Changpeng Zhao

Former CEO & Co-Founder at Binance

Changpeng Zhao Bio

Changpeng Zhao, popularly known as “CZ,” is a notable figure in the cryptocurrency world, primarily for founding and leading Binance, the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. His journey from modest beginnings to a prominent name in the crypto industry is well-known.

Roots and Early Years

Born in Jiangsu province, China, Zhao’s life took an international turn when his family moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in the late 1980s, following his father’s exile from China.

Despite facing hardships, Zhao showed resilience from a young age, working in various service sector jobs, including McDonald’s, to support his family.

Academic and Corporate Ventures

Zhao’s academic journey led him to McGill University in Montreal, where he studied computer science. His career began in stock trading, developing software for the Tokyo Stock Exchange. He later enhanced his skills at Bloomberg Tradebook, contributing significantly to futures trading software.

In 2005, Zhao founded Fusion Systems in Shanghai, known for creating some of the fastest high-frequency trading systems for brokers.

Entry into Cryptocurrency

Zhao’s foray into cryptocurrency began in 2013, holding key positions in projects like and serving as the CTO of OKCoin.

His pivotal moment came in 2017 when he left OKCoin to start Binance. A successful initial coin offering raised $15 million, leading Binance to quickly become the top cryptocurrency exchange globally by April 2018.

Recognition and Impact

Zhao’s achievements in the crypto sector were recognized by Forbes Magazine in February 2018, ranking him third on their “The Richest People In Cryptocurrency” list. By September 2018, his estimated net worth was around $1.4 billion.

Legal Challenges and Resignation

In a significant turn, Zhao stepped down as Binance CEO after pleading guilty to money laundering charges in November 2023. He agreed to pay a $50 million fine as part of a plea deal, separate from Binance’s $4.3 billion settlement with the DOJ. Prosecutors are seeking an 18-month prison sentence for Zhao.

Zhao’s Departure and Future Plans

Zhao reflected on his departure, acknowledging his responsibility for his actions and expressing his intention to remain a passive investor in blockchain and other areas. He confirmed his ongoing involvement with Binance in a consultative capacity and revealed plans to stay as a shareholder. However, The New York Times reports that Zhao is barred from active involvement in Binance for three years following the appointment of a monitor.

Leadership Transition

Following Zhao’s resignation, Binance’s former Global Head of Regional Markets, Richard Teng, took over as CEO. Teng, with extensive experience in traditional financial markets, including executive roles at Dhabi Global Market, the Singapore Exchange, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, expressed his commitment to leading Binance in his new role.

Zhao’s legacy in the cryptocurrency industry remains significant, marked by his technological contributions and the rapid growth of Binance, albeit overshadowed by recent legal challenges and his departure from the company’s leadership.

Changpeng Zhao News

Changpeng Zhao Video

Changpeng Zhao Current Work

Changpeng Zhao Previous Work

  • BijieTech Founder 2015-2017
  • Blockchain Head of Development 2013-2014
  • Partner Fusion Systems 2005-2013
  • Bloomberg Head of Tradebook Futures Development 2001-2005

Changpeng Zhao Education

  • McGill University, Computer Science,

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