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11 Jan, 2022 11:14

Crypto CEO is now one of world’s richest

The Binance exchange chief has entered the ranks of the richest people on Earth, and the tally doesn’t even count his crypto holdings
Crypto CEO is now one of world’s richest

Changpeng Zhao, the man behind the major crypto exchange Binance, has a net worth of nearly $100 billion, but plans to give most of it away.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index calculations published on Monday, Zhao has an estimated net worth of at least $96 billion. Moreover, Bloomberg’s findings do not take into account Zhao’s personal crypto holdings, which means his actual fortune may be much bigger.

In any case, Zhao’s estimated fortune now rivals those of Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. As for his fellow crypto entrepreneurs, Zhao’s closest rivals are FTX exchange founder Sam Bankman-Fried, with an estimated $15.4 billion, and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, with some $8.9 billion, according to the Index.

However, Zhao, who comes from a Chinese-Canadian immigrant family and had to work at McDonald’s to support the household in his early years, “intends to give away most of his wealth, even 99% of his wealth,” a Binance spokesperson told CNN Business on Tuesday.

In his own Twitter post on Monday, Zhao urged his followers not to “worry about rankings” and “focus on how many people you can help.”

“Unpopular opinion: instead of wealth rankings, there should be a ranking of charity and philanthropy efforts,” he wrote in a follow-up on Tuesday.

Binance is the globe’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, with a 24-hour trading volume of $16.6 billion on January 10, according to Statista.com. The exchange generated some $20 billion of revenue in 2021.

Binance faced regulatory clampdowns last year, along with other crypto exchanges. It was banned in the UK and faced other hurdles in several countries, including Canada. Zhao, however, welcomed the possibility of tightening regulations on the crypto sphere, writing in an open letter that “clear regulations are critical for continued growth” and are “positive signs that an industry is maturing,” which helps set “the foundation for a broader population to feel safe to participate in crypto.”

According to Bloomberg, Zhao owns 90% of Binance. He declined to comment on Bloomberg’s findings, and the exchange disputed the accuracy of the calculations.

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