As a sign that attitudes are changing, Forbes has unveiled the first ever ranking of the biggest fortunes in the cryptocurrency sector.
The American magazine is a global reference in this type of subject and offers different types of lists since the 1980s. To make this ranking, Forbes explains that it has mainly retained the assets in cryptocurrencies claimed or traceable, as well as the profits made by the exchange platforms when it comes to people installed in this business.
The magazine concedes that it cannot be perfectly exhaustive, but compares its work to that done in 1982 when the very first ranking of American fortunes was published.
The Early Investors:
The Winklevoss twins, investors: $3 billion each
The famous Winklevoss twins, who became famous for their appearance as characters in the film The Social Network about the genesis of Facebook, believed in Bitcoin very early on, investing $11 million as early as 2012. They turned the $65 million they received in compensation in the dispute with Mark Zuckerberg over the creation of the social network into a cool $3 billion each.
Michael Saylor: 2.3 billion dollars
During the Internet bubble in the 2000s, he made, then lost, a fortune. By investing with Bitcoin early on, both personally and on behalf of his company, he made a lot of money, and boosted MicroStratgy’s stock price in the process.
Matthew Roszak: $1.5 BILLION
Co-founder of BloQ, which delivers Blockchain solutions to businesses, Matthew Roszak, is a Bitcoin pioneer, investing in it as early as 2011. At the time, he was an entrepreneur specializing in new technologies.
In 2013, he became a partner in the first investment fund specializing in blockchain and cryptocurrencies, Tally Capital. He has since invested with Coinbase and Kraken exchange platforms, among others. Matthew Roszak boasts of having convinced Richard Branson and Bill Clinton to acquire their first Bitcoin.
Tim Draper: $1.5 BILLION
A long-time investor in Silicon Valley companies, Tim Draper made a great deal with Bitcoin in one transaction: in 2014, he bought $18.7 million worth of Bitcoin put up for sale by the U.S. justice system following the closure of the darkweb sales site Silk Road. These Bitcoin are now worth $1.5 billion.
The Infrastructure Builders:
Sam Bankman-Fried: $8.7 BILLION
He is the richest man in the cryptocurrency universe. This Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduate, at just 25 years old, founded the quantitative trading firm Almeda research in 2017 and then the derivatives trading platform FTX.
Four years later, he became the world’s largest crypto-billionaire. Rather discreet, he had made news by donating $5 million to Joe Biden’s campaign last year.
Brian Armstrong, founder of Coinbase: $6.5 billion
At only 38 years old, the American Brian Armstrong is the head of a fortune estimated at 6.5 billion dollars. When he was not even 30 years old, he founded Coinbase in 2012, which would become the most popular cryptocurrency exchange platform in the United States.
With the democratization of cryptocurrencies a few years later, Coinbase, which is considered the gateway to the cryptocurrency market for beginners due to its ease of use, has seen phenomenal growth. In December 2017, the Coinbase app became the most downloaded app on iOS across all categories at one point, ahead of Google and Facebook.
Fred Ehrsam: $1.9 billion
Co-founder of Coinbase with Brian Armstrong, Fred Ehrsam left the company in 2017 but retains a director position. He owns 6% of the company’s shares, valued at $1.9 billion. He now runs his own investment fund dedicated to cryptocurrencies, Paradigm.
Changpeng “CZ” Zao, founder of binance: $1.9 BILLION
China’s Changpeng Zao, 44, built most of his fortune in just seven months, those following the founding of Binance in July 2017. The company quickly became the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange platform.
A computer engineer by training, he began by working at the Tokyo Stock Exchange and then Bloomberg, among others, developing trading software. In 2013, he heard about Bitcoin, and decided to sell his house in 2014 to invest with the cryptocurrency.
He then thought about founding his own trading platform, disconnected from the financial markets since it does not use national currencies. Cryptocurrencies can be traded there, including the one linked to the platform, the Binance coin (BNB).
Barry Silbert: $1.6 billion
Barry Silbert founded the cryptocurrency conglomerate Digital Currency Group (DCG) in 2015. The latter owns one of the main crypto news sites, CoinDesk, and especially the company Grayscale, which owns 44 billion Bitcoin, Ether and other cryptocurrencies.
The Coin Issuers:
Chris Larsen, co-founder of Ripple: $3.4 BILLION
Co-founder of Ripple, one of the leading cryptocurrencies, has seen his fortune increase by $ 800 million in the past year, thanks to the increase in the price of Ripple, of which he owns 3 billion units. He also owns 17% of the company.
Ripple, considered “the cryptocurrency of banks” is based on a system that allows for fast and almost free transactions, which banks have begun to use for fund transfers.
Jed McCaleb: $2 BILLION
Co-founder of Ripple, Jed McCaleb owns no less than 3.4 billion XRP, Ripple’s cryptocurrency. He also owns 1 billion in Stellar Lumens, the cryptocurrency he con-founded in 2014, when he had stepped away from Ripple.