CZ is a Bona Fide Crypto Mogul
According to a Bloomberg report, Zhao’s worth is about $96 billion, as estimated by the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. Meanwhile, CZ’s worth could be much higher, considering that the Binance CEO’s personal crypto holdings were not taken into account.
Zhao’s wealth is said to surpass that of Mukesh Amban, Asia’s richest individual, with the possibility of outranking Meta’s (formerly Facebook) Mark Zuckerberg and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
While the Binance CEO is currently the Richest crypto entrepreneur, others such as FTX chief Sam Bankman-Fried and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong also rank high up on the crypto wealth ladder. The Bloomberg Billionaire Index estimated Bankman-Fried’s and Armstrong’s worth to be $15.4 billion and $8.9 billion respectively.
Prior to leading Binance, Zhao used to work at the fast food giant McDonald’s. CZ was introduced to cryptocurrency back in 2013 by Chinese venture capitalist Ron Cao, who advised him to invest 10% of his money into Bitcoin.
Binance, which was founded in 2017, is the largest crypto exchange by trading volume. According to Bloomberg, the platform generated $20 billion of revenue in 2021.
Zhao noted the company, on a slow day, completes $40 billion worth of transactions, and has recorded a whopping $170 billion of transactions. Binance Coin (BNB), which is the native token of the exchange, has also seen impressive performance, having surged over 1300% in 2021 alone.
Meanwhile Zhao has made no comment regarding the report, but Binance disputed the estimates of the company’s value and its CEO’s net worth provided by Bloomberg. According to the exchange, cryptocurrency’s volatility makes it difficult to have an accurate figure.
Binance Striving to be Regulated
While Binance seems to be doing well in terms of numbers, the exchange has not been without challenges. The platform faced heavy scrutiny in 2021 from regulators globally.
For instance, the United StatesCommodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is reportedly investigating Binance for insider trading and market manipulation. There are also reports that the agency is probing into the crypto exchange to find out if it illegally allowed U.S. customers to trade derivatives.
Other U.S. agencies such as the Internal Revenue Services (IRS), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are also investigating the exchange. Regulators in the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, among others have issued various warnings about Binance.
However, Zhao has said that the company is making efforts to get back on regulators’ good books, adding that it is looking to have a headquarters. In addition, the exchange is also trying to establish its presence in different parts of the globe through various collaborations.
In December 2021, Binance was reportedly in talks with two of Indonesia’s largest companies, PT Bank Central Asia (BCA), controlled by the billionaire Hartono brothers, and PT Telkom, the country’s largest telecommunications operator. In the same month, the cryptocurrency exchange platform signed an agreement with the Dubai World Trade Center Authority (DWTCA), which would see the creation of an industry hub for virtual assets.