Changpeng Zhao’s wealth has been estimated for the first time by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Changpeng “CZ” Zhao is worth an estimated $96 billion, a figure that rivals tech billionaires Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, according to Bloomberg.
CZ’s net wealth has been estimated for the first time by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which concludes that it exceeds that of Asia’s richest person, Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries.
The $96 billion figure does not take into account Zhao’s personal crypto holdings, meaning it could be a significant underestimate.
It is likely CZ’s wealth could rival that of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Bloomberg said.
Among his crypto peers, the 44-year-old’s closest rivals are FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried ($15.4 billion) and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong ($8.9 billion), according to Bloomberg’s index.
Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, with a 24-hour trading volume of $106 billion as of Jan. 6, according to CoinGecko. It generated at least $20 billion of revenue last year, according to Bloomberg.
Bloomberg assumed Zhao owns 90% of Binance, and estimated the exchange’s revenue from spot and derivatives trading volumes and advertised fees. It valued the business based publicly traded peers. Zhao declined to comment to Bloomberg, and Binance disputed the accuracy of the estimates.
The head of the world’s largest crypto exchange also told the AP in an interview that he personally doesn’t “get” dogecoin, but he’s OK with that.
Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao says he plans to give away up to 99% of his wealth, according to an interview he gave to the Associated Press that was published on Wednesday. The head of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange also said he doesn’t “get” dogecoin.
“Personally, I’m financially free. I don’t need a lot of money and I can maintain my lifestyle in this way. I do intend to give away most of my wealth, like many wealthy entrepreneurs or founders did, from [John D.] Rockefeller until today. I do intend to give away 90, 95 or 99% of my wealth,” Zhao said.
Zhao said he doesn’t do much personal investing. He purchased some bitcoins in 2014 and said he has held on to most of that stake. He said the majority of his net worth is in the form of BNB (Binance coin) and that he doesn’t personally own equity in any other projects, crypto or non-crypto, to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
Forbes has estimated Zhao’s wealth at $1.9 billion, but he is likely worth significantly more given that he is Binance’s largest shareholder. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that former Binance executives think the company could be worth as much as $300 billion if it were to go public.
Asked for his takeaway on cryptos that started as a joke but soared in value, Zhao said “to be honest, I don’t get dogecoin.” But he added that “this shows the power of decentralization. What I think may or may not matter. If a large enough number of people in the community values it because it’s cute, because they like the meme, then it has value,” he continued.
Zhao also said he thinks the largest factor hindering the growth of crypto is ease of use and not its oft-cited volatility. “[Centralized exchanges] hold custody of people’s coins. (But) how to securely hold your tokens is a fundamental limitation factor. We have not provided easy-enough-to-use tools that are also secure enough today. But I think as the industry evolves, things will get better.”