Binance boss, influential cryptocurrency troublemaker

(Paris) A formidable businessman, hyperactive on Twitter, maintaining the image of a “self-made man”, Changpeng Zhao, the boss of the cryptocurrency giant Binance, is one of the most prominent personalities in the world of virtual currencies.

Posted November 10

France Media Agency

Its failed takeover bid for rival platform FTX has caused confusion in the industry, but it has also demonstrated the influence of someone who calls himself CZ.


Born in China, the 45-year-old leader emigrated with his family to Toronto in the late 1980s and acquired Canadian citizenship.

In several interviews, he insisted on his humble beginnings, claiming to have been a cook at McDonald’s and a gas station attendant.

After studying computer science in Montreal, CZ worked in Tokyo and New York before moving back to China for a while.

He claims to have heard about cryptocurrencies for the first time in Shanghai around a poker table in 2013. Four years later, he launched Binance, a trading platform that would experience a lightning success.

With more than 120 million customers, the group is today, by far, the largest player in the sector in terms of trading volume.

CZ’s fortune is estimated at $17.4 billion by the magazine Forbeswhich makes him the 88e richest person on the planet. It has nevertheless melted since the beginning of the year with the collapse of the cryptocurrency market.

CZ cultivates a casual style and wears in most of his appearances a black polo shirt with the Binance logo, which he also got tattooed on his right arm.

“More normal” than Musk

The leader expresses himself extensively on Twitter, sharing with his 7.5 million subscribers his perspectives on cryptocurrencies, news from his company, but also humorous publications.

A mode of communication reminiscent of that of Elon Musk, the new owner of the social network with the blue bird.

Binance has also paid half a billion dollars to help the bubbling entrepreneur buy the platform.

Despite the chaos surrounding Twitter, between mass layoffs and cacophony over the new account authentication system, CZ pleaded for indulgence for Mr. Musk, judging at the recent Web Summit in Lisbon that he would need time to make his mark.

Asked by AFP in June about the comparison with the boss of Tesla and SpaceX, whom he has never met in person, CZ played the card of humility.

“Elon is a much stronger entrepreneur,” said the boss of Binance, then present in Paris for the VivaTech show. “I’m a more normal guy. »

No head office

Several Reuters investigations have revealed that Binance has been used as a vehicle for money laundering or the transit of funds belonging to nationals of countries under US sanctions.

While the platform has firmly denied most of these accusations, it admitted last week to having had “interactions” with users of Iranian cryptocurrency exchanges without specifying the number of accounts or the sums involved.

Binance was also the victim of a hack in October, the scale of which was estimated at around $100 million.

In addition, the fact that the company does not have a global headquarters, despite regional offices open in Paris, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Bahrain, questions some regulators.

UK authorities ruled last year that the group’s activities could not be properly supervised and posed a risk to consumers.

In the United States, Binance is in the crosshairs of the stock market policeman, the SEC, according to information from the Wall Street Journal.

So far, these obstacles have not shaken the reputation of Binance and that of its boss, nor has the about-face on the acquisition of the non-American branch of FTX.

“Sad day,” tweeted CZ on Wednesday evening after the abandonment of the takeover project and the descent into hell of its competitor.

“I tried, but…” before adding a crying face emoji, a post that garnered 73,500 likes.

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