Founder of Binance and crypto para Changpeng Zhao, one of the world’s leading figures, doubled his net worth during his time in prison.

Zhao, currently the richest person in the crypto industry, has increased his net worth since his incarceration. Forbes now estimates Zhao’s fortune at $61 billion, making him the 24th richest person in the world, just behind Julia Koch and her family. The next richest person in crypto is Coinbase founder Brian Armstrong, whose net worth is $11 billion.

There are two main components to CZ’s wealth increase. First, its 90% stake in Binance, a major crypto exchange, is worth $33 billion. This was despite CZ resigning as CEO in November 2023 as part of a settlement with the US Department of Justice, in which he was found guilty of money laundering and sanctions violations.

His company also paid a heavy penalty of $4.3 billion to the government. However, the impact on Zhao’s personal fortune was less severe, as he only had to pay a $50 million fine.

In the six months since its defense, Binance has increased its dominance among crypto exchanges worldwide in terms of trading volume. According to data compiled from The Block, in the six months since he left the company, his share of the total spot market among exchanges increased to 42%, while this rate was on average 38% in the two months before the deal.

Significant change in CZ’s net worth, Forbes reports BNB stemming from the discovery of his personal holdings in his token. CZ is estimated to hold 94 million tokens, or 64% of the total 147.5 million BNB tokens in circulation. Forbes estimates that Binance owns 71% of the BNB supply.

Despite the exchange’s legal issues, BNB is up 100% in 2024, outpacing other most popular cryptos like Bitcoin (up 54%), Ethereum (up 53%), and Solana (up 49%). BNB recently reached an all-time high of $714 and its market cap is $110 billion.

Changpeng Zhao, 47, accumulated BNB in ​​two ways. Binance was founded in 2017, and CZ and the founding team received 80 million tokens out of a total supply of 200 million BNB. Forbes’ review of the wallets that received these tokens shows that the company holds 46.2 million of the original 80 million tokens. CZ is credited with 41.6 million BNB of this amount due to its 90% ownership of Binance.

Binance did not explain what will happen to unsold tokens in its official white paper. Ultimately, investigations show that they were placed in wallets owned by Binance. Today, it is estimated that there are 58 million BNB in ​​these wallets, which is worth $35 billion at today’s price of $602. CZ owning 90% of Binance gives him just over 52 million more BNB. In total, he is believed to hold approximately 94 million BNB tokens.

The value of the assets owned by Binance’s founder is around $56.6 billion today.

*This is not investment advice.

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