SEC lawsuits squeeze net worths of Coinbase and Binance CEOs


The net worths of Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) have suffered heavy blows due to recent lawsuits by the United States securities regulator.

Armstrong’s net worth was slashed by $289 million and Zhao’s by $1.33 billion within a span of 30 hours after the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Binance on June 5 and then Coinbase on June 6, according to data from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and Forbes.

Zhao — the richest man in the crypto industry and the 54th richest person overall — had his net worth fall 5.1% to $26 billion this week.

The SEC’s lawsuit against Binance has contributed to Zhao falling two spots in Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index. Source: Bloomberg

While the Binance CEO’s net worth has rebounded by over 106% this year, he is still down over 73% from his highest net worth of $96.9 billion in January 2022.

Zhao’s net worth has fallen from nearly $100 billion to $26 billion since January 2022. Source: Bloomberg

Armstrong is ranked as the 1,409th richest person by Forbes and took the bigger hit from the SEC’s latest action with his net worth falling 11.8% to $2.2 billion.

Change in net worth of Brian Armstrong since 2019. Source: Forbes

The Coinbase CEO has managed to reap the rewards of a market rebound this year, with a 61% increase in net worth over that time.

Despite the recent fall, Zhao and Armstrong have seen net worth increases well above the 9% year-to-date returns for others on Bloomberg’s rich list.

Related: SEC files motion for restraining order against Binance

The SEC sued both Binance and Coinbase alleging the exchanges broke various securities rules, most notably for purportedly offering cryptocurrencies that the regulator considers to be unregistered securities.

Following the suites, a total of 67 cryptocurrencies have now been classed as securities by the SEC.

Binance and Coinbase have both confirmed they will “vigorously” defend the lawsuits laid against them.

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