- Binance’s Changpeng Zhao is worth $96 billion, according to a new estimate from Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.
- That would put “CZ” in the ranks of the world’s wealthiest and not far off Mark Zuckerberg, who’s worth $124 billion.
- Yet crypto fortunes are hard to estimate and swing wildly along with the prices of digital assets.
Binance founder and boss Changpeng Zhao – better known as CZ – is worth $96 billion, according to a new estimate by Bloomberg and its Billionaires Index.
Such a net worth would put CZ in the ranks of the world’s wealthiest people. The $96 billion figure isn’t far off Mark Zuckerberg’s estimated $124 billion or Warren Buffett’s $116 billion, according to the Index.
Yet Bloomberg’s estimate doesn’t factor in CZ’s personal holdings of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and Binance’s own token. Binance coin is the world’s fourth-biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, according to Coinmarketcap.
Bloomberg reached its estimate based on what little is known about the finances of Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange according to most estimates.
It estimated that Binance made $20 billion in revenues last year, using spot and derivative exchange volumes and its advertised trading fees. Bloomberg reckons Zhao owns 90% of the company.
A net worth of $96 billion would make CZ by far and away the richest person in crypto. Satoshi, the anonymous creator of bitcoin, is estimated to be second on the list with $45.8 billion, thanks to their holdings of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the 29-year-old creator of the FTX crypto exchange is second on the list with $15.4 billion. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong is third, with a net worth of $8.9 billion.
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Estimating wealth in the notoriously volatile cryptocurrency market is a tricky task. Forbes, for example, has CZ’s net worth at $1.9 billion, far below Bloomberg’s estimate.
Fortunes can change dramatically from day to day, with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies regularly shedding or gaining 10% in value in a single session. Bitcoin stood at a record high of close to $69,000 in November, but was trading at around $42,000 as of Monday.
CZ’s Binance exchange, founded in 2017, has been at the heart of the global cryptocurrency boom over the last year. Zhao has said that, on a good day, the exchange sees trading volumes of around $170 billion.
But the company is under intense regulatory pressure around the world, as watchdogs try to get to grips with the opaque world of cryptocurrency.
For example the Netherlands’ central bank has said Binance is not in compliance with anti-money laundering laws, and the UK has cracked down on the exchange’s ability to offer services to British customers.
Zhao said in July last year he welcomes regulation and that Binance is pivoting to become a fully regulated financial institution.
Binance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.