Changpeng Zhao Net Worth Explained

The crypto world’s richest executive has an estimated net worth of $15 billion USD.

Key Takeaways:

  • CZ’s net worth is not publicly known – but estimates suggest he is worth more than $15 billion USD as of September 2024
  • Most of CZ’s fortune comes from Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange
  • CZ denied claims from Bloomberg that his net worth was in excess of $28 billion, a stat that would’ve placed him third among the richest finance businessmen in the world

Changpeng Zhao (CZ), best known as the founder and CEO of Binance, is one of the industry’s richest and most popular crypto figureheads. He is generally regarded as the crypto industry’s richest man. Most of CZ’s net worth is derived from the Binance exchange, which turns over billions of dollars in daily trading volume. This article will explore the various factors that may influence CZ’s overall net worth.

This Is What CZ Is Worth Today

Changpeng Zhao is estimated to have a net worth of around $15 billion USD as of 2024. The Binance founder and executive has not made his crypto wallets public, meaning it is difficult to reflect his actual fortune. It is likely most of his wealth is stored in his private company Binance Holdings Ltd.

Perhaps the greatest inkling we have to interpret CZ’s net worth was a tweet he made in response to a 2023 Bloomberg article. This article suggested he was the third-richest financial businessman, with a net worth of $28+ billion. CZ rebuffed these claims, stating that the “numbers are all wrong. I don’t have anywhere near as much”.

The tweet also started with the number “4” suggesting he should actually be fourth in the list. This would place his net worth somewhere between Uday Kotak ($13 billion) and Dan Gilbert ($19.4 billion).

CZ’s riches were likely on the higher end of this scale until June 2023 when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Binance on multiple charges. Some have estimated the ripple effect of this legal action will cost CZ close to $2 billion in legal fees and lost business.

Changpeng Zhao’s Net Worth Over Time

Because CZ’s fortunes are largely tied to his holdings in Binance Holdings Ltd, it is difficult to map his net worth over time. There is no doubt much of his portfolio is stored in Bitcoin and other prominent cryptocurrency projects, making his net worth subject to the whims of the market. However, since none of CZ’s wallets have been made public, it is again tough to truly track how his net worth has grown (or shrunk) since he burst onto the scene in 2017.

A useful metric to follow is Binance Coin's (BNB) market capitalization. The Binance exchange’s native token likely significantly impacts its performance and CZ’s overall wealth.

YearMarket cap (in billion US dollars)
20170.13
20181.05
20194.58
20202.65
2021103.86
202252.33
202345.7

The sporadic movements of BNB’s market cap since 2020 reflect what is known about CZ’s net worth around this time. It is reported that his wealth peaked in late 2021 (just like BNB) when his net worth topped a whopping $96 billion. It was reported that just a few months later in March 2022 – on the back of rampant inflation and the Russo-Ukranian war – his net worth had plummeted to $65 billion. This was only just the beginning, with Cryptoslate reporting that by December 2022, his fortunes had diminished to just $4.5 billion – a 90% fall from grace.

However, the crypto market’s stabilization after the FTX collapse helped CZ’s net worth rebound to around $15 billion by mid-2023.

Changpeng Zhao Hasn't Revealed His Crypto Portfolio

It is very likely that the Binance CEO’s portfolio comprises more than just holdings in his uber-successful finance company. Unfortunately, CZ keeps his cards close to his chest and doesn’t tend to disclose much about his personal wealth. What we do know, however – It is reported that CZ used $1 million of his personal net worth to invest in Bitcoin once he learned about it in 2013.

If this story is true, it would mean he could’ve purchased ~10,000 BTC. Today, that amount of Bitcoin would be worth 262 million, which doesn’t seem out of place considering CZ’s overall riches.

It is very likely that CZ owns a decent portion of Binance Coin (BNB). The token was released in late 2017, valued at about 10 cents. Since then, the coin has seen gains of over 188,000%. Even if CZ only acquired a small amount of BNB from the beginning, his holdings may still be worth millions.

This Is How CZ Amassed His Net Worth

CZ amassed a decent net worth through his early days as a software engineer working for Bloomberg. He eventually left this position, moved to Shanghai, and founded a company called Fusion Systems. It is likely he already had a decent investment portfolio at this stage, as he was able to sell a property and put together $1 million to invest in BTC. His Bitcoin holdings alone would’ve propelled him into the crypto multi-millionaire stratosphere. Yet, the fortune he built from buying BTC early is only a tiny fraction of his overall net worth.

Most of Changpeng Zhao’s net worth comes from his ownership in Binance Holdings Ltd. CZ founded Binance in 2017, and the exchange quickly became the platform for intermediate and experienced traders in the industry. Before long, Binance was the world’s most popular trading platform based on trading volume and unique weekly visits. It has retained this mantle ever since, regularly eclipsing $1 billion in trading volume every 24 hours.

Some experts in the industry have suggested that Binance, if publicly traded, could have been worth over $300 billion at its peak. In 2023, estimates place Binance Holdings Ltd’s value at around $60 billion – including its VC and US-based firms. CZ likely has exposure to a significant portion of this sum, which is where most of his net worth comes from.

Changpeng Zhao has also leveraged his fortune into fame, quickly ascending to become one of the crypto industry’s most influential figureheads. CZ is outspoken and often takes to Twitter to discuss various things relating to the blockchain industry. He regularly performs seminars and attends lectures, which helps raise his profile among both the crypto and TradFi communities. In general, CZ’s stature means he wields a significant amount of power. In fact, he made the very tweets that kick-started FTX’s demise in late 2022.

cz liquidating assets tweet

About Changpeng Zhao

Changpeng Zhao, better known as “CZ” in the industry, is a software developer and entrepreneur who founded the Binance crypto empire. The platform transformed from a no-frills trading hub to an industry goliath and has become a household name in the community. The Chinese-Canadian billionaire is widely considered to be the richest man in crypto. He still oversees operations at Binance, while also performing at conferences/events and investing in new and exciting projects.

NameChangpeng Zhao (CZ)
Date Of BirthFebruary 5, 1977
Place Of BirthJiangsu, China
Net Worth~15 billion USD
Source Of WealthBinance Holdings Ltd, BTC
NationalityChinese–Canadian
ProfessionSoftware engineer, businessman

Early Life & Education

Changpeng Zhao was born in 1977 in Jiangsu, China. He lived there until he was 12 when his parents decided to immigrate to Canada – specifically, Vancouver. CZ worked from a young age, gaining employment at popular teenage destinations like McDonald's and gas stations.

He went on to attend McGill University in Montreal, majoring in computer science. CZ’s career took off rather quickly from this point – he was awarded an internship in Tokyo to work as a software engineer for the Tokyo Stock Exchange. He eventually worked full-time at Bloomberg, where he continued honing his skills as a software engineer.

CZ’s time at Bloomberg didn’t last long, and by 2005 the businessman moved to China (Shanghai) to begin working on his startup, Fusion Systems. The business was a system for stockbrokers who wished to provide high-frequency trading mechanisms. However, CZ left his post at Fusion Systems upon hearing about Bitcoin in 2013, deciding to go all in on the asset.

Featured image from Binance.com

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