There are many inspirational stories across the Internet today that serves as a motivational pill for its readers with the sole prime message that hard work does leads to wonders and has the capacity to create fairy tales in reality too. One of the latest motivational stories that you need to read right now to raise your amazement is that of a former McDonald’s burger-flipper who went on to create a massive fortune that exceeds India’s, no Asia’s richest businessman Mukesh Ambani. And yes, he achieved this tremendous monetary feat through his own efforts.
A 44-year-old cryptocurrency pioneer Changpeng Zhao, who went to achieve a net worth of $96.9 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is a Chinese immigrant who moved with his family to Canada at the age of twelve years. Born on September 10th, 1977 in China’s Jiangsu province, Zhao is the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. As per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index 2022, Zhao is the eleventh richest person in the world. Besides acquiring more wealth than Ambani, the most amazing thing is that his wealth rivals that of world famous business personalities like Elon Musk (SpaceX founder), Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder), Bill Gates (Microsoft founder) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder).
As Changpeng Zhao, popularly known by his abbreviated nickname ‘CZ’ has himself written in one of the Binance blogs that “there is no single magic pill for success,” his is also a story that took shape after a number of years. While in China, Zhao’s mother was a teacher and his father an academic. Although Zhao’s father was a university instructor, he was later labelled a “pro-bourgeois intellect” and exiled to rural areas shortly after his son’s birth. After Zhao’s father got a job at the University of British Columbia, the whole family moved to Canada which was in the late 1980s. Besides working in McDonald’s, Zhao did a number of service jobs to support his family in his teenage years.
With a computer science degree from Montreal’s McGill University, Zhao went on to do an internship as a software developer for a subcontractor of the Tokyo Stock Exchange following which he worked full-time for four years at Bloomberg Tradebook where he was a developer of futures trading software. While he was a high-frequency trading software developer for Fusion Systems in Shanghai where he joined in 2005, he came to know about the term cryptocurrency during a discussion at a poker game. As per reports, Zhao got introduced about Bitcoin during a three-handed game of poker in 2013 with Bobby Lee, then CEO of BTC China, and renowned investor Ron Cao. Both men persuaded him to invest 10% of his net worth into Bitcoin, which at the time was worth less than $100.
After getting thoroughly acquainted about Bitcoin, Zhao worked for various cryptocurrency projects including Blockchain.info and also served as chief technology officer of OKCoin. According to Bloomberg, Zhao founded a startup Bijie Tech in 2015 that provided systems and software to exchanges before starting Binance in 2017. “By 2018, Binance was the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world,” Bloomberg stated in a report. It also said that Binance offers markets in more than 600 cryptocurrencies and had more than 90 million users at the end of 2021.
“For something to succeed, you need to do 1000 things relatively well, plus a lot of luck. For something to fail, you just need to do one thing poorly, even after you did the other 1000 things relatively well. Having said that, the world is not that complicated. I believe the 1000 things can be largely grouped into three categories: Users, Service, Product. While these are not unique to Binance, they certainly add up to our USP,” Zhao stated in one of his Binance blogs. Zhao also goes on to add a biggest advice of a business to be a highly successful one in the blog. “Once you’ve attracted users to your business, you have to retain them, and I believe that Service is the greatest retention tool,” he added. Zhao also gives inspiration to his fans that starting a dream project with confidence is a must even if there might be several critics murmuring disappointing things to you. “When we were about to start Binance, many people told me ‘don’t do an exchange, it’s done to death, the market is saturated, you won’t replace the existing players…’ the list goes on. But when we looked at the market, we thought there is a lot of room for improvement,” he added. According to Zhao, there is no secret sauce to building a successful exchange and one have to abide by their values, build a good product and service their users.