If you’re conversant with the crypto space, you would have heard distant stories of a certain poor person, who bought bitcoin when it had literally next to no value. But was rewarded with fortunes when crypto became more mainstream and market prices skyrocketed.
You would also have heard of extremely skillful and sometimes lucky traders/investors who earned huge returns on their capitals by trading/investing in crypto. Many of those stories are true and cryptocurrencies really change people’s life trajectories for real.
In this article we are going to examine the top ten people that became wealthy with crypto, using Forbes Crypto Billionaires list.
- Changpeng Zhao
Popularly known as CZ, Changpeng Zhao is crypto’s richest person and the 19th richest person on the planet. He is founder and CEO of Binance, the largest crypto exchange in the world.
According to Forbes estimates, he owns at least 70% of the leading global platform for crypto trading, Binance. His net worth is $65 billion, making him the richest in the crypto space.
- Sam Bankman-Fried
He is one of the youngest billionaires around, aged 29. Sam Bankman-Fried is the founder and CEO of the world’s fourth-largest cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume, FTX, and is also the CEO of billion-dollar crypto market maker Alameda Research.
He owns around half of FTX and more than $7 billion worth of FTT, the platform’s native token. Forbes puts his net worth at $24 billion.
- Brian Armstrong
Brian Armstrong is an American business executive and investor who is the CEO of cryptocurrency platform Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States.
Armstrong owns a stake of about 19% in Coinbase, which earned $322 million in profits on nearly $1.3 billion revenue in 2020. The 39-year-old is regarded as the third richest person in crypto, with a $6.6 billion net worth.
- Gary Wang
He co-founded and serves as chief technology officer of cryptocurrency exchange FTX. He linked up with fellow billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried to launch FTX in 2019 which has now grown to become one of the leading exchanges for buying and selling crypto derivatives.
Wang owns about 16% of the exchange, which raised $400 million at a $32 billion valuation in January 2022, and about 18% of its U.S. operations, which investors valued at $8 billion. He also holds over $600 million worth of $FTT, the native token of FTX. His net worth is $5.9 billion.
- Chris Larsen
He is the Executive Chairman of Ripple’s board of directors and former CEO and co-founder of Ripple. Prior to Ripple, Chris co-founded and served as CEO of Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending marketplace, and E-LOAN, a publicly traded online lender.
Ripple is a significant company in the crypto space and its XRP token is currently the 8th largest cryptocurrency. The 61-year-old net worth is $4.3 billion.
6&7. Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss
The Winklevoss Twins both made their fortune through crypto. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss co-founded cryptocurrency exchange Gemini in 2014 and today it processes about $200 million a day in trades.
They reportedly started buying bitcoin in 2012 and have now amassed crypto fortunes of roughly $4 billion apiece. The duo also own digital art auction platform Nifty Gateway, a beneficiary of 2021’s NFT craze. Forbes ours their net worth around $4 billion each.
8. Song Chi-hyung
Song Chi-hyung is founder and chairman of Dunamu, which operates South Korea’s dominant cryptocurrency exchange, Upbit. The exchange reportedly boasts of an average daily trading of $4.7 billion.
In September 2021, Dunamu raised $85 million at a valuation of $8.7 billion. Song is estimated to own about a quarter of Dunamu, which was valued at $17 billion last November. Forbes says his net worth is $3.7 billion.
9. Barry Silbert
Barry Silbert is the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group (DCG), a conglomerate of five cryptocurrency-focused companies. His investment firm controls Grayscale, which manages some $28 billion of crypto assets, as well as CoinDesk, a popular crypto news and events company. Through numerous subsidiaries, Silbert’s DCG has invested in more than 200 crypto startups.
Prior to launching DCG, Silbert, a former investment banker, sold stock trading platform Second Market to Nasdaq in 2015 for an undisclosed amount.
Barry has made quite a fortune from crypto, his net worth is $3.2 billion.
10. Jed McCaleb
McCaleb is one of those early investors in the blockchain space. He helped launch three well-known crypto firms. In 2010 he created Mt. Gox, the first major Bitcoin exchange, which he sold a year later before it was hacked. He co-founded Ripple in 2012, but soon left over reported disagreements with fellow founders. His next venture in 2014 was co-founding Stellar, a Ripple competitor that aims to speed up cross-border payments.
Most of McCaleb’s wealth reportedly comes from the estimated 3.4 billion XRP he still holds, from the original 9 billion XRP he pocketed as a Ripple founder. His estimated net worth is $2.5 billion.