In the next part of the cycle “Personalities of the Crypt World” we would like to introduce you to a very well-known figure of Binance founder – Changpeng Zhao. “CZ”, because because of the oriental personal data it is suggested to call him that, he is a person who had a great influence on the direction of development of the crypto industry, especially the stock exchanges. So far, CZ is the largest stock exchange in terms of volume in the world – Binance.
Changpeng Zhao was born in 1977 in one of the most industrial regions of China – Jiangsu. His mother was a teacher and his father a professor. Shortly after Changpeng’s birthday, his father was described as a bourgeois intellectual and was banished from his own country.
As in the case of Charlie Lee and Vitalik Buterin, in the late 1980s the CZ family emigrated in order to improve the financial situation of the household. They found their asylum in Canada, but it was not easy for them. CEO Binance was a dozen or so years old at the time and worked at McDonalds on a temporary basis to help support his family. The young Changpeng was not afraid to work and also took night shifts at a gas station.
He had an interest in economics from a young age, but his priority interest was computer science, and he graduated from McGill University in Montreal. His interests and skills gained during his studies became crucial in his later career.
After graduating, Changpeng Zhao worked for four years for the Tokyo Stock Exchange, developing software for trading orders. In 2001 he moved to New York City and started working for Bloomberg as a systems designer for futures trading. During his four-year career at Bloomberg he was promoted three times to increasingly important positions. Towards the end of his career he led many teams of people in places like Tokyo, London and New Jersey. He ended his career in Bloomberg as Director of Futures Development at Bloomberg Tradebook.
In the next stage of his career before the blockchain era, CZ moved to his home country, Shanghai, to start a new project. We are talking about Fusion Systems, a trading platform for brokers later known as “one of the fastest high frequency trading systems for brokers”. During his work for Fusion Systems, he was finalizing trades for, among others, the following companies Creedit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Deutche Bank. He continued his work in Shanghai until 2013, when he first came across Bitcoin.
The meeting with Blockchain
Changpeng Zhao had a friend in Shanghai, Ron Cao, with whom he regularly played poker. It was Cao who showed Bitcoin’s CZ and that was enough for him to completely enter the cryptic world. The founder of Binance started to study BTC whitepaper, analyze posts on Bitcointalk and actively participate in many conferences.
The booming cryptocurrencies and blockchain industry brought Changpeng into contact with renowned investor Roger Vera, who introduced him to blockchain.info in 2013. At that time he worked as development director on the cryptocurrencies portfolio of blockchain.info, now known as blockchain.com.
After about a year with the aforementioned company, he joined the OKCoin team, a subsidiary of OKEx, in May 2014. After less than a year, as a result of lack of acceptance for OKCoin’s activities (management of bot overstated volumes on the stock exchange), he left the company. At that time he sold his apartment in Shanghai for $1 million with the intention of using the money to develop the cryptic venture.
After a good recognition of the emerging blockchain industry in Changpeng, the idea of creating his own company in this area began to mature. He had always been interested in the stock exchange, and in his mind a vision of his own crypto exchange, without the use of FIATs, was emerging.
In order to fine-tune the technology he would use in his main project, he created a development company BijieTech in 2015. The company’s goal was to develop transactional technologies using the cloud. Many Asian stock exchanges are currently using BijieTech solutions. Changpeng, feeling that it is already well prepared for its own expansion into cryptographic markets, waited for the right moment to enter the market.
The birth of giant Binance
It turned out that this moment came in the summer of 2017 during the huge boom on ICO. CZ seized the opportunity it had been waiting for and organized its own ICO, raising $15 million by selling 200 million BNB tokens.
CEO Binance did not in any way hitchhike to the moon, just as many projects that after the 2018 bessie gave way to other players in the cryptic market. Using his skills and experience, CZ designed a complete platform that worked well from the very beginning. Already then he knew that the scalability of blockchain-based systems would be one of the biggest problems and he personally made sure that the exchange was equipped with appropriate solutions. Thanks to its very high performance and throughput, Binance is able to handle more than 1.4 million transactions per second.
Within less than 6 months of its creation, Changpeng’s “child” has grown to become the world’s market leader. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which was set up in Hong Kong, had to move quickly from there to Tokyo due to the Chinese government’s outlawing of the crypto. Currently, the stock exchange’s headquarters are located in Malta, which until recently was considered a cryptovalent paradise.
There is no history in the world where someone or something succeeds without any problems or adversity. Binance is no exception. In March 2019, Bitwise published a report on Bitcoin’s trading volume, which was created by analyzing data from 81 exchanges. The report shows that 95% of Bitcoin turnover is false and the exchanges themselves generate better results to show more liquidity in their markets. The report was published on Twitter, which CZ commented on in words: “This is an excellent report, but unfortunately most investors will not read such a detailed report. The post triggered a discussion in which it was finally concluded that Changpeng Zhao has a “small and fragile” ego.
Two months later, the stock exchange fell victim to a hacker attack, as a result of which it lost 40 million in cryptographic assets. At that time, the CEO of the stock exchange suggested to the Bitcoin developers that the “blockade” be rewritten or withdrawn so that the transactions carried out under the attack could be withdrawn. A wave of cryptography (including from Mike Novogratz) fell on Changpeng at that time and finally admitted himself that it was not a good idea.
The biggest successes
Being in an ordinary hoodie sweatshirt in February 2018, CZ was photographed and this photo appeared on the cover of Forbes magazine, making him the face of “Crypto’s Secret Billionaire Club”. In October, he took third place on the list of the richest people in the hood with an estate valued at $2.2 billion.
The last month of this year brought another success to Changpeng Zhao. namely, he was named by Coindesk on the list of the most influential in blockchain 2018. next to such people as: Elizabeth Stark, Jed McCaleb or Nouriel Roubini.
We hope that Changpeng’s character will inspire many people, as he did not come from a wealthy family and his early years can be considered average. Emigration for a better life, casual work in teenage years, difficult financial situation of the family – these are the problems that most normal people face.
CEO Binance shows us never to give up and push forward because dreams can wait right around the corner.
And what do you think of “CZ”? Share your opinion in the commentary.