The founder and former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (aka “CZ”), who recently pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a sizable fine to settle charges from the United States Department of Justice, saw his fortune grow by $25 billion in 2023 alone, making him the 35th wealthiest person in the world.
CZ Reportedly Worth $37.2 Billion
Former Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao is worth an estimated $37.2 billion — a year-to-date gain of a whopping $24.6 billion, as per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. This puts CZ as the 35th richest person globally.
The $37.2 figure does not take into account Zhao’s personal crypto holdings, including Bitcoin (BTC) and Binance’s own coin, BNB, meaning it could be a substantial underestimate. The mammoth fortune emanates from CZ’s controlling stake in Binance, Bloomberg noted today.
Zhao’s wealth beats that of Citadel CEO Ken Griffin and Uniqlo boss Tadashi Yanai. Among his crypto peers, the 46-year-old’s closest rival is Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong ($7.25 billion), according to Bloomberg’s index. Meanwhile, onetime FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, who was recently convicted on seven charges of fraud and conspiracy, holds an estimated net worth of $0 — down from its peak of $25.9 billion in March 2022.
Notably, CZ’s fortune is way below its peak of around $96 billion in early 2022. It’s also a substantial drop from the year-to-date high of $50.4 billion back in July.
CZ, recently banned from leaving the United States in the months leading up to his sentencing hearing on criminal charges related to anti-money laundering violations, faces potentially up to 18 months in jail.
CZ’s attorneys requested the court to allow him to return to his family in the United Arab Emirates before his sentencing — a motion U.S. District Judge Richard Jones rejected. The Chinese-Canadian crypto billionaire will probably remain free to travel within the United States on a $175 million bond until February.
The former Binance CEO stepped down from his position last month after the exchange reached an enormous $4.3 billion settlement tied to sanctions and money transmission violations. While the settlement put an end to most of Binance’s and CZ’s legal woes, both are still stuck in a lawsuit lodged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission back in June.