(ORDO NEWS) — Despite all the ups and downs of digital currencies, this area does not lack money – you can make money in the crypto market, which is estimated at $ 2 trillion. Proof of this is the list of the richest crypto billionaires in the world, which this year has replenished with seven new members. It includes entrepreneurs from the annual Forbes list of the richest billionaires in the world, who made their fortune on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
No. 1. Changpeng Zhao
Wealth : $65 billion
Changpeng Zhao is the richest crypto businessman in the world, the creator and CEO of the world’s leading cryptocurrency trading platform Binance (according to Forbes, he owns at least 70% of the company), who also ranks 19th in the list of the richest people in the world. It was previously reported that the company handled about two-thirds of all transactions processed by centralized cryptocurrency exchanges last year, earning more than $16 billion. Based on this data, Forbes increased Zhao’s wealth estimate from $1.9 billion last year. The 44-year-old billionaire also owns a small amount of bitcoin and Binance’s own tokens – BNB – for an unknown amount. Going forward, Binance plans to make a major investment in the parent company that will own Forbes USA.
No. 2. Sam Bankman-Fried
Wealth : $24 billion
At the end of 2021, the 30-year-old businessman moved from Hong Kong to the Bahamas, a more crypto-friendly region, along with his FTX crypto exchange, co-founded with Gary Wang. In January, the company, which is estimated at $32 billion, raised another $400 million. Among the investors of the startup are a platform for investments in cryptocurrency companies and new Paradigm tokens, which is owned by another crypto billionaire Fred Ehrsam; venture capital company Sequoia; the firm that buys Thoma Bravo; and the Ontario Teachers’ Retirement Planning Board. FTX’s US operations were recently valued by investors at $8 billion.
Sam Bankman-Fried, an adherent of effective altruism and the utilitarian idea that a person should do as much good as possible, has vowed to give away his entire fortune over the course of his life. He owns about half of FTX and owns more than $7 billion worth of FTT tokens.
Number 3. Brian Armstrong
Wealth : $6.6 billion
In April 2021, the CEO and co-founder of Coinbase made a direct listing of a cryptocurrency exchange that was valued at $100 billion. Although the company’s market capitalization today is about half of that amount, it is enough for Armstrong, who owns 19% of Coinbase, to be the third largest the richest person in the cryptocurrency world.
Armstrong, who in 2020 required his employees to refrain from political discussions at work, is easy to remember for his consistent choice of plain T-shirts and bald head. In January, the 39-year-old spent $133 million on a mansion in Bel Air, a neighborhood in western Los Angeles. The purchase became one of the most expensive real estate transactions in the city to date.
No. 4. Gary Wang
Wealth : $5.9 billion
FTX co-founder and CTO Gary Wang, who rarely speaks to the press, co-founded the cryptocurrency exchange in 2019 with Sam Bankman-Freed. Wang owns a 16% stake in the global company FTX, as well as exchange tokens (FTT) worth more than $600 million. Before going into cryptocurrency, Wang was a software engineer at Google, where he helped create an online service for searching and booking flights Google flights. He studied mathematics and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
No. 5. Chris Larsen
Wealth: $4.3 billion
The co-founder and executive chairman of blockchain company Ripple, whose XRP token is the eighth largest cryptocurrency in the world, is currently pursuing a lawsuit from the Securities and Exchange Commission (December 2020). In it, the agency claims that Ripple’s initial provision of coins was illegal, and also accuses the company of selling unregistered securities. The case, which is still pending in federal courts, is considered a milestone for the future of token sales. Larsen himself and representatives of the Ripple company deny wrongdoing. The 61-year-old crypto billionaire is also partnering with climate change organizations to create the Change the Code, Not the Climate campaign.
No. 6. Cameron and #7. Tyler Winklevoss
Wealth: $4 billion each
The Winklevoss twin brothers are known to the general public as “Mark Zuckerberg’s sworn enemies” – they accused him of stealing the idea of Facebook (the social network is recognized as extremist in Russia and banned) in college. This moment in the history of the company was even immortalized in the film The Social Network, where the Winklevoss was played by actor Armie Hammer. Having received $65 million as part of the settlement with Zuckerberg, they invested in cryptocurrencies and earned a fortune that is currently estimated at $4 billion each.
The brothers, who started buying bitcoin in 2012, have since diversified their digital asset portfolios into other cryptocurrencies and launched the Gemini crypto exchange. They also own the Nifty Gateway NFT marketplace. Last October, art collector Amir Soleimani accused the marketplace of improperly changing the terms of sale, which led Nifty Gateway to claim that it owed the platform $650,000.
No. 8. Song Chi-hyung
Wealth : $3.7 billion
Citizenship: South Korea
The founder of the leading South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit, Song Chi-hyun, made his fortune in the booming South Korean cryptocurrency market, which is estimated at $46 billion. He owns about a quarter of Upbit’s parent company, Dunamu. Last November, it was valued at $17 billion after South Korean record company Hybe, behind the sensational success of K-pop group BTS, acquired a 2.5% stake in the company. Former Dunamu shareholders include US semiconductor giant Qualcomm, which held a 6% stake.
No. 9. Barry Silbert
Wealth: $3.2 billion
Source: Digital Currency Group
The founder of the investment group Digital Currency Group – Barry Silbert – created a diversified crypto-conglomerate. His investment firm owns Grayscale, a company that manages about $28 billion in crypto assets, as well as digital currency news site CoinDesk. Digital Currency Group has invested in over 200 cryptocurrency startups through numerous subsidiaries. Before getting into cryptocurrencies, Barry Silbert was an investment banker and entrepreneur. In 2015, he sold the stock trading platform Second Market to Nasdaq for an undisclosed amount.
No. 10. Jed McCaleb
Wealth: $2.5 billion
Source: Ripple, Stellar
Jed McCaleb made most of his fortune from the cryptocurrency payment platform Ripple Labs, founded in 2012, and the XRP cryptocurrency created within it. McCaleb left the project in 2013 after a conflict with co-founder Chris Larsen and other members of the team. He has since sold most of his XRP tokens, following a split deal with Ripple Labs that was made in 2014. McCaleb is now the CTO of the Stellar cryptocurrency platform he founded.
No. 11. Nikhil Viswanathan and #12. Joseph Lau
Wealth: $2.4 billion
The co-founders of blockchain decacorn Alchemy, Nikhil Viswanathan and Joseph Lau, met in 2011 at Stanford while working as teaching assistants in a computer science class. Since then, they have created over 10 different products together. Their first hit project, the dating app Down To Lunch, briefly held the top spot in the App Store’s Social Media category in April 2016. Having learned about the blockchain, in 2017 they launched the Alchemy platform with the right tools for blockchain developers and entrepreneurs.
Today, Alchemy is a leading Web3 application development service that has been used, among other things, to create a marketplace for the sale and purchase of OpenSea non-fungible tokens and the Kyber decentralized crypto exchange. In February, Alchemy raised $200 million at a $10.2 billion valuation, less than four months after the company was valued at $3.5 billion in a fundraising round.
No. 13. Devin Finzer and #14. Alex Atalla
Wealth : $2.2 billion
Devin Finzer and Alex Atalla are 30-year-old co-founders of blockchain startup OpenSea, one of the early players in the fast-growing NFT market. OpenSea is a platform for users to create, buy and sell non-fungible tokens. In 2018, they took part in the Y Combinator accelerator program together, proposing a project idea that would allow people to pay with cryptocurrency to share their Wi-Fi hotspots. They decided to start a marketplace for the then-nascent NFT market after learning about the online game CryptoKitties, which allows players to buy, sell, collect and breed virtual cats and runs on the Ethereum blockchain. OpenSea raised $13.3 billion in January, compared to only $1.5 billion six months earlier. Devin Finzer and Alex Atalla each own about 18.
No. 15. Fred Ehrsam
Wealth : $2.1 billion
Co-founder of cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase, Fred Ehrsam, left the company in 2017, but remains on the board of directors and still owns a 6% stake in the firm. He currently runs Paradigm, a firm that invests primarily in crypto companies and new tokens. In January, Paradigm invested in Citadel, one of the largest market makers in the US stock markets. Before getting into cryptocurrencies, Ersam worked as a currency trader at Goldman Sachs, one of the world’s largest investment banks. The young tycoon attributes part of his crypto success to being a “hardcore gamer” in high school.
No. 16. Kim Hyun-nyeon
Wealth : $1.9 billion
Nationality: South Korea
The executive vice president of the South Korean company Dunamu, Kim Hyun Nyon, owns approximately 13% of the Upbit cryptocurrency exchange. The company was founded by him ten years ago together with another South Korean crypto billionaire, Song Chi-hyun.
No. 17. Michael Saylor
Wealth: $1.6 billion
Saylor’s credit is turning MicroStrategy, a business software company he founded in 1989, into a Bitcoin proxy. In 2020, the crypto enthusiast bet everything on MicroStrategy buying more than 70,000 bitcoins worth approximately $1.1 billion, using the firm’s cash reserves and even taking out a loan of funds.
And his bet paid off as the value of bitcoin subsequently skyrocketed. And along with that, MicroStrategy’s stock has quadrupled over the past two years, putting the 57-year-old Saylor back on the billionaire list after the 2000-2001 decline in internet stocks and the accounting scandal. In March of this year, representatives of MicroStrategy said that the company took out a loan of $205 million to acquire even more of the leading cryptocurrency.
No. 18. Matthew Roszak
Wealth: $1.4 billion
Source: Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies
Matthew Roszak started acquiring bitcoins in 2012, and in 2013 he participated in the first crypto-coin auction, buying Mastercoin, Factom and Maidsafe tokens. The entrepreneur has also invested in various cryptocurrency startups, including the popular exchanges Coinbase and Kraken. Before entering cryptocurrencies, Roszak worked as a venture capitalist with SilkRoad Equity firms, where he handled insider trading allegations against the company from the Securities and Exchange Commission, and in private equity at Advent International in the UK.
Roszak recently spearheaded an initiative to give every member of the US Congress $50 worth of digital assets, and he says he gave Richard Branson and Bill Clinton their first bitcoins.
No. 19. Tim Draper
Wealth: $1.2 billion
Source: Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies
Venture capitalist Tim Draper first invested in Bitcoin in 2012. And two years later, in 2014, he bought 29,656 bitcoins for $18.7 million ($632 per coin) at an auction that sold tokens confiscated from the organizers of the infamous Silk Road online marketplace for illegal goods and services. Earlier this year, in a commentary to US Forbes, Draper said that bitcoin would hit $250,000 by the end of 2022 — currently trading below $50,000.
Contact us: [email protected]