Crypto billionaires: All you need to know about the big shots in the digital realm
Before cryptocurrency became popular, many doubted it and didn’t bother to give it a second look. For the early adopters who did, they’re the ones who are now billionaires and big shots in the crypto realm.
Early adopters may not always be on the right path, but for the few who saw the bright potential of cryptocurrencies and their ability to revolutionize our banking and finance system, they sure got it right. So who are they and what are their stories? Read on to find out the ones who are now making a fortune with cryptocurrency.
The Crypto Billionaire ‘Club’
Estimated net worth: USD$19 billion
Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonym of the person who created Bitcoin. Since its inception in 2009, it is still unknown whether Nakamoto is a person or a group of people. According to sources, it is believed that Nakamoto is the largest holder of Bitcoins in the market with at least 1 million BTC, which is worth over USD$19 billion.
Image credit: Coindesk
Estimated net worth: USD$9.5 billion
Brad Garlinghouse is a Harvard alumnus who has been working with companies such as AOL and Yahoo. Garlinghouse took the crypto world by storm when he introduced Ripple. With a dream to revolutionize the banking system, Brad harnessed the power of blockchain technology to create a coin that can cater to both fiat and cryptocurrency.
His ingenious creation paved the way for the drastic improvement of the traditional banking system. Right now, major banks such as Santander, Bank of America and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group have integrated Ripple in their system. Currently, Brad Garlinghouse has a 7% stake in Ripple labs. His estimated net worth of USD$9.5 billion, making him one of the most successful and richest crypto billionaires in the world.
Estimated net worth: USD$7.5 - $8 billion
Before cryptocurrency and online transactions became a hit, Chris Larsen created a company called E-Loan. It is believed to be one of the first companies that allowed direct loans without going using banks. Currently, his brainchild is now worth USD$1 billion.
Over time, Larsen saw the potential of cryptocurrency and how blockchain technology can drastically change our current financial system. He co-founded Ripple, one of the biggest cryptocurrencies in the market. Larsen’s crypto net worth is believed to be somewhere between USD$7.5 - $8 billion.
Micree Zhan Khetuan
Estimated net worth: USD$1.6 billion
With a net worth of USD$4 billion, Micree Zhan may be one of the richest people in the digital realm but he’s rarely mentioned in crypto billionaires lists. He’s the co-founder and co-CEO of Bitmain, a company that’s one of the biggest distributors of crypto mining products.
Before getting involved in cryptocurrency, Zhan was an electrical engineering student. He used to work for Tsinghua University, where he was a research and development engineer. He also founded a start-up called DivaIP- Technologies, a company that develops TV setup boxes.
In 2013, Zhan met Jihan Wu, and they began their company now known as Bitmain. They worked together to create a chip solely designed for cryptocurrency mining. After four years, Bitmain generated USD$2.5 billion worth of revenue.
Estimated net worth: USD$ 1.5 billion
Jihan Wu is the CEO of Bitmain and Micree Zhan’s business partner. Wu approached Zhan in 2013 to ask for his expertise on chip design. The two struck a deal and launched their own company, Bitmain. With a net worth of USD$ 2.39 billion, Wu is one of the youngest crypto billionaires in the world.
Wu’s company has the largest distribution in the crypto mining industry. With 16.4% of the mining pools, Wu is said to be one of the most highly influential figures in the Bitcoin market.
In an interview with Bitcoin.com CEO Stefan Rust, Jihan Wu said that he was one of the first few people to translate the white paper released by Satoshi Nakamoto. According to Wu, he saw cryptocurrency’s potential to change the economy for the better.
Estimated net worth: USD$1.5 billion
Li Lin became a crypto billionaire when he founded Huobi, one of the largest digital asset exchanges in the world. With a daily trading volume of USD$560 million, Li Lin is on his way to top the crypto billionaire club.
Estimated net worth: USD$1.1 billion - $2 billion
Changpeng Zhao is one of the most popular Bitcoin billionaires. Before he became the CEO of Binance, Changpeng worked at McDonald’s to help his parents with their daily expenses.
Zhao sold everything he owned in 2014 so he can get enough funds to purchase cryptocurrency. Everything paid off when his Bitcoin investments grew. Three years later, he launched Binance, one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world. With a crypto net worth of USD$1.1 billion - $2 billion, Zhao is one of the richest crypto billionaires in the world.
Estimated net worth: USD$1 to $5 billion
Joseph Lubin is a native of Toronto, Canada. Piqued by Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper on Bitcoin, he invested in Ethereum when it was still new in the market. True enough, Lubin’s investment grew.
He then founded ConsenSys, a company that aids start-up businesses who want to use blockchain technology in their system. Currently, Lubin’s company’s value is USD$10 billion, while his current crypto net worth is around USD$1 to $5 billion.
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss
Image credit: Forbes
Estimated net worth: USD$900 - 1 billion
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are recognized for their feat in the Olympic Games’ as American rowers and for their law case with Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. After graduating from Harvard, they delved into Bitcoin and recognised its big potential.
After learning about cryptocurrency, the twins launched the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust in New York where they educate people about digital assets. The twins are also known as the Bitcoin billionaire brothers. Some years ago, the pair were believed to own 1% of Bitcoin’s total shares. Additionally, the brothers launched a cryptocurrency exchange site called Gemini. Their estimated net worth is around USD$900 - 1 billion.
Estimated net worth: USD$1 billion
Tim Draper is originally a successful venture capitalist. Draper dipped his hands in the crypto world when he saw a video of a father in South Korea who had a hard time converting his fiat money to digital assets to buy his son a feature for a video game. This pushed Draper to learn more about the technology of Bitcoin.
Tim made a commotion in the crypto sphere in 2014 when he purchased a huge sum of Bitcoin that was seized by the government during the 2013 raid in the dark web. Draper scored these assets for a cheaper price and was able to grow them over the years. Half of his USD$1 billion assets are from his crypto purchase.
Estimated net worth: USD$900 million - $1 billion
Before diving into the digital realm, Brian Armstrong was a developer. He began creating websites to make some income and took up a double degree in Computer Science and Economics. He became an intern for IMB and launched his own company called UniversityTutor.com.
In 2012, Armstrong started his venture in cryptocurrency and started Coinbase, one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world. Right now, Armstrong’s estimated crypto net worth is around USD$900 million - $1 billion.
Estimated net worth: USD$900 million to $1 billion
Matthew Roszak is one of the founders of Blockchain Capital. As one of the richest crypto billionaires, he owns a firm called Tally Capital. Major crypto exchange companies such as Kraken and Coinbase have invested in his firm. Moreover, he’s also the co-founder of Bloq, a company that assists businesses who want to venture into blockchain technology. His estimated crypto net worth is around USD$900 million to $1 billion.
Fun fact: Roszak gave Bill Clinton and Richard Branson their first Bitcoins to spread the word about cryptocurrency.
Estimated net worth: USD$900 million- $1 billion
Matthew Mellon has been around the business of finance for quite some time. Coming from a family of successful businessmen, Mellon’s family is the founder of Mellon Bank and Drexel University. He was one of the earliest investors of Bitcoin. Despite his family discouraging him from investing in crypto, Mellon saw its potential and trusted his gut feeling about it.
Matthew invested USD$2 million in Ripple. According to him, he thinks that Ripple is the only currency that can function well in the world’s current economy. True enough, Mellon’s investment flourished to USD$1 billion in 2018. However, he wasn’t able to enjoy the fruits of his investments as he passed away due to a heart attack the very same year.
Anthony Di Iorio
Image credit: Fortune
Estimated net worth: USD$750 million to $1 billion
Before he became one of the co-founders of Ethereum, Anthony Di Iorio helped his father with his patio business. When the 2008 financial crisis struck the United States, Di Iorio became interested in economics. Soon, he delved deeper into the cause of the market crash and sought answers to prevent it from happening again.
He continued his venture in Ethereum by investing in several digital assets. According to him, investors should start early so they can reap more benefits once their investments grow. His estimated cryptocurrency net worth is around USD$750 million to $1 billion.
Estimated net worth: USD$700- $1 billion
Before Brock Pierce joined the crypto train, he was an actor. He stopped pursuing his career in acting in 1997 and joined the world of esports in 2007, where he collected a lot of Bitcoins for his gaming.
Brock didn’t use all of his coins and just held on it. When he finally converted it, his funds reached USD$1 billion. Right now, Pierce is co-founding a Puerto Rican bank that runs on blockchain technology.
Bitcoin millionaire kid
Estimated net worth: USD$1 million- $5 million
If you think adults are the only ones capable of being crypto billionaires, think again. Erik Finman is not your regular boy next door. When he was 12, he purchased $1,000 worth of Bitcoin.
Finman’s fortune then grew into an astounding $4.5 million, making him the youngest crypto millionaire in history. Additionally, he invested in Metal, a cryptocurrency that he claims will defeat Facebook’s upcoming digital asset, Libra.
According to Finman, he was first introduced to cryptocurrency during a protest his older brother brought him to. The protest in question was regarding the financial crisis that hit the United States in 2008. During the protest, Erik saw a man wearing a Bitcoin shirt that piqued his interest. After that eventful day, he researched digital assets with his brother and became hooked.
To fund his investment, Erik borrowed $1,000 from his grandmother to purchase 100 bitcoins. At that time, Bitcoin was worth $10 - $12 dollars. After that, Finman grew his Bitcoin and juggled school. When he dropped out of high school, he focused on different types of education projects and businesses that increased his fortune.
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Words by: Rain Quintana