Not everyone is getting rich in crypto, but one person certainly is. Changpen Zhao is the CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange Binance, and life is very good for the man known in crypto circles as “CZ.” 

He’s officially the 11th richest person in the world, with a net worth of $96 billion, putting him right below Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle who is worth $107 billion. Oh, Zhao might actually be higher on the list because his net worth does not induce his personal crypto holdings. His firm’s token rose almost 1,300% in 2021, so he’s undoubtedly sitting on another massive pile of cash. 

What’s most interesting about Zhao is not where he is now, but where he was when he was starting out in the business world. He previously worked as a burger flipper at McDonald’s as he was honing his skills as a software developer. 

His company has set up shop in Dubai, where Zhao lives large as the biggest crypto personality in the UAE. He’s posted dinners in the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, and on the iconic Palm Jumeirah Island. 

In the wild west world of cryptocurrency, Binance is printing money right now.  According to Bloomberg, they brought in over $20 billion in revenue in 2021. In a recent 24-hour span, the company completed $170 billion in transactions.  They still do roughly $40 billion in transactions on a slow day. 

An interesting backstory about Zhao is how he reportedly launched his crypto career. IT was back in 2013, during a poker game in Shanghai, where his playing partners encouraged him to put 10% of his net worth into Bitcoin.  He studied bitcoin and decided to sell his apartment and put the funds into it. 

The rest is history. 

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