These days Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, altcoins and making it rich overnight have become… commonplace? From the fraction of a cent Bitcoin used to be worth during its first months of operation to the thousands of dollars each Bitcoin is worth today, multiple people have made their fortune.
Here’s a list of some of the biggest names in cryptocurrency today who are known millionaires!
1. Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss (the “Winklevoss twins”)
Estimated Net Worth: $1.8 billion USD
The Winklevoss twins are two of the most intelligent and talented brothers on earth. Not only were they allegedly involved in the early conception of social media (having successfully settled with Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg for $65 million over Facebook effectively being a copying of their university social media app, ConnectU), they are also Olympic finalists, having achieved 6th place in the men’s pair rowing event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Their Bitcoin journey and history is shrouded in secrecy, but they were known to have been one of the earliest evangelists and Bitcoin investors, having declared in April 2013 that they owned nearly 1% of all Bitcoin in existence at that time.
They also founded Gemini, one of the largest regulated fiat-to-crypto exchanges in the world, based in New York.
2. Roger Ver
Estimated Net Worth: $430 million USD in 2018 (Forbes)
Roger Ver is a controversial figure in the cryptocurrency community. Once called the “Bitcoin Jesus” for his bold predictions about Bitcoin’s rise, he has been heavily involved in the promotion of Bitcoin, owning many Bitcoin-related businesses and assets such as the Bitcoin.com domain.
When the Bitcoin community split in 2017 over disagreements on whether to implement a proposal known as BIP 91, the community decided to hard-fork the cryptocurrency, resulting in the creation of Bitcoin Cash (BCH). One of the largest supporters of BCH was Roger Ver, and due to his position in the minority of developers against BIP 91, he became vilified in popular cryptocurrency culture.
Today, Roger Ver continues to be an investor and venture capitalist, supporting various blockchain and cryptocurrency projects. A full list of his investments can be found on his website, rogerver.com.
3. Vitalik Buterin, creator of Ethereum
Estimated Net Worth: $400 – $500 million USD
Buterin is one of the most respected figures in the cryptocurrency community, having turned Smart Contracts into reality by launching the Ethereum network – currently the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. His genius and work on blockchain, despite his youth, has earned him a legion of supporters and made him into somewhat of a celebrity in blockchain culture.
Before inventing Ethereum, he was one of the co-founders of Bitcoin Magazine, one of the first publications centered around the developments and growth of Bitcoin.
4. Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance
Estimated Net Worth: $1.4 billion USD
Binance has grown from “just another exchange” to one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency-related businesses. Changpeng, the CEO, has notably achieved a cult-like status amongst cryptocurrency fans and is affectionately known as “CZ” amongst the wider community.
He is a Chinese-Canadian businessman who started his career with the Tokyo Stock Exchange, developing software for matching trade orders, and also developed futures trading software for Bloomberg Tradebook.
He was formerly the Chief Technology Officer of then chinese exchange OKCoin, and left in 2017 to found Binance with $15 million raised in an initial coin offering.
5. Brock Pierce
Estimated Net Worth: $700 million – $1 billion
Former Disney child actor and cryptocurrency fanatic Brock Pierce is one of the most outspoken and prolific investors in the blockchain space, having contributed to the funding of giant companies in the blockchain space such as Coinbase, Ethereum, EOS. He was formerly the Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation prior to its collapse in July 2015.
In 2001, he founded Internet Gaming Entertainment in what would be an iconic precursor to Bitcoin Mining today. IGE pioneered the MMORPG and virtual-currency secondary market, facilitating currency-selling in online games where the currencies had huge value to players. The operation was similar to Bitcoin mining in that players would spend time playing the game to earn currency, which they could then sell online to other players who were interested in purchasing these virtual currencies for real world cash.
He then transitioned and became a Bitcoin and cryptocurrency evangelist, founding one of the largest cryptocurrencies “EOS”, as well as investing and supporting multiple famous projects throughout the cryptocurrency space such as Tether. He has incurred controversy over his public behaviour, sexual misconduct allegations and disagreements with other blockchain personalities, having been described by the Rolling Stone as “visionary and madman; idealist and opportunist; entertainer and businessman, magician and hedonist, narcissist and community builder”
He announced his candidacy for the President of the United States on July 4, 2020, running as an independent. His bid for president has been described by political analysts as being a publicity stunt due to its implausibility and timing. He has also pledged to give away $1 billion of his crypto fortune to charity, governed by a decentralized autonomous community or a “blockchain-run charity”.
6. Tim Draper
Estimated Net Worth: $1 billion USD
Tim Draper was rich even before Bitcoin, but that doesn’t make him any less of a personality in our book. Having first invested over $250,000 into Bitcoin when it was just $6, he lost it all in the Mt. Gox exchange hack of 2014, but doubled up and purchased another 32,000 Bitcoin auctioned by the U.S. Marshalls Service – coins that had been confiscated from the digital black marketplace Silk Road. Since then, he has pursued many more investments into Bitcoin, Blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
He has invested in some of the largest companies around the world, including Baidu, Hotmail, Skype, Tesla, SpaceX, AngelList, SolarCity, DocuSign, Twitter, Coinbase, Robinhood, Ancestry.com, and Twitch.
7. Chris Larsen, founder of Ripple Labs. Inc.
Estimated Net Worth: $2.6 billion USD
Chris Larsen founded one of the earliest online lending companies, E-Loan, in 1996, a company which achieved an estimated market value of $1 billion in 2000. His exposure in the loans industry led him to advocate for consumer financial privacy, a stance which undoubtedly led to his foray and involvement in Blockchain technologies.
In 2012, he founded OpenCoin (now Ripple Labs, Inc.), which developed Ripple and eventually implemented Blockchain and ledger technologies as part of its implementation. Their angel funding round included famous investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, and IDG Capital Partners. He is now a well-known Silicon Valley venture capitalist.
8. Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase
Estimated Net Worth: $1 billion USD
Brian Armstrong is the chief executive of Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the USA. With Coinbase having revenues of over $1billion per year, and its latest financing round in 2018 putting it at over $8billion in valuation, Brian is essentially the Jeff Bezos of the cryptocurrency world.
He’s a multi-talented individual, having expertise as a software engineer, consultant, risk manager, crypto entrepreneur. His wealth is closely tied to Coinbase’s performance as he is not known to have other involvements outside of Coinbase, with the exception of GiveCrypto, Armstrong’s cryptocurrency-for-good charity.
9. Li Xiaolai, founder of BitFund
Estimated Net Worth: $1 billion USD
Li Xiaolai is one of the most well-known names in the chinese cryptocurrency community – and perhaps the most infamous. He is a former school teacher and now the founder of Beijing-based venture capital firm, BitFund -achieving billionaire status from cryptocurrency investments.
Through BitFund, Li has supported various blockchain related startups including blockchain wallets, exchanges, mining hardware manufacturers, various blockchain funds, and more.
His infamy stems from accusations levied against him by former business partners to whom he allegedly owes Bitcoin, as well as his outspoken statements on how most blockchain projects achieve success by starting out as scams.
In late 2018, he announced his retirement from the cryptosphere and investments in blockchain, via chinese social media site Weibo.
10. Satoshi Nakamoto, founder of Bitcoin
Estimated Net Worth: $5 – 10 billion USD
No article listing bitcoin personalities would be complete without mention of the enigmatic Satoshi Nakamoto, the founder of Bitcoin whose anonymity has never been broken. Until today, Satoshi’s alleged Bitcoins (which presumably are his since only he would have been mining Bitcoin in the earliest days) in the early parts of the blockchain remain unmoved, and the trail of evidence pointing to who he could have been has come to a cold halt.
He was active in the development of Bitcoin up until December 2010, where he withdrew from the active community, and his last known correspondence in April 2011 was to Mike Hearn via email where he declared that Bitcoin was in “good hands” with other bitcoin developers Gavin (Andresen).
His unspent coins are estimated to be worth over $19 billion during Bitcoin’s peak in December 2017, which would have made him the 44th richest person in the world at that time.
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