Former McDonald’s employee and CEO of world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance Changpeng Zhao, known as CZ, is the world’s richest crypto billionaire with a net worth that puts him in the league of top technology czars such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, and others. Zhao was estimated to be worth $96 billion by Bloomberg. This was the first time his fortune was estimated. $96 billion net worth (thanks to crypto boom) put Zhao ahead of 11th rank Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani who was worth $92.9 billion, as of January 9, 2022, as per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Oracle’s Larry Ellison was the 10th richest with a $107 billion net worth while Adani Group’s Gautam Adani had $78.6 billion net worth. Binance was launched only four-and-a-half years back in July 2017 in comparison to the other legacy businesses founded decades back.
Zhao’s fortune is likely underestimated as the wealth estimate hasn’t taken into account the personal crypto holdings including Bitcoin and Binance’s own token known as Binance Coin (BNB), Bloomberg said in a report. In 2021, BNB had jumped around 1,300 per cent from $41 at the beginning of 2021, beating Bitcoin and Ethereum. The growth rate in BNB price was higher than around 63 per cent growth in Bitcoin and approximately 420 per cent jump in Ethereum last year. BNB had peaked at $675 in May last year before declining to $261 towards the end of May.
While Forbes had estimated Zhao’s net worth at $1.9 billion in August 2021, according to Hurun Global Rich List 2021, Zhao had a fortune of $8 billion, up 208 per cent from the preceding year. Other crypto entrepreneurs on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index were FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried at 128th rank with $15.4 billion net worth and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong at 279th rank with $8.9 billion fortune.
Binance was the largest cryptocurrency exchange with a 24-hour trading volume of $11.8 billion, at the time of filing this report, as per CoinMarketCap. According to a Binance blog in November 2020, Zhao learned about Bitcoin in 2013 during a game of poker, after which he decided to go all-in on crypto and even sold his apartment to buy Bitcoin. Binance exchange could be worth around $300 billion as a public company, according to former company executives, as per a November 11, 2021 report by The Wall Street Journal.