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CZ Binance: Changpeng Zhao’s journey from Mcdonald’s to China’s richest man

The exchange created by Changpeng Zhao has been a leader in its field for 5 years already and even bypasses the stock exchanges of London, New York and Hong Kong combined in terms of trading volumes.

Fortunately, everyone already knows about Binance and how to use it, but not everyone knows about its founder and how he created the most popular crypto exchange and his future plans.

History before Binance

Changpeng Zhao, or CZ (the nickname was formed from the first letters of the English spelling of his name) was born on January 1, 1977 in the Chinese province of Jiangsu. His parents were teachers at the local school and respected people in the community. At that time, China had a tough domestic policy and censorship. And Zhao’s father was an adherent of liberal views, he was even accused of “pro-bourgeois intelligence.” After the Cultural Revolution in China, in 1984 his father was admitted to the University of British Columbia. In 1989, a family visa was finally obtained, and Zhao, along with her mother and older sister, moved to Vancouver, where they remained.

Changpeng Zhao studied well at school, was successful in volleyball, even participated in city competitions. But sport was just a hobby, he showed particular interest in computer technology. However, life in emigration was difficult. Zhao’s parents devoted their lives to education, and the family’s income was not high. Therefore, already in his teens, he gets his first part-time job at McDonald’s, and at a gas station.

After receiving his school diploma, Changpeng successfully passed the entrance exam to the University of Montreal for the Computer Science Department. As a student, he continues to earn money and tries to find himself and his business. As a result, Zhao gets a job as a stock broker in one of the small firms in Montreal. At this time, he receives not only invaluable experience, but also lays the direction of his development, along which he will move through life.

After graduating from university, the future crypto billionaire travels a lot. He is especially attracted to Tokyo and New York. For some time he worked at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), where he received his first serious project in 2001. He is engaged in the creation of a special system for placing trade orders on the stock exchange. After that, he gets a job at Bloomberg. Changpeng becomes a member of a team developing a new platform for traders called Tradebook. She specializes in the selection of effective solutions for futures trading. He devotes 4 years of his life to this project, during which he goes from an ordinary employee to the head of the exchange software development department and during this time he is awarded 4 promotions.

However, even at a company as large as Bloomberg, he lacked the opportunity to reach his full potential. Therefore, in 2005, Zhao left Bloomberg and opened his own company, Fusion Systems. In it, he continues to create effective and multifunctional services for stock exchanges and traders. He developed his company for 8 years, but in 2013 he leaves it, as he discovers a new area – the field of cryptocurrencies.

Changpeng Zhao first heard about bitcoin

He first heard about blockchain and bitcoin in particular while playing poker with his friends: Bobby Lee, who was the CEO of BTC China, and his investor Ron Cao, who was then working at Lightspeed China Partners. It was a fateful day in its history. During the game, friends suggested that he invest 10% in bitcoin, explaining that he could, with a small probability, either lose this 10%, or more likely to double the capital. This interested Changpeng so much that he began to study blockchain technology.

What I really liked about Bitcoin then and now is the lack of boundaries

The next key moment was getting to know Roger Ver, who was able to assess the potential of the future CEO of Binance. He invited him to the development team of the new Blockchain.info project, to which Changpeng made a great contribution. However, after a while, disagreements accumulate between Zhao and Ver over the further development of Blockchain.info, and at the same time, Zhao realizes that his strength is still in the exchange business. He leaves the project.

A little later, in 2014, Changpeng joined the largest Chinese exchange OKcoin at that time, in which he made many necessary acquaintances. But a year later, he leaves this exchange as well, as the management rejected his ideas to expand the business. But ambitions and new ideas do not leave CZ, and after leaving, he begins to work on creating his own crypto exchange.

One of the inspiring facts from that period of Zhao’s life is that in 2014 he sold his house and bought bitcoin at $600, and then the first cryptocurrency collapsed to $200.

After a while, he said: “I would like to tell you my story from 2015, when BTC “collapsed” to $200, and a few months before that I sold my house and bought bitcoin at $600. And as you can see, I’m still here.”

Binance – how it all began

In 2017, the crypto exchange market was not user-oriented. Interfaces, as Zhao himself said, were “clunky”, systems were slow, and there was no customer support. At the same time, the price of bitcoin was rising, users were arriving and websites were simply breaking down.

Changpeng Zhao assessed the situation and came to the conclusion that it is possible to increase the exchange rate, improve the user interface and reduce fees. In other words, make a customer-focused product. And also offer a clean exchange of cryptocurrency for cryptocurrency, and then add mobile support, and thereby reach a global audience.

At that time, against the backdrop of the same type of exchanges, these were revolutionary changes. In addition, Binance has created its own BNB token, something that no other exchange has ever done before.

Changpeng Zhao initially invested $10,000 of his own money in the project. In July 2017, days before the official launch, Binance raised about $15 million by selling BNB in ​​an ICO, which could in turn be used to pay fees. Binance was the first exchange to launch as a result of an ICO.

Literally six months later, Binance became the largest exchange in the world of cryptocurrencies. Even seemingly unshakable giants such as Bitfinex, Poloniex and Bitrex have gone by the wayside. The client base expanded at a crazy pace, with daily turnover exceeding $11 billion. Binance became the world’s leading exchange in terms of daily trading volume, and its BNB Coin token entered the top 20 cryptocurrencies by capitalization. Earnings for the first quarter of 2018 were in line with the Nasdaq. At the same time, the number of employees of the crypto platform was only 4% of the staff of the stock exchange. By the way, at that time the team consisted of former employees and colleagues of Changpeng, whom he lured to him. Now the staff is about 1700 people.

“It is easy for an outsider to get confused and many people are interested in such a structure, given that we do not have offices and there are people all over the world. But that’s exactly the mentality that I think crypto companies should be adopting because there really are no borders with crypto.”

As for the headquarters, Changpeng Zhao says it’s just a concept and it’s not that important. But because regulators require compliance with regulations, in some regions there is an office or legal address. In this sense, Binance has two styles. This summer, the CEO of Binance also stated that he wants to get a license everywhere and is considering setting up several regional headquarters. He also added that the exchange wants to “work with regulators everywhere.”

Market reversal

In January 2019, while at the bottom of the bear market (according to the price of Bitcoin) and amid many accusations and doubts about the ICO, Binance launched the Launchpad platform to help projects raise money, thus starting the IEO trend.

IEO stands for Initial Exchange Offering or Initial Exchange Offering.

This decision was decisive for the crypto market as it was able to attract new investment to the industry. And without investments and new users, the markets go sideways or into a correction.

Binance Launchpad has one key advantage: network effects. All projects first of all apply to Binance, this allows you to choose reliable and best ones. Binance should outperform other exchanges in terms of IEOs, and so far their results are in line with those expectations.

In numbers, Binance held 23 IEOs for projects with an average return of 28,000%.

If you have been holding tokens since their release, then Axie Infinity brought in 1645 x, matic – 1104x, sand 1003x and so on.

Therefore, the projects that go to Binance have a good reputation and show good profits regardless of the market.

A year after the launch, Changpeng Zhao was included in the Forbes list of the richest people with a cryptocurrency with a fortune of $ 1.1 to $ 2 billion. In 2021, he again ranked 11th in the richest representatives of the crypto industry in 2020.

But what is most interesting, according to statistics from China Caijing magazine, the founder of CZ is worth $90 billion, which makes him the richest person among ethnic Chinese and one of the ten richest people in the world, ahead of the founders of tiktok and tecent.

However, the caijing log calculation based on Changpeng Zhao’s 30% stake in Binance may not be correct. Its share far exceeds 30%, and may even exceed 90%.

Further development

Today, the exchange continues to develop. There is a particular focus on the American market. A couple of years ago, an American branch, Binance US, was opened. And in September of this year, Zhao announced that he plans to conduct an IPO within three years.

Binance Pay is being developed and promoted, with the help of which merchants can directly accept cryptocurrencies or stablecoins, as well as DeFi and NFT directions. The exchange is constantly increasing fiat channels.


Not without scandals around the stock exchange. In 2021, several countries have shown close attention to it. In particular, the authorities of the Cayman Islands, Thailand and Singapore announced an audit of Binance and related companies. The reason for this was problems with local jurisdiction. In the UK, the local unit of the exchange Binance Markets Limited was banned from operating in the country. This was also due to inconsistencies between the exchange and local laws, as well as concerns about its potential role in illegal activities. In May 2021, Blomberg reported that the Department of Justice and the IRS were investigating the work of Binance Holdings Ltd for the same reasons. Similar claims were made in Japan, Germany, and Turkey generally fined the exchange for $750,000.

In early 2021, Changpeng said that the company was deleting more than 100 fake sites, apps, and social media accounts that use the Binance brand every week.

A particularly high-profile incident was associated with a presentation that hit Forbes in 2018. The presentation, which was allegedly created by former Binance employee Harry Zhou, described the exchange as a complex corporate structure. It was intended to deliberately deceive regulators and secretly profit from crypto investors in the US. Representatives from Binance and Harry Zhou did not respond to Forbes, but Changpeng made several tweets after the publication of the material, explaining that neither former nor current employees were involved in this document.


In conclusion, I would like to say about Changpeng himself. He earned special respect for his open approach to users. He tries to be with them in constant interaction. For example, when important events happen on Binance, he is the first to announce it on his twitter.

In addition, Changpeng Zhao does not hesitate to openly stand up for cryptocurrencies. For example, he criticized Warren Buffett, explaining all his attacks on bitcoin by saying that Buffett simply does not understand anything about cryptocurrencies. More recently, he also said that despite Buffett’s criticism, investing in cryptocurrencies is not for everyone, adding that the billionaire is at a different stage in his life. When regulators began attacking cryptocurrencies in recent years, Zhao also did not remain silent. He believes in blockchain technology, so he believes that even if united, the regulators will not be able to destroy it, so he proposes to start using it. According to CZ, cryptocurrencies were not created to “kill” traditional finance and government currencies. This is just a new tool for expanding financial freedom around the world. He also believes that the fight against cryptocurrencies is reminiscent of the situation when the trading giant Amazon was just being created, and many did not want to accept its business model.

Changpeng is so devoted to crypto that he keeps all his capital in cryptocurrency.

I bought 5 or 6 laptops. I do not have a car. I don’t have a home. The problem with cars and houses is that in my opinion they are not liquid… You can rent an apartment or stay in a hotel – this gives you higher liquidity. So I’m one of those guys who value liquidity a lot more than owning something. In fact, I prefer not to own anything.

There is no doubt that Changpeng Zhao created the best and first of its kind exchange, which still remains in the top. Tens of millions of traders choose Binance, it has a huge trading volume every day. And the native BNB token has firmly established itself in the top 5 coins by market capitalization.

However, in July 2021, CZ announced the search for a candidate who could take over the management of the company from him. He does not plan to immediately leave his position, and he will not leave the exchange completely, and will continue to work on its development, especially in the area of ​​reconciliation with regulators.

I will always be a contributor to Binance and the BNB ecosystem. I don’t have to be the CEO to do this.

CZ was named one of the top 50 global idols and innovators who changed the world for the better in 2020, according to Bloomberg. And if you look at his path, and at the product that he created, you understand that this is a well-deserved recognition. And despite his announcement of resignation if he finds a suitable candidate to work with regulators, we have strong reasons to believe that the further development of Binance will be no less productive and will continue to delight us with new innovations, products and services.

Interesting about Binance

  1. Binance registration link
  2. Registration on Binance cryptocurrency exchange
  3. What is PNL – How to Calculate When Trading on Binance Crypto Exchange


Who is CZ Binance?

Changpeng Zhao, aka CZ (a nickname derived from the first letters of the English spelling of his name), is the founder of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance.

What is Cryptocurrency?

A decentralized virtual currency that is not controlled by governments or banks. It is based on cryptography. Cryptocurrency transactions take place directly between participants, usually using blockchain technology.

What is Blockchain?

The technology behind most cryptocurrencies. Each record (block) contains a ledger of transactions secured and combined with each other using cryptography. In practice, this means that the data is not stored in a single place, each network user has a complete register of transactions.

What is a Bear Market?

The trend of a long-term decline in the price of an asset in the market. Usually, a bearish trend is said to occur when the value of a given asset declines by 20% or more from its recent highs.

What is the status of the head of Binance?

According to statistics from China Caijing magazine, CZ’s founder is worth $90 billion. This makes him the richest person among ethnic Chinese and one of the ten richest people in the world, ahead of the founders of tiktok and tecent.

How to buy cryptocurrency on Binance?

We have a complete step-by-step guide to buying your first cryptocurrency with Binance.

Disclaimer: This article is not investment advice. Assess the risks yourself before making any investment decisions.

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