Binance CEO CZ Vaults Into Forbes Top 20 Richest As $200M Forbes Deal Looms


Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, founder and CEO of crypto exchange Binance, has made it into the top 20 of Forbes’ World’s Billionaires List, coming in at number 19. 

After speaking with crypto analysis and individuals reportedly familiar with Binance’s business, Forbes estimated that CZ—whose crypto exchange is preparing to take a $200 million stake in the publisher—is worth an estimated $65 billion. 

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It’s a huge step up the list for CZ; in 2021, the Binance CEO placed 1,664th, with a net worth of $1.9 billion. In 2019, CZ was 1,818 on Forbes’ list with a net worth of $1.2 billion.

In climbing up to 19th place, CZ has leapfrogged a who’s who of billionaires, including Dell Computers founder Michael Dell, and Charles Koch of Koch Industries.

Forbes estimates CZ’s ownership stake in Binance to be at least 70%, which also represents a steep increase from statements the Binance CEO has made to Forbes in the past. 

In January 2021, CZ told Forbes he “maybe” owned about 30% of Binance. “I don’t really know what my net worth is. I’m not too bothered about it,” he also told Forbes last summer. 

Forbes and Binance

Forbes’ estimate of Binance’s valuation relied on the advice of “several crypto industry analysis,” and involved multiplying the exchange’s estimated revenue by the enterprise value-to-sales multiple of Coinbase Global. 

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Binance, however, admitted that it is difficult to confirm the exchange’s net worth—as well as CZ’s. 

“It is difficult for us to confirm the worth of Binance due to the market volatility. Also, it is hard for us to confirm CZ’s personal wealth,” a spokesperson for the exchange reportedly told Forbes via email. 

In February this year, Binance announced it was investing $200 million in Forbes in a move that—when completed—will make the crypto exchange one of the two biggest owners of the publisher. 

“With Binance’s investment in Forbes, we now have the experience, network and resources of the world’s leading crypto exchange and one of the world’s most successful blockchain innovators,” Forbes CEO Mike Ferdele said at the time. 

The announcement came a year after Binance sued Forbes for failing to retract a story the exchange considered defamatory, and follows an array of regulatory controversies involving the crypto exchange in the UK, Singapore, Japan, and several other jurisdictions.

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