Once in a while, I like to think about people.
I am curious about us.
Because, as you think about the people around you — online and offline — you will see life differently. You notice a pattern. You start learning. You start being grateful.
And you appreciate life.
As a full-time cryptocurrency blogger, I enjoy this process. Which is why I am going through Changpeng Zhao’s profile today.
His story is different. It is compelling. And motivating.
As the founder and CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao is now a billionaire with a net worth of $1.39 billion. It took him less than a year to become a billionaire.
That’s right — just under one year.
But it never started that way.
Born in Jiangsu, Changpeng Zhao did his schooling in China, and later moved to Canada with his family.
This is where Changpeng shaped himself:
It started with him flipping burgers in McDonalds to support his family. This was during the day so he can earn some extra cash. As it wasn’t enough, the teenager in him had to work harder.
And so Zhao worked at a local gas station overnight.
Day, flipping burgers. Night, shadowing the gas station.
Talk about hustling.
And Then Zhao Joined College
In between this, Zhao joined the McGill University in Montreal to study Computer Science. And here he did more than what he could.
Besides college textbooks, he chose to learn something new. He learned about futures trading and stock market.
Then, after graduation, Zhao dedicated more time to learning trading softwares and the way they operated.
Little did he know that this skill — this foundation — could change his life forever.
And Then Zhao Got A Job
In Bloomberg Tradebook.
Which is a leading agency broker offering trading solutions for equities, options and futures. Perhaps that is what Zhao wanted as he get to hone his skills.
He learned everyday and developed solutions for futures trading.
This went on for the next 4 years.
It Was Time To Quit, Said The 27-Year-Old
To start his company called Fusion Systems.
Because he now had a good foundation and understanding of the business side.
But what was Fusion Systems about?
You guessed it: trading.
The company developed trading systems for companies, and it quickly became popular among traders and brokers.
To the point that Zhao managed it for the next eight years.
The Good Attracts The Good
It was at this time Zhao got into poker, where he met Ron Cao — MD of Lightspeed Ventures — and discovered Bitcoin for the first time.
As Zhao had experience in trading, he decided to move to cryptocurrencies and blockchain. This is where he acquired a couple of Bitcoins.
Then he worked closely with Roger Ver and Ben Reeves as the Head of Development at Blockchain.info. He was the third employee here.
At this point, it almost seems like Zhao knew what he is doing. He was upgrading his skills — and turning towards Blockchain before it was even popular.
As the good attracts the good, Zhao joined OKCoin in 2014 as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO). In those days, OKCoin was the largest Bitcoin exchange in China.
His Overnight Success Took Him Two Decades
Within one year, Zhao moved away from OKCoin and started Binance in the year 2017.
At this point, Zhao turned 40 with a mission to convert Binance into one of the fastest cryptocurrency exchange on the planet.
His goal led to a record registration of 240,000 in one hour on Binance. He also launched an ICO (BNB tokens) that raised $15 million dollar.
And within the first 12 months, he turned into a billionaire.
What’s the key takeaway?
What may seem like an overnight success took Zhao twenty years of experience — of understanding, learning, and implementing — to reach to this stage.
His story is also inspirational for it teaches us one important thing:
To stick to our strengths.
Because, in life, it is so easy to move onto the next shiny object. To choose laziness over hardwork. And luck over hustle.
Zhao, on the other hand, moved in the direction of his strength:
His strength was in the trading industry.
And here is he today, at 41 year old, one of the few crypto billionaire on the planet. Truly a success story worth sharing.