The founder of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, Changpeng Zhao (fondly known as CZ), has for the first time indicated he plans to give away the majority of his wealth.
Speaking with The Associated Press, CZ also gave his take on meme coins that were originally joke cryptocurrencies but are now too important to laugh off.
Zhao To Donate Most Of His Wealth
Zhao is a famously cash-poor billionaire. He told the AP that he bought bitcoins back in 2014 and has HODLed most of that stash. Most of his wealth, however, is in Binance Coin (BNB). CZ doesn’t make personal investments and he has also not made a bet on any other projects — crypto or non-crypto — to avoid any possible conflicts of interest. While he believes he can handle the risk, he does not recommend other people to follow his example of not diversifying their investment portfolios.
Interestingly, the Binance chief is keen on donating most of his wealth just like some of his fellow wealthy tech titans and entrepreneurs. However, he did not reveal exactly how he plans to give away his massive fortune.
“Personally, I’m financially free. I don’t need a lot of money and I can maintain my lifestyle in this way. I do intend to give away most of my wealth, like many wealthy entrepreneurs or founders did, from [John D.] Rockefeller until today. I do intend to give away 90, 95 or 99% of my wealth.”
Ex-Binance executives recently estimated that the exchange could be worth up to $300 billion as a publicly-traded company given its present trading volume and transaction fees. With Zhao being the exchange’s biggest shareholder, his net worth is likely even higher than the $1.9 billion that Forbes currently estimates.
Volatility Isn’t The Biggest Barrier To Cryptocurrency Adoption In The Mainstream
According to CZ, the frequently quoted high volatility is not the main obstacle to global acceptance of cryptocurrencies. For him, it’s the ease of use. As of now, it’s a bit hard to securely store crypto assets in case your computer breaks down or to guarantee that your kids will get access to your stash in the event of death.
“There aren’t very good tools to handle all of those aspects. Centralized exchanges offer one solution: We hold custody of people’s coins. (But) how to securely hold your tokens is a fundamental limitation factor. We have not provided easy-enough-to-use tools that are also secure enough today. But I think as the industry evolves, things will get better,” he noted.
Joke Cryptocurrencies Show The Power Of Decentralization
When asked what he thinks about meme cryptocurrencies that started as mere jokes but their value has grown exponentially, Zhao posited that he doesn’t get Dogecoin, but this “shows the power of decentralization”, continuing:
“What I think may or may not matter. If a large enough number of people in the community values it because it’s cute, because they like the meme, then it has value.”
Dogecoin has had a roller-coaster ride over the years but it has survived. And now we have Shiba Inu (SHIB), which has become valuable as more people buy and sell it.
That said, just like other cryptos, meme coins have value on account of their liquidity in a neutral market and the Binance CEO is in no position to judge. The exchange has to provide a marketplace for all valuable cryptocurrencies.
Notably, Binance has had a complicated relationship with financial services regulators across the globe. In recent months, regulators from Italy, the Cayman Islands, the UK, Singapore, and Japan have all voiced criticisms against the crypto exchange. Zhao admitted in September that Binance needs a centralized entity to be compliant and end the cat-and-mouse games with regulators. He also recently revealed that the crypto giant lost only around 3% of its global users after making Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures mandatory.