The wealthiest figure in the cryptocurrency industry, CEO and founder of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, lost over 77 billion dollars within months. 

Less than a year ago, his wealth was 96 billion dollars, and now it’s only 18.5 billion dollars as the crypto market collapses when bitcoin is now traded under 20,000 dollars, wiping out nearly 70% of his fortune within seven months.  

Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. Since its founding in 2017, the company’s valuation has rapidly soared due to a global cryptocurrency fever.

Changpeng Zhao set up Binance in China, but shortly later, it moved to Japan as Chinese authorities launched crackdowns on the cryptocurrency. The company has kept moving to several countries since then. 

According to Reuters, Zhao was born in China and moved to Canada with his father when he was 12. Zhao graduated from Montreal’s McGill University in Canada with a degree in computer science. 

Zhao is a well-known figure in the crypto world, with 5 million Twitter followers on his Twitter. 

Since its founding, his Binance exchange has covered most of the cryptocurrency market, from spot and derivatives trading to non-fungible tokens. 

Reuters cited data from analytics firm CryptoCompare, reporting that Binance’s monthly volumes from spot trading in November 2021 were 914 billion dollars. The number was five times higher from 2020 and over five times higher than its rival Coinbase. Trading volumes of Binance’s derivatives were 1.8 trillion dollars.

However, as the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, Binance’s activities are reportedly under question. 

An investigation from Reuters allegedly has found that “For five years, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance served as a conduit for the laundering of at least $2.35 billion in illicit funds” from hacks, investment frauds, and illegal drug sales.

Binance also discloses not much about its public information. In addition, the company says it does not have a headquarters and what entity monitors its exchange. These issues have long been criticized by regulators.

With the crypto downturn outlook and ongoing crackdowns on virtual currencies in China, Binance is facing significant challenges. 

According to the New York Times, in 2017, Chinese mining groups produced over two-thirds of the world’s bitcoin daily. But in recent years, China has kept cracking down on cryptocurrency-related activities, including mining, trading, order matching, token issuance, and derivatives.

China’s central bank has even banned overseas crypto exchanges from providing services in mainland China.

Zhao once lived in China, but later, he moved to the Cayman Islands and now settles in Dubai.

Even after losing nearly 80% of his fortune, Changpeng Zhao seems not to be in despair, as he told Bloomberg that he did not care much about money.

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