Changpeng Zhao tops crypto billionaires ranking despite legal saga

According to a new Forbes article, Binance founder Changpeng Zhao has tripled his net worth since 2023.

Forbes magazine has published a ranking of the world’s wealthiest and most influential cryptocurrency billionaires, headed by Zhao. Forbes estimated his net worth at $33 billion, more than triple what it was in 2023 at $10.5 billion. Zhao’s stake in Binance is about 90%, valued at $32.5 billion.

The Binance founder topped the billionaire ranking despite significant legal problems in the last year. In November 2023, Zhao and Binance pleaded guilty to violating U.S. anti-money laundering and sanctions regulations.

As part of a sweeping settlement with the government that allows the cryptocurrency exchange to continue operating, Zhao agreed to step down as the exchange’s CEO and pay a fine of $50 million. Binance was forced to pay $4.3 billion per the agreement.

The verdict on charges of money laundering is expected on April 30. Zhao admitted guilt back in the fall of 2023.

“Yet it hardly left a dent in his fortune. His stake in Binance—estimated to be 90%, based on corporate documents and conversations with former employees—is worth some $32.5 billion.”


Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong took second place in the ranking, with Forbes estimating his fortune at $11.2 billion. Armstrong’s savings growth is directly related to the company’s position in the market, with Coinbase shares having risen significantly since the beginning of 2023.

Tether CFO Giancarlo Devasini closed out Forbes’s top three, with the magazine estimating his fortune at $9.2 billion.

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