• Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Who is Changpeng Zhao? – All You Need to Know About the Binance Ex-CEO

Louise Villalobos

ByLouise Villalobos

Feb 15, 2024
Who is Changpeng Zhao? - All You Need to Know About the Binance Ex-CEO

Changpeng Zhao, the founder of the largest crypto exchange, Binance, left his role as CEO in late 2023 after pleading guilty to failing to adhere to several anti-money laundering policies. Zhao, famously known as CZ, did not come from a well-off family. Read this article to learn about his journey from rugs to riches.

Who is CZ?

CZ came from a humble family in Jiangsu province, China. At the age of 11, he moved to Canada, where his father lived. In 1989, Zhao enrolled in a computer science course at McGill University. While on campus, he sold burgers at McDonald’s to settle his expenses. Upon graduating, CZ worked for Bloomberg as a systems programmer.

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Changpeng Zhao’s Achievements and Net Worth

In 2005, Zhao moved back to his home country, China. Twelve years later, he established the Binance crypto exchange. A few years after launching Binance, CZ earned the billionaire status. He is now among the wealthiest individuals in the world. The Bloomberg Billionaire Index shows that Zhao is the 38th wealthiest individual in the world, with a net worth of $36.7 billion.


As Binance CEO, Zhao used blockchain technology to carry out humanitarian causes. He launched the Binance Charity Foundation a few years ago. Through the program, Zhao donated more than $2.5 million in BNB last September to survivors of the deadly earthquake in Morrocco. CZ has previously said that he will donate over 90% of his wealth to charity in the future.

Why Changpeng Zhao is Important

Zhao is one of the most influential figures in the crypto industry. In 2020, Bloomberg recognized him as among the 50 most influential individuals that year. Moreover, CZ is respected for building one of the most trusted crypto companies, Binance. Per data from CoinGecko, Binance has a trust score of 10/10.

CZ’s Entrepreneurial Journey

Zhao stepped into the crypto industry in 2013 when he was appointed Head of Development at blockchain.Info. He later joined OKCoin. After CZ gained enough experience in how cryptocurrency exchanges work, he decided to build his own crypto trading platform (Binance) and launched it in 2017.

Months after going live, Binance gained massive traction due to its low trading fees and user-friendly interface. Under Zhao’s leadership, Binance developed its blockchains BNB Chain and Binance Chain and launched its exchange token BNB, which, according to CoinGecko data, is now the fourth largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

Controversies and Challenges Faced by Zhao and Binance

The road to becoming a top exchange exchange has not been smooth for Binance. The company and its founder have come under regulatory scrutiny several times in various countries. Here are some of the challenges CZ and Binance have encountered over the years:

Suspension in China

Although Binance was launched in China, it was forced out within two months of going live as the Chinese government prohibited the exchange from operating there.

Binance would later launch a P2P platform overseas to allow Chinese traders to trade Ethereum, Tether, and Bitcoin against the Yuan. However, in late 2021, the Chinese central bank barred all offshore crypto exchanges from operating, forcing Binance to block users from China.

Regulatory Battles in the US

The US Justice Department accused Binance and its former CEO in November 2023 of facilitating money laundering across the world from areas in Ukraine occupied by Russia. Zhao and Binance pled guilty and paid over $4 billion to settle charges.

Moreover, the former CEO agreed to pay $150 million to settle charges in regards to not fully implementing the Know Your Customer program. Also, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission accused Zhao of insider trading using hundreds of Binance accounts, which he allegedly owned.

CZ’s Cryptocurrency Regulation Stance

Zhao is among the many crypto gurus who have been calling for regulators across the world to adopt clear regulatory frameworks. He wants governments to formulate rules that promote blockchain innovations instead of blocking them.

Louise Villalobos

Louise Villalobos

Louise Villalobos is an adept writer, renowned for her compelling articles that illuminate and engage. Her prowess in breaking down intricate subjects provides readers with clarity and nuance. With a vast and varied portfolio, Louise has solidified her standing as a distinguished voice in contemporary journalism.