Changpeng Zhao, commonly known as CZ, is a Chinese-Canadian business executive and entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume.
Born on November 17, 1977, in Jiangsu, China, Zhao spent his early years in China before moving to Vancouver, Canada, in the late 1980s. He completed his studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science.
After graduation, Zhao began his career in the finance and technology industry, holding positions at various companies, including Bloomberg Tradebook, Fusion Systems, and OKCoin. His experience in the field provided him with valuable insights into the emerging cryptocurrency market.
In 2013, Zhao's entrepreneurial spirit led him to co-found BijieTech, a company that built high-frequency trading systems for cryptocurrency exchanges. The success of BijieTech caught the attention of the crypto community and led to Zhao's involvement in various cryptocurrency projects.
In 2017, Zhao founded Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange that quickly gained popularity and became one of the largest players in the industry. Binance offers a wide range of trading services, including spot trading, futures trading, and decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms. It gained recognition for its user-friendly interface, extensive coin listings, and strong security measures.
Under Zhao's leadership, Binance expanded rapidly, attracting millions of users from around the world. The company's focus on innovation and its ability to adapt to changing market conditions contributed to its success. Binance also launched its native cryptocurrency, Binance Coin (BNB), which has become one of the most valuable and widely used digital assets.
In addition to his role at Binance, Zhao is actively involved in the cryptocurrency community and frequently speaks at industry conferences and events. He is known for his vision of making cryptocurrencies more accessible and promoting blockchain technology's potential to revolutionize various sectors.
While Binance has achieved significant success, it has also faced regulatory challenges in various countries. Zhao and his team have been proactive in working with regulators and ensuring compliance with local laws and regulations.
Changpeng Zhao's leadership and contributions to the cryptocurrency industry have solidified his reputation as one of the most influential figures in the space. His entrepreneurial journey, commitment to innovation, and focus on user experience have propelled Binance to become a global leader in the cryptocurrency exchange industry.
Born in 1977 in the seaside city of Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, to a university professor father and an intellectual mother, his family had good conditions and a good atmosphere. His family emigrated to Canada in the mid-to-late 1980s due to his parents’ job moves.
As a teenager, Changpeng started studying at half-time. With his family’s high school upbringing and his own hard work, Changpeng managed to get into McGill University in Montreal, one of the world’s leading universities, where he studied computer science and technology, the hottest field at the time.
Once he graduated, Changpeng joined the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Bloomberg, where he was responsible for the maintenance and development of trading systems.
But at the age of 28, in 2005, Mr Zhao unexpectedly gave up his job at Bloomberg, choosing to return to China to develop. When he came to Shanghai, he was well-established in the international economic and financial centre. He built up a fortune by setting up his own company, mainly developing high-frequency trading systems for brokerage firms.
In 2013, he was a member of the team that developed Blockchain.info and also served as Chief Technology Officer of OKCoin.
Zhao's most notable achievement came in July 2017 when he launched Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange that quickly gained traction in the industry. After launching the cryptocurrency exchange in July 2017, Binance was able to raise $15 million in an initial coin offering, and trading began on the exchange eleven days later. In less than eight months, Zhao grew Binance into the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume (as of April 2018). Zhao also launched Binance Coin in 2017, which is a utility token that gives its owners various benefits, such as discounts on trading fees. In April 2019, Binance launched Binance Smart Chain, which has smart contract functionality and is an Ethereum competitor.
In 2019, Zhao launched Binance's U.S. affiliate. Binance withdrew its application to run a Singapore-based crypto exchange in 2021.
In 2022, Zhao invested $500 million through Binance to finance the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk.
CZ, as Changpeng Zhao is commonly known, has a clear and powerful vision for the future of cryptocurrencies. His journey in the world of digital currencies was sparked by the fundamental principles underlying Bitcoin, the largest and most well-known cryptocurrency.
One of CZ's key inspirations for Bitcoin is its borderless nature and the absence of intermediaries. Traditional financial systems often involve complex intermediaries such as banks or payment processors, which can introduce inefficiencies and restrictions. Bitcoin's decentralized nature, however, allows for direct peer-to-peer transactions without the need for intermediaries. This borderless feature resonated with CZ and fueled his belief in the potential of cryptocurrencies to revolutionize financial systems globally.
In addition to the borderless nature, CZ also recognized the advantages of Bitcoin in addressing various issues with traditional money. One such issue is the unlimited supply of fiat currencies, which can lead to inflation and loss of purchasing power over time. Bitcoin, on the other hand, has a fixed supply, ensuring scarcity and potentially serving as a hedge against inflation.
CZ was also impressed by the freedom to transact that Bitcoin offers. Traditional financial systems can be subject to limitations and restrictions imposed by governments or financial institutions. Bitcoin provides individuals with the ability to transact freely, empowering them with financial autonomy.
Furthermore, CZ acknowledged the potential for low transaction fees with Bitcoin compared to traditional payment systems. Traditional payment processors often charge significant fees for transactions, especially for cross-border transfers. Bitcoin's decentralized nature enables lower fees, making it an attractive alternative for cost-effective transactions.
Recognition and Awards
- Changpeng Zhao | Forbes
- Binance | openbusinesscouncil.org
- McGill University | openbusinesscouncil.org
- Changpeng Zhao | Wikipedia
- Changpeng Zhao The Undisputed King of Crypto | rFi
- Who is Changpeng Zhao | Portfolio.net
- Billionaire Changpeng Zhao’s Binance To Offload All Remaining FTT Tokens Of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX | Forbes
- Chinese crypto billionaire poised to acquire distressed rival says it’s not a ‘win’ and there’s ‘a lot of tough work ahead’ | Fortune
- Meet Changpeng 'CZ' Zhao, the CEO of Binance, which is being sued by the CFTC over claims the exchange lacked ‘basic compliance to prevent terrorist financing’ | Yahoo Finance
- Binance’s Zhao Says No ‘Master Plan’ for Takeover of FTX | Bloomberg
- Meet Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance and the richest man in crypto, who worked at a gas station before making his $30 billion fortune | MSN
- About Our Founder | Binance
- Binance wired $500M to back Musk’s Twitter takeover — CZ | CoinTelegraph
- Changpeng Zhao: tech chief in the eye of the cryptocurrency storm | The Guardian
- Binance founder Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao shares his vision of web3 opportunities at TC Sessions: Crypto | TechCrunch
- Binance and founder Changpeng Zhao sued over accusations of trading rules violations | NBC News
- Changpeng Zhao: Binance founder undaunted by the crypto winter | Money Week
- US SEC sues Binance and founder Changpeng Zhao for breaking securities rules | SCMP
- Changpeng Zhao: Binance founder undaunted by the crypto winter | Reuters
- ‘Crypto paradise’ Singapore stung by high-profile collapses | Financial Times