th-century philanthropist). I try to donate 90%, 95%, or 99% of my wealth.
How Changeng Zhao sees the future
In an interview with Spain’s El País newspaper in 2022, Zhao stated that cryptocurrencies have not yet shown their full potential. “They haven’t replaced traditional money yet, but they make it so much easier to raise funds from anywhere in the world.” Zhao indicated that in about 20 years, cryptocurrencies will be everywhere. “People will use them to pay for coffee or in supermarkets. But that is something that will happen in the medium term.”
In the same way, Zhao pointed out that banks should not worry about new technology, but rather should adopt it. “It’s like bookstores. Should they have worried about the internet? In theory no. They should have embraced it and launched an e-commerce portal on their own to avoid competing with Amazon.”
Although Zhao has faced the ban on cryptocurrencies in China, he sees a favorable change of heart in meetings with financial supervisors around the world. He now hopes that cryptocurrencies can be globally regulated instead of banned.
From another point of view, Zhao sees cryptocurrencies as an alternative in cases of financial blockade or conflicts. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the first major conflict in which cryptocurrencies have participated. Ukraine has benefited from the use of cryptocurrencies and it is clear to Changpeng Zhao that this technology can help in cases of dire need and humanitarian causes. “Ukraine asked for donations in cryptocurrencies and they have benefited a lot from them,” says Zhao. “They have obtained about 60 million dollars and they have received it in very small payments. That means a lot of people have supported them. This shows that cryptocurrencies are a global force.”
Positions for cryptocurrency projects in trouble
Changpeng Zhao has been recognized for fostering innovation in the crypto world. However, this does not mean that all proposals are welcome on Binance. In fact, Binance has been recognized for being a very selective exchange in the cryptocurrency projects it accepts.
Still, Binance has not been without controversy. In 2022, the UST (a stable cryptocurrency pegged to the dollar) and LUNA projects collapsed. The two cryptocurrencies were traded on Binance. When that happened, Zhao spoke publicly, saying that bad cryptocurrencies should not be bailed out.
In a review by Cointelegraph, Zhao noted that companies that have been poorly run or launched bad products should be allowed to fall apart. This does not mean that Binance is reluctant to support cash-strapped projects, as long as the problems are solvable.
Changpeng Zhao’s story is truly inspiring. Everything we thought was impossible has become possible for him. Cryptocurrencies and their market have only started to become popular until now. Most of the people have little knowledge about it and are still unaware of its potential. In this situation, Zhao has created his own path and has become a benchmark for those who aspire to be market leaders.
It could also be said that much of the development and popularity of cryptocurrencies today is due to Changpeng Zhao. Binance has played a crucial role in keeping cryptocurrency a viable business. This is especially relevant when looking at the platform’s trading volumes. Also, thanks to Binance this market has become more accessible to more people.
Zhao created a belief that it is possible to start a business and make it the largest in the world in five years. He showed that becoming one of the richest people in the world is something that he could take a couple of years. He also proved that despite the obstacles imposed by the most powerful countries, it is possible to grow a business anywhere in the world. There is definitely a lot to learn from the inspiring personality of Changpeng Zhao or CZ.