April 1, 2024
People in Crypto

Changpeng Zhao’s Meteoric Rise in the Crypto Sphere

Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ, is one of the most influential and successful figures in the cryptocurrency industry. He is the founder and CEO of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume as of July 2023. According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Zhao was ranked the 136th-richest person in the world, with a net worth estimated at $13.1 billion as of December 2022. How did he achieve such a remarkable feat in just a few years? This article will explore his background, career, and vision for the future of crypto.


Zhao was born in Jiangsu, China, in 1977. His father was a university instructor who was branded a “pro-bourgeois intellect” and exiled to rural areas shortly after Zhao’s birth. In the late 1980s, when he was 12 years old, he immigrated to Canada with his family, settling in Vancouver, British Columbia. His parents were both schoolteachers in China. During his teenage years, Zhao helped support his family by holding down several menial service jobs, including working as a fast-food clerk at a McDonald’s restaurant. Zhao attended McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, where he majored in computer science.


After graduating from McGill, Zhao was selected for an internship in Tokyo, working for a subcontractor of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, developing software for matching trade orders. He then worked full-time for four years at Bloomberg Tradebook, where he was a developer of futures trading software. In 2005, Zhao moved to Shanghai to establish his technology startup company, Fusion Systems, known for “some of the fastest automated high-frequency trading platforms and systems for stockbrokers.”

In 2013, Zhao was a member of the team that developed Blockchain.info, and he also served as Chief Technology Officer of OKCoin, a platform for spot trading between fiat and digital assets. He was hired in this position in 2014 by Yi He, with whom he co-founded Binance several years later. The company was founded in 2017 in China but moved its servers and headquarters out of the country in advance of the Chinese government’s ban on cryptocurrency trading in September 2017. Zhao asked He to join Binance, and she helped rewrite parts of the white paper for Binance’s $15 million initial coin offering.

In less than eight months, Zhao grew Binance into the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume (as of April 2018). Binance offers a variety of services and products to its users, such as spot trading, futures trading, margin trading, lending, staking, savings, mining pool, decentralized exchange (DEX), launchpad, academy, research, charity, and more. Binance also launched its own utility token, Binance Coin (BNB), which gives its holders various benefits, such as discounts on trading fees. BNB has become one of the top cryptocurrencies by market capitalization as well.


Zhao has been praised for his vision, leadership, and innovation in the crypto space. He is known for his responsiveness to customer feedback and community engagement on social media platforms such as Twitter. He is also admired for his resilience and adaptability in facing various challenges and regulatory hurdles in different jurisdictions. He has stated that he does not have a fixed location for his headquarters and operates from wherever he has internet access. He has also expressed his support for decentralized finance (DeFi) and blockchain technology as a way to empower people and create more freedom and equality in the world.


Zhao’s meteoric rise in the crypto world is not without controversy and criticism. He has faced accusations of facilitating money laundering and tax evasion through his platform by both the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). He was also ordered by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority to stop all regulated activity in the United Kingdom in June 2021. Moreover, he has been criticized for sharing client data, including names and addresses, with the Russian government.


Despite these challenges, Zhao remains optimistic and confident about the future of crypto and Binance. He has stated that he believes that crypto will eventually become mainstream and that Binance will continue to grow and innovate to meet the needs and demands of its users. He has also said that he welcomes regulation as long as it is fair and consistent across different regions.

Zhao’s story is an inspiring example of how one can achieve success and impact in the crypto world with hard work, passion, and vision. He has shown that crypto is not only a lucrative industry but also a powerful tool for social change and financial inclusion. He has also demonstrated that crypto is not a zero-sum game but a collaborative and cooperative ecosystem that can benefit everyone. Zhao has proven that he is not only a leader but also a learner who is constantly seeking to improve himself and his platform. He is undoubtedly one of the most influential and successful figures in the crypto world today and for the foreseeable future.

Image: Wikimedia

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