Changpeng “CZ” Zhao is a computer engineer, cryptocurrency expert and entrepreneur who is best known for being the founder and CEO of Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges.
Having been featured in Forbes’ Crypto Billionaires issue in February 2018, CZ held the distinction of having a net worth of over $1.1 billion dollars at the time. But he wasn’t always a billionaire, far from it.
CZ was born in China to a pair of educators. Shortly after his birth, CZ’s parents moved to Canada with their little family. Growing up in Vancouver, CZ had an average childhood that was nothing out of the ordinary in the late 90s.
Once in his late teenage years, CZ started to contribute to his household by taking up jobs at McDonald’s and a local gas station. After years of hard work, CZ enrolled into the McGill University in Montreal. It was there that he went on to obtain his degree in computer science.
He then started to move forward in his career, having multiple opportunities in big cities such as New York, London and Tokyo. During the boom of the technology sector, he saw numerous promotions in his positions due to his skillset. That was one of the reasons why he became integral to developing a trade order matching system for the Tokyo Stock Exchange as well as a futures trading solution for Bloomberg Tradebook.
After these achievements, CZ set up shop in Shanghai. In 2005, he laid down the foundation for Fusion Systems, a firm that specialized in developing broker-centric trading solutions.
From there, CZ went on to achieve numerous milestones for his company. In what would be a turning point of his career, CZ was introduced to Bitcoin in 2013.
He joined Blockchain.info’s team as a founding member, and helped develop the firm’s core solutions. After Blockchain.info, he went on to join cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin as its CTO, where he spent his time in supporting the exchange’s systems.
While starting his own cryptocurrency venture had been on his mind for a while, it wasn’t until July 2017 that Binance took off from China. The cryptocurrency exchange started off to a great start with its $15 million token sale. After, the exchange soon had to find a new home in Japan after China started to clamp down on the digital asset industry in its territory.
That relocation, which happened around September 2017, was not the easiest transition. But the cryptocurrency boom that soon followed propelled Binance to a different level. In March 2018, the exchange set up another location in Taiwan. A month later, Binance had allied itself with the government of Bermuda to house its global compliance base.
Since then, Binance and CZ have added further achievements, where the CEO has led the exchange into enabling cryptocurrency purchases through credit card and offered more secure and safe methods for users’ funds. The exchange has also ventured into a token sale platform by the name of Binance Launchpad.
At the time of writing, CZ remains a highly influential figure in the cryptocurrency space. During his free time, he often tweets through his Twitter handle, @cz_binance.