New estimates of Binance CEO’s net worth make him the world’s 11th richest person—and that’s before accounting for his crypto holdings

January 10, 2022, 7:46 AM UTC

New estimates claim the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Changpeng Zhao, is the world’s richest crypto billionaire, with a net worth rivaling the sums amassed by tech billionaires Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg.

On Monday, Bloomberg calculated that Zhao’s net worth is $96 billion, which would make him the 11th richest person in the world. On the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Zhao, known as “CZ” in crypto circles, is now sandwiched between No. 12, Mukesh Ambani, CEO of Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, and No. 10, Larry Ellison, cofounder of Oracle, who’s worth an estimated $107 billion.

Bloomberg says its estimate is based on Zhao’s stake in Binance, reporting that the exchange generated upwards of $20 billion in revenue in 2021 and that Zhao owns 90% of Binance’s shares, according to a review of the firm’s regulatory filings.

Zhao’s net worth may be even higher than $96 billion since Bloomberg did not account for Zhao’s personal holdings of Bitcoin and Binance Coin, the cryptocurrency issued by Binance. Factoring in Zhao’s personal crypto holdings would likely give him a fortune on par with that of Bill Gates, the world’s fourth richest person with a $135 billion net worth, and Zuckerberg, the world’s fifth richest with $124 billion.

Zhao has not publicly commented on the size of his personal crypto holdings, but he told the Associated Press last November that his personal holdings make up the “majority” of his net worth.

Likewise, little is known about the finances of Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by a wide margin. The private crypto exchange, which does not disclose its financial results, processes as much as $170 billion of crypto trades a day, multiples more than any other competitor.

All the unknowns behind Zhao’s wealth is likely why estimates of how much hes worth have varied so widely.

Last March, the Hurun Report, which tracks the personal fortunes of the world’s wealthiest individuals, estimated that Zhao was worth $8 billion. The following month, Forbes, which put Zhao’s stake in Binance at 30%, estimated Zhao’s net worth at $1.9 billion. But amid a cryptocurrency trading boom this year, new estimates place Zhao’s fortune far higher. Last November, China’s Caijing Magazine pegged Zhao’s net worth above $90 billion, without describing how exactly it arrived at the figure.

For his part, Zhao says he will donate the vast majority of his fortune to charity.

“Personally, I’m financially free. I don’t need a lot of money, and I can maintain my lifestyle in this way,” he told the Associated Press in November. “I do intend to give away most of my wealth, like many wealthy entrepreneurs or founders did from Rockefeller until today. I do intend to give away 90%, 95%, or 99% of my wealth.”

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