A complete career timeline of Binance’s billionaire chief Changpeng Zhao

Binance founder Changpeng Zhao (CZ) earned a place among the 100 wealthiest billionaires earlier this year. Here's how it all happened.

Changpeng Zhao, also known as CZ, is the founder and chief exec of the world’s top cryptocurrency exchange, Binance.

With an estimated net worth of $96 billion as of January 9, CZ’s crypto career has earned him a place among the 100 wealthiest billionaires, largely due to his Binance stake.

After departing Bloomberg in 2015, where he developed futures trading software, CZ helped launch a Bitcoin futures platform for Chinese crypto exchange OKCoin as its Chief Technical Officer.

By 2017, he’d launched one of the world’s most successful initial coin offerings (ICOs) in Binance Coin (BNB) — the native token of Binance worth $73 billion.

Known for globe-hopping and an apparent disinterest in Bank Secrecy Act requirements, CZ seems to be finally relenting by buying an apartment in Dubai.

For years, CZ gave vague answers about his locations and the location of any Binance offices.

As one of crypto’s most powerful influencers and the controlling shareholder of the world’s largest crypto exchange, CZ will continue to shape the crypto industry with his decisions.

So, below is a timeline of CZ’s career that maps just how his immense wealth and status came to be.

CZ’s career, from birth to Binance

September 10, 1977: Changpeng Zhao is born in Jiangsu Province, China.

1989: Changpeng Zhao moves with his parents to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. While living in Canada as a teenager, he worked at McDonald’s.

1990s: Changpeng Zhao majors in Computer Science at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

2001-2005: Changpeng Zhao served as Head of Tradebook Futures Development for Bloomberg.

November 2005: Changpeng Zhao founded Fusion Systems, a high-frequency trading company.

December 2013: Changpeng Zhao leaves Fusion Systems, where he served as a partner.

December 2013: Changpeng Zhao joins Blockchain.info as Head of Development.

2014: Changpeng Zhao sells his house to go “all-in” on crypto investments.

2014: Changpeng Zhao leaves his position at Blockchain.info.

June 2014: Changpeng Zhao joins OKCoin as its Chief Technical Officer.

August 5, 2014: OKCoin launches Bitcoin futures trading with Changpeng Zhao in charge of the technical effort.

February 15, 2015: Changpeng Zhao leaves OKCoin, citing “differences.”

September 2015: Changpeng Zhao founds exchange systems provider BijieTech.

July 2017: Changpeng Zhao leaves BijieTech to found Binance.com.

July 8, 2017: Binance issues 100 million BNB tokens through btc9.com, RenRenICO, and Binance’s website.

July 10, 2017: Binance announces plan to launch its exchange on July 14.

July 18, 2017: Binance announces a contingency plan for a Bitcoin hard fork.

July 31, 2017: Binance adds account identity verification.

August 11, 2017: Binance.com launches a mobile-friendly HTML5 version.

August 28, 2017: Binance opens beta testing for its mobile app.

September 4, 2017: Binance responds to China’s ban of ICOs.

September 11, 2017: Binance releases iOS and Android apps.

October 26, 2017: Binance launches a referral program.

November 6, 2017: Binance launches a PC client.

November 16, 2017: Binance publishes a policy for future bitcoin forks.

December 10, 2017: Binance adds stop-limit trade functions.

February 9, 2018: Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission sends letters to seven ICO issuers warning them that they should not offer trading services for digital assets that qualify as securities without a license. Binance reportedly received one of these letters.

March 7, 2018: Unknown parties attempt to steal funds from Binance users with a phishing attack involving fake Binance domains and unusual trading activity through the VIA/BTC trading pair.

March 11, 2018: Binance offers a bounty of $250,000 in BNB tokens for information leading to the arrest of parties responsible for an unsuccessful hacking attempt on March 7.

March 19, 2018: Binance changes its Twitter handle from @Binance_2017 to @Binance.

March 21, 2018: Binance launches an Apple Macintosh client.

March 23, 2018: Binance announces its intent to relocate to Malta.

April 25, 2018: The High Court of Hong Kong rules SCC improperly issued an ex parte injunction against Changpeng Zhao.

July 27, 2018: Binance donates US$1 million to relief efforts responding to heavy rains in West Japan.

June 28, 2018: Binance launches a fiat-crypto exchange in Uganda.

August 14, 2018: Binance launches a beta program for Binance Academy.

August 22, 2018: Binance launches a startup incubation program, Binance Labs.

September 18, 2018: The New York Attorney General’s office refers Binance, Kraken, and Gate.io to the New York State Department of Financial Services, alleging that these exchanges were operating illegally in New York state.

September 25, 2018: Changpeng Zhao appears on Laura Shin’s podcast and refuses to locate himself and Binance’s offices. He also declines Shin’s invitation to enter the United States.

October 24, 2018: Changpeng Zhao makes an appearance on a panel titled “Blockchain for Sustainable Development” at the World Investment Forum.

October 27, 2018: Binance announces a new Tron-based donation portal operated by the Binance Charitable Foundation. The world will later learn about frequent communications between Changpeng Zhao and Tron’s founder Justin Sun.

November 8, 2018: Binance launches Binance Research.

December 6, 2018: Binance adds sub-account support.

January 16, 2019: Binance launches a EUR/GBP fiat exchange in the tax haven of Jersey.

January 30, 2019: Binance integrates Simplex for debit and credit card payments.

February 20, 2019: Binance launches a testnet for Binance Chain and Binance DEX.

April 18, 2019: Binance edits its BNB ICO whitepaper to remove its original promise to repurchase BNB tokens with corporate operating profits.

May 7, 2019: Binance discovers a security breach in which 7,000 BTC were stolen from its hot wallets. It says it will use its “SIFU” fund to cover losses in this security breach.

June 5, 2019: Changpeng Zhao turns down Justin Sun’s invitation to dine with Warren Buffett.

June 11, 2019: FinCEN approves Binance’s registration of its Binance.US exchange.

June 13, 2019: Binance announces a partnership with BAM Trading Services, Inc. to launch Binance.US.

July 7, 2019: Binance adds margin trading services.

August 9, 2019: Binance announces a VIP tier for margin trading and borrowing.

August 19, 2019: Binance announces Venus Initiative, aiming to work with governments and businesses to develop local stablecoins.

September 9, 2019: Paxos launches a Binance-branded stablecoin, Binance USD (BUSD).

September 23, 2019: Binance.US opens for trading with seven cryptocurrencies listed.

September 23, 2019: Binance launches a broker partner program.

September 26, 2019:Binance introduces a staking platform.

September 29, 2019: Binance introduces a market-making program.

September 30, 2019: Binance announces support for Tron (TRX) staking.

September 30, 2019: Binance announces the Panama Project which will provide support for swapping tokens like USDT between the Ethereum blockchain (as ERC-20 tokens) and the TRON blockchain (as TRC-20 tokens).

September 30, 2019: Binance announces 16% APR for Tether on Tron’s blockchain (TRON-USDT) deposits.

October 8, 2019: Binance launches P2P trading on Android devices.

November 21, 2019: Binance launches a special bug bounty program to pin down security vulnerabilities.

December 2, 2019: Binance launches a new internal asset transfer feature.

March 7, 2020: Changpeng Zhao admits approving Binance’s vote to support Just Sun’s takeover of STEEM.

April 3, 2020: Eric Lee and Chase Williams file a lawsuit against Binance and its senior officials, including Chengpeng Zhao, alleging that Binance sold security tokens on an unregistered securities exchange.

May 7, 2020: Changpeng Zhao is again interviewed by Laura Shin at the 2020 Ethereal Virtual Summit.

May 19, 2020: Laura Shin publishes an interview with Changpeng Zhao on the Unchained podcast, during which they discussed Binance’s headquarters location. He apparently refused to give an exact location for either Binance’s headquarters or his residence.

August 27, 2020: Binance and Oasis Labs launch an Anti-Crypto Fraud Alliance.

October 29, 2020: Forbes publishes an article describing a leaked “Tai Chi” document describing CZ’s and Binance’s attempts to dodge regulation.

November 18, 2020: Changpeng Zhao files lawsuit against Forbes and two journalists over article on leaked Tai Chi documents describing alleged dodging of regulators.

November 23, 2020: Binance sends notices to suspected US users giving them two weeks to withdraw their funds from Binance.com.

2021:  Forbes lists Changpeng Zhao in #1664 place on its World’s Billionaires List for 2021.

February 4, 2021: Binance drops its lawsuit against Forbes and two writers over Forbes’ publication its Tai Chi article.

March 1, 2021: Binance Loans announces a 180-day loan term.

March 22, 2021: Binance Loans announces that interest will be calculated hourly.

March 22, 2021: Binance launches Online Chat V5.0.

March 23, 2021: Japan’s Financial Services Agency issues a warning that Binance is operating without a license.

March 25, 2021: Former Financial Action Task Force officials Rick McDonnell and Josée Nadeau join Binance’s compliance team.

April 1, 2021: Binance opens recruitment for merchants who can accept cash trades for Binance P2P.

April 7, 2021: Binance adds BCEL and M Money as payment option for the Laotian Kip.

April 8, 2021: Binance launches the Binance Widget Broker Rewards System.

April 20, 2021: Terry Brooks joins Binance.US as CEO.

May 6, 2021: Binance Futures announces the launch of Multi-Assets Mode.

May 7, 2021: Binance P2P adds new payment options for the Kazakhstani Tenge, Polish Zloty, Georgian Lari, and Armenian Dram.

May 12, 2021: Binance P2P adds LendMN, SuperUp, and Mongol Chat as payment options for Mongolia.

May 13, 2021: Bloomberg reports that US Justice Department and IRS are investigating Binance’s role in possible money laundering or tax evasion.

May 17, 2021: Binance P2P adds support for the Nepalese Rupee.

May 20, 2021: Tron creator Justin Sun suggests that Elon Musk, Changpeng Zhao, and Michael Saylor should meet at a conference, suggesting that the meeting could be the crypto equivalent of the Yalta Conference.

May 24, 2021: Binance Marketplace adds a Hotels category and onboards Travala as a merchant for its beta program.

June 11, 2021: Indian financial crimes investigators investigate crypto transactions made through Binance’s WazirX.

June 15, 2021: Binance P2P adds new payment options for Southeast Asia.

June 24, 2021: Binance launches an NFT marketplace.

June 25, 2021: Binance announces an update to its Terms of Use listing Ontario, Canada as a restricted jurisdiction in which it does not offer service.

June 26, 2021: The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) posts a consumer warning about Binance Markets Limited saying that it does not have the FCA’s permission to conduct business in the UK.

June 28, 2021: Binance P2P updates its fees.

June 28, 2021: Binance drops an application to register with UK regulators.

June 28, 2021: Some UK Binance customers say that the exchange blocked them from depositing and withdrawing pounds using the Faster Payments system. 

June 30, 2021: Binance Futures launches a Content Creator Program.

July 1, 2021: Singapore grants Binance a grace period to operate in the country and says it will “follow up” with the exchange.

July 1, 2021: Binance posts a notice about Binance Markets Limited as required by the UK FCA.

July 1, 2021: Cayman Islands Monetary Authority says Binance does not have a license or registration to operate in the Cayman Islands.

July 2, 2021: Thailand’s SEC files charges against Binance for operating an unlicensed digital asset business.

July 7, 2021: Jonathan Farnell joins Binance as compliance director.

July 13, 2021: Binance launches a Binance Gift Card program.

July 13, 2021: Binance Labs opens applications for its Fall 2021 incubator.

July 15, 2021: Italian regulators warn that Binance is unauthorized to operate in Italy.

July 16, 2021: Binance says it has stopped selling tokens linked to stock prices.

July 21, 2021: Binance opens a self-service window for its BNB Pioneer Burn Program.

July 26, 2021: Binance Pool changes its BTC Mining Stratum URL.

July 27, 2021: Binance restricts leveraged trading from 100X to a new maximum of 20X for futures accounts less than 60 days old.

July 27, 2021: Binance launches a Tax Reporting Tool API.

July 30, 2021: The Malaysian Securities Commission takes action against Binance to block it from operating in the country.

July 30, 2021: Binance restricts futures and derivatives products in Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands.

August 2, 2021: Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse requests documents from Binance to assist with its legal defense in the SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple.

August 6, 2021: Former US Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks resigns as CEO of Binance.US.

August 6, 2021: Binance restricts derivative products offerings in Hong Kong.

August 12, 2021: Binance migrates P2P Wallet to Funding Wallet.

August 13, 2021: Binance restricts Korean Won trading pairs and payment options, P2P merchant applications, and Korean language website support.

August 13, 2021: Binance restricts MYR trading pairs and payment options and removes P2P merchant applications in Malaysia.

August 16, 2021: Binance P2P adds Moov Money, Orange Money, MTN Mobile Money and Tigo Money to its list of payment options for users in Africa.

August 17, 2021: Binance Futures announces an open order modification feature.

August 18, 2021: The Netherlands’ central bank announces that Binance is operating illegally in the country.

August 18, 2021: Binance announces an update to leverage and margin tiers for Binance Future Contracts.

August 18, 2021: Former US Treasury criminal investigator Greg Monahan joins Binance as a global money laundering reporting worker.

August 19, 2021: Binance restricts the creations of new accounts for options, margin products, and leveraged tokens in Australia.

August 20, 2021: Binance adds support for the Israeli Shekel.

August 20, 2021: Binance requires users to complete intermediate-level verification.

August 21, 2021: Changpeng Zhao upranks to #22 on Forbes’ “Singapore’s Richest 2021” list.

August 23, 2021: Binance adds a live-streaming tool called Binance Live within Binance Apps.

August 23, 2021: Binance announces new leverage and margin tiers for BTC and ETH coin-margined contracts.

August 25, 2021: Binance removes leveraged tokens trading pairs from tick size and step size updates.

August 26, 2021: Binance restores step sizes for spot trading pairs to their original versions.

August 27, 2021: Binance suspends NOK trading pairs and payment options and customer support in Norway.

September 1, 2021: Changpeng Zhao says Binance.US is pursuing an IPO within 3 years.

September 1, 2021: Binance restores USD deposits via the international SWIFT Network.

September 5, 2021: Binance restricts SGD trading pairs and SGD payment options in Singapore and removes its app from Singapore’s iOS and Google Play stores.

September 9, 2021: Binance introduces a Binance Recurring Buy auto-savings feature.

September 15, 2021: Binance modifies terminology for verified accounts.

September 15, 2021: Cryptocurrency investor Ryan Cox files a lawsuit alleging that the Binance-owned CoinMarketCap manipulated the price of a token called HEX by keeping it artificially low in rankings.

September 17, 2021: US regulators probe possible insider trading and market manipulation at Binance.

September 20, 2021: Binance restricts futures, options, and leveraged token trading in Australia.

September 27, 2021: Binance restricts trading activity on Binance.com in Singapore and opens alternative platform Binance.sg.

October 7, 2021: Changpeng Zhao announces Binance is considering including Ireland in its plans for a series of headquarters.

October 8, 2021: Binance stops offering futures, options, margin, and leveraged token trading in South Africa.

October 12, 2021: Binance launches a $1 billion accelerator and talent development fund to promote crypto adoption.

October 13, 2021: Binance delists Chinese Yuan trading pairs and blocks Chinese IP addresses as a response to China’s crackdowns on crypto trading.

October 18, 2021: Changpeng Zhao gives a presentation at the Future Blockchain Summit Dubai.

October 21, 2021: Binance’s NFT Marketplace adds support for NFT deposits and withdrawals on Binance Smart Chain (BSC) and Ethereum (ETH) networks.

October 22, 2021: Former SEC attorney Norman Reed joins Binance.US as its interim general counsel.

October 25, 2021: Binance opens applications for Binance Marketplace Public Beta Test.

November 1, 2021: Binance Futures adds Time-Weighted Average Price feature for USDⓈ-M Contracts.

November 4, 2021: Binance Funding Wallet adds support for crypto deposits and withdrawals.

November 12, 2021: Binance Futures introduces position limit adjustment features.

November 19, 2021: Changpeng Zhao teases a “couple of hundred million dollars” funding round for Binance.US.

November 19, 2021: Changpeng Zhao buys an apartment in Dubai.

November 23, 2021: Elon Musk complains to Changpeng Zhao over limits on Dogecoin (DOGE) withdrawals.

November 23, 2021: Binance enables an option to earn yield on recurring purchases of crypto through Binance’s Auto-Invest.

November 24, 2021: US Senate Banking Committee chairman Sherrod Brown sends letters to stablecoin issuers, including Paxos’ Binance USD, asking for information about their stablecoins.

November 25, 2021: Spanish market regulator complains about soccer star Andres Iniesta promoting Binance on social media.

December 6, 2021: Binance and Animoca Brands co-announce a $200 million gaming incubator.

December 13, 2021: Binance closes Binance.sg.

December 14, 2021: US District Judge Susan M. Brnovich rejects a cryptocurrency investor’s request to serve Binance executives through Twitter. The plaintiff cited difficulty in locating the executives for in-person document service.

December 15, 2021: Binance announces a deal with Telkom Indonesia’s MDI Ventures to launch an exchange in Indonesia.

December 21, 2021: Binance signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority to establish an industry hub for digital assets.

December 21, 2021: Binance Labs leads a funding round for Multichain.

December 23, 2021: Binance introduces a new protocol for quarterly BNB burns called BNB Auto-Burn.

December 23, 2021: Binance Pay enables users to send crypto to non-Binance users within Binance Pay.

December 25, 2021: The Turkish Financial Crimes Investigation Board fines Binance 8 million lira due to violations found during its inspections.

December 27, 2021: The Central Bank of Bahrain grants Binance an in-principle license to operate as a crypto-asset service provider in Bahrain.

December 29, 2021: Binance says it worked with Ontario’s regulators to comply with regulations and will continue operating in Ontario.

December 30, 2021: Binance acquires outstanding shares in cryptocurrency Visa card issuer Swipe.

January 6, 2022: Binance launches Spot Grid Trading.

January 7, 2022: Binance launches custom login function for read-only accounts.

January 13, 2022: Binance Gift Card launches Binance Code.

January 21, 2022: Changpeng Zhao claims Binance uses rigorous AML protocols and assists law enforcement with financial crime investigations.

January 21, 2022: Leaked documents indicate that Binance failed to implement rigorous anti-money laundering protocols.

January 21, 2022: German law enforcement authorities say accomplices of an Islamic radical who killed four people in Vienna in 2020 used Binance’s exchange to launder the proceeds of violence.

January 26, 2022: Binance completes migration of BitTorrent tokens to Tron’s Blockchain as a TRC-20 token.

January 26, 2022: Binance Labs reopens Euro bank transfers via SEPA.

January 30, 2022: Binance restricts 281 Nigerian accounts due to money laundering concerns.

February 3, 2022: Binance cooperates with an investigation into accomplices of an Islamic terrorist who killed four people in Vienna in 2020.

February 10, 2022: Forbes announces a $200 million strategic investment from Binance.

February 14, 2022: Binance Labs opens Season 4 of its Incubation Program.

February 15, 2022: Binance fuses Binance Chain and Binance Smart Chain into BNB Chain. It changes the name of Binance Coin to “Build and Build.”

February 15, 2022: SEC opens a probe into Binance’s relationship with two major market makers, Sigma Chain AG and Merit Peak LTD.

February 16, 2022: UK financial regulators say they lack the power to block Binance from accessing a UK-based payment network.

February 17, 2022: Binance reopens GPB bank transfers via PaySafe.

February 17, 2022: Binance Loans launches tiered interest rates.

February 17, 2022: Tammy Weinrib joins Binance.US as its Chief Compliance Officer.

February 22, 2022: Dubai’s Museum of the Future announces that Changpeng Zhao will give a presentation at the museum.

February 27, 2022: Binance donates $10 million to help with humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and launches a crowdfunding site for Ukraine.

February 28, 2022: Binance adds customization of multi-crypto portfolios to its Auto-Invest feature.

March 2, 2022: In response to events of the Russia-Ukraine war, Changpeng Zhao rejects calls to ban Russian users from Binance.

March 7, 2022: Binance blocks 25,000 crypto addresses associated with Russia.

March 7, 2022: UK regulators say they lack the power to analyze the “fitness and propriety” of Digivault’s new beneficial owners after Binance announced a deal with Digivault’s parent company.

March 8, 2022: Binance suspends support for Russian-held Visa and Mastercard cards.

March 8, 2022: Changpeng Zhao backs out of discussions to buy a Premiere League soccer club, Chelsea.

March 15, 2022: Binance launches a self-service application to managed self-account functions.

March 15, 2022: Binance.US launches in Louisiana.

March 15, 2022: Binance receives a license to operate in Bahrain.

March 17, 2022: The Ontario Securities Commission confirms that Binance communicated to it that the exchange will stop opening new accounts in Ontario.

March 17, 2022: Changpeng Zhao announces plans to purchase Brazil-based banks or payment processors.

March 23, 2022: El Salvador asks Binance for help with solving issues in its rollout of bitcoin as legal tender and the issuance of bitcoin or Tether bonds.

March 24, 2022: Binance DeFi Staking launches BUSD staking with 13.33% APY.

March 24, 2022: Binance announces the launch of its “Learn & Earn” program enabling users to earn crypto by learning about altcoins.

March 25, 2022: El Salvador president Nayib Bukele meets with Changpeng Zhao in El Salvador. The agenda reportedly involved possible new investments.

March 31, 2022: CZ says his net worth is lower than Fortune’s estimate of $74 billion.

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