Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has skyrocketed to become the world's eleventh-wealthiest person, amassing a fortune of $96 billion — even without calculating the value of his personal crypto holdings, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.
As the CEO of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, Zhao's wealth eclipses that of other major crypto names, surpassing the $22.5 billion held by FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried or the $9.6 billion held by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong.
This makes Zhao — better known as CZ in crypto circles — closer to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
The 44-year-old CEO's fortune also dwarfs that of Bitcoin's pseudonymous and elusive founder Satoshi Nakamoto, who is estimated to hold up to 1.1 million Bitcoin, equivalent to $45.8 billion today.
The $96 billion figure does not account for Zhao's personal holdings of Bitcoin and Binance's own token, Binance Coin (now known as BNB), which grew almost 1,300% last year. Adding these to the equation would likely put Zhao in the same league as Bill Gates, who has a net worth of $135 billion, or Zuckerberg, who holds $124 billion and constitutes the world's fifth-richest person.
Last November, Zhao told the media that the bulk of his net worth was comprised of his personal holdings of crypto. "I bought some Bitcoins in 2014. I spent a little bit of it over time, but I held onto most of it. I did not sell. The other asset I hold, which is the majority of my net worth, is BNB (Binance coin). Personally, I don’t hold any other coins. I am a decent-sized shareholder in Binance if we ever want to realize the equity value someday," Zhao said.