Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao might face prison after admitting to criminal charges in the U.S., but his fortune remarkably increased to over $37 billion.
Bitcoin’s Influence on Zhao’s Fortune
The bounce-back of Bitcoin, which surged over 160% after a tough 2022, played a significant role in driving his net worth. Zhao now leads the pack among cryptocurrency entrepreneurs who have seen their fortunes swell this year.
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, this list includes notable names like Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. The ex-Binance CEO ranks 35th on the list, just less than a billion shy of Tadashi Yanai, the CEO of retail giant Uniqlo.
Binance’s Market Performance
Zhao’s wealth mainly comes from his major stake in Binance. Despite a slight dip in its market share following the U.S. Department of Justice settlement, Binance benefited from higher trading volumes as the crypto market rebounded.
Legal Challenges and Sentencing
Zhao could face up to 10 years in prison, but his plea deal suggests a shorter sentence, possibly no more than 18 months. The exact length of his sentence is still undecided. On Dec. 9, a judge in Seattle ruled that Zhao can’t return to his home in the UAE for now, with his sentencing set for Feb. 23.
Net Worth Comparison
Despite this year’s financial gain, Zhao’s net worth is still below its peak of nearly $97 billion in early 2022, which was hit hard by the crypto winter brought by the Terra LUNA and FTX collapse.