Changpeng Zhao

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Changpeng Zhao
Changpeng Zhao.jpg
Occupation Founder and CEO
Employer Binance
Location undisclosed
Twitter @binance
Personal Twitter @cz_binance
LinkedIn Profile
Website Binance Homepage

Changpeng Zhao is the founder and CEO of Binance. He is widely referred to simply as "CZ."

Photographed in a dark blue hooded sweatshirt, Zhao appeared on the the cover of the February 28, 2018, edition of Forbes, becoming the face of "Crypto's Secret Billionaire Club."[1] After gaining experience in senior technical roles at and OKCoin - OKEx's affiliate - Zhao created an exchange development company, BijieTech, which provided cloud-based trading technology to a number of Asian exchanges. When Zhao established Binance in July 2017, he left BijieTech and populated the senior ranks of Binance with senior developers and engineers from BijieTech.[2]

Before launching operations in July 2018, Binance announced an initial coin offering of its BNB coin, which would give users discounts for transactions on the exchange. The sale raised $15 million and the exchange started trading eleven days later.[3] Emphasizing its transaction matching speed, reliability and security, Binance rapidly gained customers and became one of the top three most active cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, according to data aggregator CoinMarketCap.[4]

Sidestepping questions about the locations of Binance's offices and network servers, Zhao keeps open the issues of his residence as well as the regulatory jurisdiction over Binance's business operations.[5] Since launching Binance, Zhao himself has reportedly resided in Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.[6] In February 2018, Binance announced that it would establish a fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange to be headquartered in Malta, giving it a principal address in the European Union. [7]

Huron Institute's October 2018 China Rich List estimated that Zhao has holdings worth approximately $2.2 billion.[8]

In December 2018, Changpeng Zhao was voted Coindesk's number one "Most Influential in Blockchain 2018." The list included ten other figures related to the crypto and blockchain space, including Elizabeth Stark, Nouriel Roubini, and Jed McCaleb.[9][10]

In May 2019, Binance lost $40 million worth of crypto assets in a hacking attack. Zhao suggested on Twitter that the bitcoin development community should consider rewriting, or "rolling back" the blockchain to undo the transactions that caused the losses. After receiving significant criticism for this suggestion over Twitter (including Galaxy Digital's Michael Novogratz calling it "close to heresy"), Zhao said that he had ultimately decided it would not be a good idea after all.[11]

In October 2019, Zhao was interviewed on the Russian television network RBC to talk about Binance's plans to offer rubles-to-cryptocurrency trading pairs. During the interview, Zhao said that Vlaidimir Putin, President of Russia, is the "most influential person" in the blockchain space. He later tweeted that this was a "casual humor half-joke."[12]

Zhao was named to the "Bloomberg 50" list of notable people for 2020. CZ claimed Binance will make profits of $800 million to $1 billion in 2020 up from $570 billion the previous year.[13]

Zhao announced on the 27th of July, 2021, that he'd be willing to step down from his position of CEO if he could find someone who could do a "better job" than him. This came in light of increased scrutiny from international regulators.[14]

Bitwise Report[edit]

In March 2019, Bitwise released a report stating that 95 percent of spot bitcoin trading volume is fake. The report was based on order book data from 81 cryptocurrency exchanges reporting daily trade volume worth over $1 million. Zhao responded to the report by leaving a comment on Bitwise's post about it on Twitter. He said it was an "excellent report," but that "sadly, most investors who can't tell real vs fake volumes won't read such a detailed report." This sparked an intense argument over Twitter that included Larry Cernak and Frank Chaparro from The Block, a crypto-centric news site. Zhao was accused of having an ego "so tiny and fragile that constructive criticism, critical reporting, is viewed as 'attacking' and 'not being positive'" by Chaparro, who also told Zhao to "get a spine."[15]

Craig Wright[edit]

In April 2019, Craig Wright began arguing with a Twitter user called "Hodlnaut," a bitcoin user who became known for the "Lightning Torch" experiment, which was a promotional demonstration of the Lightning Network's capabilities. After achieving a large Twitter following, Hodlnaut made public posts criticizing Wright, who later sent Hodlnaut a letter accusing the Twitter user of being a "fraud," and threatening legal action. This triggered a huge wave of support for Hodlnaut, as well as renewed hate for Wright, from thousands of Twitter users.[16]

Binance later announced it would delist BCHSV. Zhao said over Twitter that Wright is a "fraud," and that "anyone who supports BSV from a tech perspective should be attacking the fraudulent Craig Wright, who is poisoning YOUR community, and not attack the rest of the world." He also said that "Anyone thinking CW is Satoshi should read about how a private key works, ie, learn about crypto;" this comment was made in reference to the controversial method by which Wright allegedly "proved" to Gavin Andresen and others that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, a claim he has made multiple times.[17][18]

Later that month, ShapeShift and Kraken announced that they would be doing the same.[19]


In 2017, venture capital firm Sequoia Capital accused Zhao of breaching an exclusivity agreement, obtaining an injunction order in an ex parte application without notifying Zhao. In April 2018, Deputy High Court Judge Roxanne Ismail ruled that Sequoia had wrongfully pursued an ex parte application without notifying Zhao. In May 2019, Zhao took Sequoia back to court, claiming that the case had hurt his reputation and prevented him from raising money at favorable valuations. He asked that Sequoia compensate him for these alleged damages.[20][21]

Anti-FUD Fund[edit]

In 2019, Zhao agreed with TRON founder Justin Sun to contribute 100 BTC each to a "FUD Fighting Fund," which would be used to combat FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt). This fund would potentially be used as a legal fund used to sue journalists who report stories that run contrary to the business interests of cryptocurrency or blockchain well as those who evangelically promote the technology.[22]


Zhao was born in Jiangsu, China, to educators. His family emigrated to Vancouver, Canada when he was young, and he went to high school and college in Canada.[23]

From 2001 to 2005 Zhao was head of Tradebook futures development at Bloomberg. Moving to Shanghai in late 2005,Zhao was an early partner at Fusion Systems Group, an IT and software development consultancy which specializes in trading and banking applications.[24] At Fusion Systems Zhao closed deals for trading systems for Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, among others.[25] He stayed at Fusion Systems for eight years.[26]

In December 2013 Zhao took his first job in crytpocurrencies when he became head of development at the cryptocurrency wallet company, now known as He worked there only until May 2014, when he joined OKCoin as CTO. At OKCoin Zhao led the launch of their "futures" trading. His stay there was also relatively brief.[27]

Zhao left OKCoin abruptly in February 2015. Details of his departure emerged when venture investor Roger Ver later sued OKCoin. In statements about his time at OKCoin, Zhao alleged that OKCoin operated self-dealing trading bots which inflated reported trading volumes on the exchange as well as hinted at financial improprieties.[28]


Zhao studied computer science at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.[29]


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  2. Whitepaper V1.1. Binance.
  3. How a Billionaire Crypto King Built the No. 1 Exchange in Just 8 Months. Bloomberg.
  4. Top 100 Cryptocurrency Exchanges by Trade Volume. CoinMarketCap.
  5. How a Billionaire Crypto King Built the No. 1 Exchange in Just 8 Months. Bloomberg.
  6. From Zero To Crypto Billionaire In Under A Year: Meet The Founder Of Binance. Forbes.
  7. World's Biggest Cryptocurrency Exchange Is Heading to Malta. Bloomberg.
  8. Heads of Bitmain, Binance and Other Crypto-Related Businessmen Among China’s Richest. Cointelegraph.
  9. Crypto’s King Midas: Backstage With CZ, the CEO Who Can’t Be Stopped. Coindesk.
  10. CoinDesk's Most Influential 2018. Coindesk.
  11. Binance CEO Spurs Outcry by Suggesting Blockchain Rollback. Bloomberg.
  12. Binance to use third-party services for providing direct fiat-crypto trading, says CEO. The Block Crypto.
  13. Bloomberg 50. Bloomberg Businessweek.
  14. Binance founder willing to go, as pressure mounts. Yahoo! Finance.
  15. CoinDesk's Most Influential 2018. CCN.
  16. Craig Wright’s Fight With a Cartoon Bitcoin Astronaut Cat Explained. Coindesk.
  17. Binance Delists BCHSV, CEO Calls Craig Wright “a Fraud”. Finance Magnates.
  18. CZ Binance. Twitter.
  19. Kraken Exchange Joins Binance, ShapeShift in Delisting Bitcoin SV. Coindesk.
  20. Binance CEO CZ Is Suing VC Giant Sequoia for Reputational Damages. Coindesk.
  22. Crypto Needs Journalists More Than It Wants to Admit. Fortune.
  23. From Zero To Crypto Billionaire In Under A Year: Meet The Founder Of Binance. Forbes.
  24. Blockchain Exec Joins Largest Chinese Exchange OKCoin. Coindesk.
  25. Whitepaper V1.1. Binance.
  26. Profile. LinkedIn.
  27. Changpeng Zhao (CZ) CTO of OkCoin Resigns. Cointelegraph.
  28. Former Exec Hits Back at OKCoin Amid Contract Dispute. Coindesk.
  29. From Zero To Crypto Billionaire In Under A Year: Meet The Founder Of Binance. Forbes.