Changpeng Zhao

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Changpeng Zhao
Jiangsu, China
Other namesCZ
Alma materMcGill University
Known forFounder and CEO of Binance
Ali Mizani Oskui and Changpeng Zhao CEO of Binance cryptocurrency exchange at the consensus 2018 conference in Singapore
Zhao (left) in 2018

Changpeng Zhao (Chinese: 赵长鹏; pinyin: Zhào Chángpéng), commonly known as "CZ", is a Chinese-Canadian business executive. Zhao is the founder and CEO of Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume as of April 2018.[2][3] Zhao was previously a member of the team that developed and also served as chief technology officer of OKCoin.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Zhao was born on September 10th, 1977,[5] in China’s Jiangsu province. In the late 1980s, he moved with his family to Canada when he was 12 years of age, settling in Vancouver, British Columbia. His parents were both teachers in China, and father worked as a university instructor before he was branded a "pro-bourgeois intellect" and exiled to rural areas shortly after Zhao's birth.[6] In his teenage years, Zhao helped to support his family by working a number of service jobs, including at a McDonald's.[4]

Zhao attended McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, where he majored in computer science.[4]


After graduating university, Zhao received 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.[4]

In 2005, he moved to Shanghai where he founded Fusion Systems,[7] known for "some of the fastest high-frequency trading systems for brokers."[4]

Beginning in 2013, he worked for various cryptocurrency projects including and also served as chief technology officer of OKCoin.[4]

In 2017, Zhao left OKCoin to launch a cryptocurrency exchange named Binance. The company was launched in July 2017, after raising $15 million in an initial coin offering.[3] In less than eight months, Zhao grew Binance into the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, as of April 2018.[2][3] Zhao also launched blockchain network Binance Smart Chain[when?] that has made significant contribution to the development of the decentralized finance industry.[8]

In February 2018, Forbes Magazine placed him third on their list of "The Richest People In Cryptocurrency".[2][4][9] As of 2021, his net worth is estimated at $1.9 billion.[10]


In a now-deleted tweet, on August 26, Zhao came under public scrutiny when he said "poor people tries to say bad things about Binance".[11]

In an interview with the New York times, Zhao said people are getting into crypto as they see it grow, "trade it and make money off it as opposed to using it", but that the market will always self-correct.[12]

On April 6th, 2021, Zhao told Bloomberg Markets that nearly 100% of his liquid net worth was in the form of cryptocurrency.[13]

In an interview published on November 16, 2021, Zhao said he plans to donate up to 99% of his wealth, with the intention to follow the feat of other magnates. "I intend to donate most of my wealth, as many other entrepreneurs or founders have done. From Rockefeller [late American business tycoon John D. Rockefeller] to today. I intend to donate 90%, 95% or 99% of my wealth.”[14]


Zhao had previously founded Fusion Systems in 2005 in Shanghai; the company built high-frequency trading systems for stockbrokers. In 2013, he joined as the third member of the cryptocurrency wallet's team. He also worked at OKCoin as CTO for less than a year, a platform for spot trading between fiat and digital assets.

Binance was founded in China but moved its servers and headquarters to Japan prior to the Chinese government’s ban on cryptocurrency trading in September 2017.

As of January 2018, Binance was the largest cryptocurrency exchange with a market capitalization of $1.3 billion, a title it has retained as of April 2021, despite competition from Coinbase, among others.

In March 2018, Binance announced its intentions to open an office in Malta after stricter regulations in Japan and China. In April 2018, Binance signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Bermuda. Months later, a similar memorandum was signed with the Malta Stock Exchange to develop a platform for trading security tokens. In 2019, company announced Binance Jersey, an independent entity from its parent exchange, with the aim to expand its European influence. Jersey based exchange offers fiat-to-cryptocurrency pairs, including the Euro and the British pound.

In August 2018, Binance along with three other big exchanges raised $32 million for a stablecoin project. The idea of stable coins is to provide a cryptocurrency without the notorious volatility of Bitcoin and other popular digital assets.

In January 2019, Binance announced that it had partnered with Israel-based payment processor Simplex to enable cryptocurrency purchases with debit and credit cards, including Visa and Mastercard. The purchases are subject to Simplex’s local bank policies and are limited to Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple’s XRP.

On 7 May 2019, Binance revealed that it had been the victim of a “large scale security breach” in which hackers had stolen 7,000 Bitcoin worth around $40 million at the time. Zhao said the hackers “used a variety of techniques, including phishing, viruses and other attacks” and structured their transaction “in a way that passed our existing security checks.” Binance halted further withdrawals and deposits but allowed trading to continue. The site pledged to reimburse customers through its "Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU)". Withdrawals resumed by 19 May.

In September 2019, the exchange began offering perpetual futures contracts, allowing leverage as high as 125 times the value of the contracts. In November 2019, Binance acquired Indian bitcoin exchange WazirX.

On 21 February 2020, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) issued a public statement responding to media reports referring to Binance as a 'Malta-based' cryptocurrency company. The statement noted that Binance "is not authorized by the MFSA to operate in the cryptocurrency sphere and is therefore not subject to regulatory oversight by the MFSA." The MFSA added that it was "assessing if Binance has any activities in Malta which may not fall within the realm of regulatory oversight."

On 28 October 2020, Forbes staff released leaked documents alleging that Binance and Zhao created an elaborate corporate structure designed to intentionally deceive United States regulators and secretly profit from cryptocurrency investors located in the country. Binance officially blocks access from IP addresses located in the United States, but "potential customers would be taught how to evade geographic restrictions", Forbes claimed.

In May 2021 it was reported that Binance was under investigation by both the Internal Revenue Service and the United States Department of Justice on allegations of money laundering and tax offenses.


  1. ^ "Changpeng Zhao". Forbes. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Cao, Sissi (2018-04-03). "Despite Bitcoin Bubble Popping, Crypto Exchanges Are Making Billionaires Richer". Observer. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  3. ^ a b c Lee, Justina; Nakamura, Yuji; Robertson, Benjamin (2018-03-28). "How a Billionaire Crypto King Built the No. 1 Exchange in Just 8 Months". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Ambler, Pamela (February 28, 2018). "From Zero To Crypto Billionaire In Under A Year: Meet The Founder Of Binance". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  5. ^ "ZHAO Changpeng - biography, news, photos, date of birth, press dossier. Personalities". Retrieved 2021-10-18.
  6. ^ "赵长鹏与币安的崛起". 知乎专栏 (in Chinese). Retrieved 2021-11-09.
  7. ^ Russell, Jon (2018-05-04). "Catch Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao at TechCrunch's blockchain event on July 6". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  8. ^ "Opinion: The technology behind cryptocurrencies can spark the innovations to help us shape a fairer world". The Independent. 2021-07-01. Retrieved 2021-07-01.
  9. ^ Forbes editors (February 6, 2018). "The Richest People In Cryptocurrency". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  10. ^ "Changpeng Zhao". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-03-14.
  11. ^ SAFU Union ( [@SafuUnion] (2021-11-23). "@PeterLBrandt @cz_binance Uncle Peter, can't expect much from someone like this:" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 2021-11-24. Retrieved 2021-11-28 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ Lipton, Eric; Livni, Ephrat (2021-07-23). "'I Feel Conflicted': Crypto's Offshore Trading Moguls Talk Shop". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2021-11-25. Retrieved 2021-11-28.
  13. ^ Kharif, Olga (6 April 2021). "Binance CEO Goes All-in on Tokens: 'I Just Want to Keep Crypto'". Bloomberg Markets. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  14. ^ Shoes, Eloisa (2021-11-17). "Bilionário da Binance vai doar quase todo seu dinheiro". Investidores Brasil - Juntos Podemos Mais (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2021-11-21.