Who Are the Top Crypto Billionaires

Jul 02, 2022 · 9 mins read
Who Are the Top Crypto Billionaires
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No one can argue that the cryptocurrency market isn’t volatile, but it has already changed the way we handle transactions. Bitcoin, Ethereum and other types of digital currencies have paved the way for a new type of online spending. With this type of currency there are no banks or credit card companies taking part in the process; instead, two people agree on everything involved with a transaction before they carry out the exchange through their respective “wallets.
Crypto billionaires have become a hot topic in the last few years and here we will explore who they are and where they rank.

1. Changpeng Zhao
Net worth: $65 billion
Source of wealth: Binance
Citizenship: Canada

Changpeng Zhao

Chain Pang Zhao is a chinese-canadian businessman who happens to be the founder of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange platform by Binance who goes by CZ. The Chinese-Canadian developer made his name developing high-frequency trading systems for Wall Street’s power brokers.

Binance facilitated trades worth more than $9.5 trillion in 2021, accounting for more than two-thirds of total trading volume handled by centralized crypto exchanges. Binance said in February 2022 that it intends to spend $200 million to acquire a minority stake in Forbes through a SPAC deal.

2. Sam Bankman-Fried
Net worth: $24 billion
Source of wealth: FTX
Citizenship: U.S

Sam Bankman-Fried

Sam Bankman-Fried is the founder of a Bahamian-based cryptocurrency exchange platform FTX. He studied physics at MIT but was driven to “effective altruism,” the utilitarian-inflected notion of doing the most good possible. He is the son of two law professors at Stanford. So he went to work at a quant firm trading ETFs, donating a portion of his salary to charity, before jumping into crypto trading in late 2017, when he spotted a potential arbitrage chance.

In 2019, Bankman-Fried started his own exchange, FTX. It is one of the top exchanges for buying and selling crypto derivatives, having been built “by traders, for traders.” In 2021, investors valued FTX at $18 billion, making him one of the wealthiest people under 30 in history. In January 2022, the exchange and its US operations were valued at $40 billion.

3. Brian Armstrong
Net worth: $6.6 billion
Source of wealth: Coinbase
Citizenship: U.S

Brian Armstrong

Brian Armstrong is the CEO of Coinbase Global, the largest bitcoin exchange in the US. Armstrong, a former Airbnb software developer, cofounded Coinbase in San Francisco with a former currency trader Fred Ehrsam in 2012.

On April 14, 2021, Coinbase went public in a direct offering on Nasdaq, briefly surpassing a market capitalization of $100 billion. Armstrong has a roughly 19 percent ownership in Coinbase, which had $322 million in profits on approximately $1.3 billion in revenue in 2020. Cofounder Fred Ehrsam left the company in 2017, however he still owns 6% of the company and sits on its board of directors.

4. Gary Wang
Net worth: $5.9 billion
Source of wealth: FTX
Citizenship: U.S

Gary Wang

Gary Wang is the cofounder and chief technical officer of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX. Wang, an MIT graduate, worked at Google for several years, designing algorithms to aggregate pricing over millions of flights, before collaborating with fellow billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried to create FTX in 2019.

Wang owns roughly 16% of the exchange, which raised $400 million at a $32 billion valuation in January 2022, and roughly 18% of its US operations, which investors value at $8 billion.

5. Chris Larsen
Net worth: $4.3 billion
Source of wealth: Ripple
Citizenship: U.S

Chris Larsen

Chris Larsen launched Ripple in 2012 to use blockchain technology to ease international payments for banks. Ripple counts American Express and Santander among its 100-plus customers. Larsen stepped down as CEO of Ripple in December 2016, however he still serves as executive chairman.

6. Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss
Net worth: $4 billion each
Source of wealth: Bitcoin
Citizenship: U.S.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, often known as the Winklevoss Twins, cofounded the cryptocurrency exchange Gemini in 2014; it now handles over $200 million in transactions every day. Cameron is the president of Gemini, and Tyler is the CEO.

The former Olympic rowers are best known for accusing Mark Zuckerberg of stealing their social networking concept. They began accumulating Bitcoin with a portion of their $65 million court settlement with Facebook’s CEO. The twins continue to control an estimated 70,000 Bitcoins, as well as other digital assets.

8. Song Chi-hyung
Net worth: $3.7 billion
Source of wealth: Upbit
Citizenship: South Korea

Song Chi-hyung

Song Chi-hyung is the founder and chairman of Dunamu, the main cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea.Dunamu raised $85 million in September 2021 at a $8.7 billion value. Kakao Ventures and Altos Ventures, both situated in Silicon Valley, are among its investors. Song worked at Danal, a local mobile payment startup, before co-founding Dunamu with Kim Hyoung-nyon.

9. Barry Silbert
Net worth: $3.2 billion
Source of wealth: Digital Currency Group
Citizenship: U.S.

Barry Silbert

Barry Silbert is the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group (DCG), a group of five cryptocurrency-related businesses. Grayscale, a digital asset management that manages $28 billion in Bitcoin, Ether, and other assets, is DCG’s greatest revenue producer. DCG has also invested in over 200 cryptocurrency businesses through its various subsidiaries.

10. Jed McCaleb
Net worth: $2.5 billion
Source of wealth: Ripple, Stellar
Citizenship: U.S

Jed McCaleb

McCaleb was an early blockchain pioneer who helped create three well-known crypto companies. He founded Mt. Gox, the first major Bitcoin exchange, in 2010, then sold it a year later before it was hacked.

McCaleb cofounded Ripple in 2012, but departed shortly after due to apparent conflicts with other founders. In 2014, he co-founded Stellar, a Ripple rival aimed at speeding up cross-border payments. The majority of McCaleb’s fortune stems from the estimated 3.4 billion XRP he still has left over from his original 9 billion XRP as a Ripple founder.

11 & 12. Nikil Viswanathan and Joseph Lau
Net worth: $2.4 billion each
Source of wealth: Alchemy
Citizenship: U.S. (both)

Nikil Viswanathan and Joseph Lau

Viswanathan and Lau, the cofounders of blockchain decacorn Alchemy, met in 2011 at Stanford while working as TAs for a computer science class. They founded Alchemy, a software company that enables thousands of blockchain-based Web3 businesses.

In February, private investors valued Alchemy at $10.2 billion; Lau has an estimated 26 percent interest. The business announced the creation of Alchemy Ventures in December 2021, which invests in existing clients with the purpose of bootstrapping the sector. Lau and partner Nikil Viswanathan, both Stanford graduates, had early success with the meeting app Down to Lunch, which temporarily topped the Apple Store rankings.

13 &14. Devin Finzer and Alex Atallah
Net worth: $2.2 billion
Source of wealth: OpenSea
Citizenship: U.S. (both)

Devin finzer and Alex Atallah

OpenSea’s CEO is Devin Finzer, and its Chief Technology Officer is Alex Atallah. OpenSea is a marketplace for nonfungible tokens—digital assets that reflect real-world artifacts such as art. In 2018, they cofounded OpenSea, a company located in New York. In January 2021, Finzer and Atallah became the first NFT millionaires when their firm was valued at $13.3 billion by private investors. They each hold around 18% of the company.

15. Fred Ehrsam
Net worth: $2.1 billion
Source of wealth: Coinbase
Citizenship: U.S

Sam Bankman-Fried

Ehrsam and Brian Armstrong co-founded the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase in 2012. It has now expanded to become the largest cryptocurrency brokerage in the United States. He departed the company in 2017, but remains on the board and controls around 6% of the company’s stock; Coinbase went public in April 2021. He cofounded Paradigm, a cryptocurrency investment firm with over $1 billion in assets, in 2018. He spent thousands of hours as a child playing World of Warcraft, where he first learnt about the concept of in-game digital money. He graduated from Duke and spent two years as a foreign exchange trader at Goldman Sachs before founding Coinbase.

16. Kim Hyoung-nyon
Net worth: $1.9 billion
Source of wealth: Upbit
Citizenship: South Korea

Kim Hyoung-nyon

Kim Hyoung-nyon is the cofounder and executive vice president of Dunamu, the main cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea. Dunamu raised $85 million in September 2021 at an $8.7 billion value. Kakao Ventures and Altos Ventures, both based in Silicon Valley, are among its investors. Kim worked at Danal, a local mobile payment startup, before co-founding Dunamu with Song Chi-hyung.

17. Michael Saylor
Net worth: $1.6 billion
Source of wealth: MicroStrategy
Citizenship: U.S

Michael Saylor

Michael Saylor is the CEO of MicroStrategy, a business analytics software company. Because of his ownership of MicroStrategy, he became a multibillionaire in the late 1990s. After dubious accounting led to a restatement of financial results and the dot-com meltdown, he dropped out of the billionaire ranks. He became a billionaire again as a result of timely bitcoin investments. In October 2020, he revealed that he had personally purchased 17,732 bitcoins for $175 million. Throughout 2020, he directed Microstrategy’s corporate funds into bitcoin, purchasing 70,784 bitcoins for $1.1 billion with business cash and borrowings.

18. Matthew Roszak
Net worth: $1.4 billion
Source of wealth: Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies
Citizenship: U.S

Matthew Roszak

Roszak is the cofounder and chairman of Bloq, a blockchain technology business that advises banks on initiatives such as digital asset storage. Bloq also assists businesses who are attempting to execute transactions for “stablecoins,” or cryptocurrencies whose value is tied to the value of a fiat currency. Roszak worked in venture capital and as an entrepreneur in the 1990s and early 2000s before beginning to build a crypto portfolio in 2012.

19. Tim Draper
Net worth: $1.2 billion
Source of wealth: Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies
Citizenship: U.S

Tim Draper

Tim Draper is a founding partner of the venture capital company Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Draper has made hundreds of venture capital investments in firms such as Tesla and Theranos, as well as a fortune speculating in cryptocurrencies. In 2014, he paid $18.7 million for 29,656 bitcoins seized by US Marshals from the defunct Silk Road criminal market or $632 per coin.

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