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One of the world’s wealthiest billionaires is a crypto CEO


A cryptocurrency CEO has become one of the world’s wealthiest people.

According to new figures from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index published Monday, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, who operates the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, has joined the ranks of the world’s top billionaires, with an estimated net worth of at least $96 billion.

Zhao’s estimated fortune now equals that of Oracle founder Larry Ellison and surpasses that of Indian mogul Mukesh Ambani, whose fortune has also risen dramatically in the last two years.

In the fast-moving world of digital currencies, the rise of the Chinese-Canadian entrepreneur is typical of the rapid production of riches.

Other crypto entrepreneurs profited greatly last year as the value of virtual coins increased, with ethereum developer Vitalik Buterin and Coinbase founder Brian Armstrong both becoming billionaires.

Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, another cryptocurrency exchange supported by Binance, said on Tuesday that there has been a “exceptional amount of wealth creation in the business over the last few years.”

"I think a lot of people are trying to figure out what to do with [that]," Friedman, a young billionaire himself, said during a virtual onstage discussion at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong.

Zhao appeared to recognise the distinction in a tweet on Monday.

Zhao established Binance in 2017, and it has since grown to become one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges.

According to a company blog post, the executive grew up in Canada in an immigrant family and previously worked at McDonald’s to support his family.

Following his studies in computer science at McGill University, he worked on trading software for the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Bloomberg.

"He then learned about bitcoin in 2013 during a game of poker, after which he decided to go all-in on crypto by dedicating his life to it," according to Binance. "He even sold his apartment to buy bitcoin."

Binance, like other exchanges, has faced considerable regulatory challenges in recent months, including a ban in the United Kingdom and other restrictions in nations such as Canada.

Zhao addressed the obstacles publicly last year, stating in an open letter that “clear policies are vital for continued growth.”

"More regulations are, in fact, positive signs that an industry is maturing," he added. "Because this sets the foundation for a broader population to feel safe to participate in crypto."
Crypto CEO becomes one of the world's richest billionaires|CNN

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