Millions of people around the world have invested in cryptocurrency and thousands of companies have popped up around this new class of assets. Many have profited off cryptocurrencies, but some have made fortunes from their cutting-edge entrepreneurial skills incorporating cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology.
So, who’s who in the cryptocurrency world? Here is an overview of the leading cryptocurrency entrepreneurs.
Of course, Satoshi Nakamoto takes first place. The mysterious figure(s) behind Bitcoin is speculated to have millions of coins in their possession. This, however, is not why they take the first position.
Satoshi Nakamoto is responsible for bringing Bitcoin to the world. He authored a white paper proposing the idea of cryptocurrency back in 2009. He was not the first to come up with the idea of cryptocurrency (or Bitcoin, for that matter), but he did solve an integral problem that led to the demise of earlier cryptocurrencies. He took out a central authority and made Bitcoin decentralized by setting up a peer-to-peer protocol. He also endured the criticism that was levied on Bitcoin during its early stages.
Bitcoin has a market capitalization of over USD 20 billion thanks to Satoshi Nakamoto. Most importantly, however, his efforts have fostered the growth of over 2,000 other cryptocurrencies and created a whole new industry and class of digital assets.
Tony Gallippi is speculated to be one of the largest Bitcoin holders. This may very well be true considering his position in the cryptocurrency industry.
Mr. Gallippi is the co-founder and chairman of Bitpay, one of the leading Bitcoin processors. Bitpay processes millions of dollars in Bitcoin transaction on any given day. The company also enables merchants to accept payments in Bitcoin. Most interesting, however, Bitpay is a leader in the Bitcoin mining industry. This gives Mr. Gallippi an added advantage. He is also known to be a speculative trader with a focus on Bitcoin.
Mr. Gallippi has not disclosed the worth of his Bitcoin collection but most people value it at over USD 20 million.
The Winklevoss Twins
The Winklevoss twins owe their billions to Bitcoin. The two brothers are famous for several things, besides their vast wealth. They were locked in a legal battle with Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, for years. The court ruled in their favor and awarded them USD 65 million in damages. The brothers took a big leap and invested part of this money in Bitcoin just as it was coming onto the spotlight back in 2013. They bought USD 11 million worth of Bitcoin. Their investment was worth well over USD 1 billion in 2017.
The Winklevoss twins are also the founders of Gemini, a reputable cryptocurrency exchange platform that has ambitions to be much more than that. They have sold a small portion of their Bitcoin and bought a range of other cryptocurrencies as well. They are also optimistic that Bitcoin will be worth trillions at some point in the future, and they say that they are in the race for the long haul.
Barry Silbert is considered one of the most influential investors in the cryptocurrency market with a particular focus on Bitcoin. He is the founder and CEO of The Bitcoin Opportunity Fund, a private investment company with a portfolio of investments in more than 20 startups built around Bitcoin – he has investments in several reputable companies including BitPay, Ripple, and Coinbase. There are also rumors that Mr. Silbert is planning on launching his very own crypto startup.
Barry Silbert also has a vast stake in Bitcoin. He is also reported to have bought a considerable share of the Bitcoin auctioned by the U.S. government from the Silk Road, and he has been increasing his stash over the years following the crypto’s appreciation.
Tim Draper is a billionaire venture capitalist and a notable figure in the cryptocurrency industry. His collection of Bitcoin is estimated to be worth more than USD 200 million.
Mr. Draper made his billion by investing in Skype and Baidu while they were still new. His millions in Bitcoin, however, came in an unconventional manner. Mr. Draper was one of the few investors who bought Bitcoin sold off by the U.S. government after its crackdown on the infamous Silk Road shopping platform. He is said to have bought over 30,000 coins at the then price of USD 300. Bitcoin has since soared in price by thousands of dollars.
Tim Draper doesn’t have his own crypto-based company like most other names on this list. However, he is a notable influencer as he is the first venture capitalist to invest in an ICO – the fact that he is putting his and his company’s reputation on the line for Tezos, a promising cryptocurrency startup, is expected to give credibility to ICOs.
Charlie Shrem is a notable figure in cryptocurrency circles for many reasons, some good and some undesirable. He treads a fine line between legal and illegal.
Charlie Shrem began investing in Bitcoin while he was still in school taking his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Finance. He founded BitInstant a short time after graduating in partnership with Gareth Wilson. The platform was founded with the goal of making it easier for average investors to buy and sell Bitcoin at friendly prices. Mr. Shrem is also the co-founder of the Bitcoin Foundation – he also once served as the organization’s chairman.
Mr. Shrem is the black sheep of this group of crypto entrepreneurs because of his arrest and legal conviction. Mr. Shrem was arrested for conspiring to launder USD 1 million worth of Bitcoin for users of Silk Road, the illegal dark web shopping site that sold all kinds of illicit goods and services for Bitcoin. Mr. Shrem spent two years in prison from 2014 to 2016. He got back into the industry immediately after his release and is still making a positive impact in spite of his spoilt reputation.
Charlie Shrem is speculated to have millions of dollars locked up in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency investments. He is currently seeking to leverage the benefits of Ethereum as he plans to launch an investment organization based on the ERC20 platform.