Binance co-founder and CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao has seen his net worth slashed by $11.9 billion amid falling trading volumes at his exchange.
On Oct. 26, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index cut Binance’s revenue estimates by 38% amid a slump in exchange volumes, which knocked Zhao down to 95th place on the rich list.
Zhao’s net worth is now a paltry $17.3 billion, registering an 82% drop from its $96.9 billion peak in January 2022, where he was ranked 11th among the world’s richest people.
Bloomberg’s index calculated Binance’s revenues from spot and derivatives trading data from crypto data aggregators CoinGecko and Coinpaprika.
As of September, the exchange’s spot trading market share had fallen for seven consecutive months to 34.3%. In January, Binance’s spot market share was over 55%.
Binance.US, its United States-based arm, also saw volumes touch new lows last month.
Zhao’s plummeting net worth and Binance’s fading trading volumes follow twin lawsuits from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
The SEC sued Zhao , Binance and Binance.US in June, claiming the exchanges operated illegally, sold unregistered securities, and mishandled customer assets, with Zhao named as their “controlling person.”
The CFTC’s suit in March claimed Binance did not properly register with the regulator. Zhao and Binance reject both regulators’ allegations and seek to dismiss both lawsuits.
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The recent fall pales compared to CZ’s once-rival Sam Bankman-Fried, who saw his $16-billion fortune effectively wiped out in November 2022 after FTX disclosed its liquidity crisis just days before it filed for bankruptcy.
Some believe the crisis was kicked off by a tweet from CZ when he announced that Binance was selling its FTX Token (FTT) holdings, triggering a wave of withdrawals from FTX. Zhao initially moved to buy the embattled exchange but pulled out less than 48 hours later.
Bankman-Fried took to the witness stand in his own criminal trial on Oct. 26, where he has previously pleaded not guilty to two counts of fraud and five counts of conspiracy.
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