There are stories all over the internet about people becoming overnight millionaires in the cryptocurrency space. However, the reality is often quite different. Typically, these people held on to a very volatile asset, that nobody cared about for years before acquiring their fortunes.
Due to the sudo-anonymous nature of crypto, the identities of all of these players will never be known. However, there are some very public figures in this space who have come forward about their wealth, and in this article, we're going to highlight five of the most successful cryptocurrency investors across the globe.
The list is far more extensive than this, but these players have also made some very interesting contributions to the crypto sphere as a whole. These investors were not content to just sit back and get rich, they wanted to be actively involved. All of them have taken great strides to increase the presence of cryptocurrencies all over the world, and most of them are still actively pursuing ventures that will lead to increased adoption and usability in the crypto space.
Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss are some of the most famous guys in the space. They were originally turned on to Bitcoin back in 2012 before anyone was really interested in the digital currency. However, to be fair, they didn't exactly go from rags to riches thanks to Bitcoin. They were already pretty well off considering they sued Facebook for $65 million dollars, claiming Zuckerberg had stolen their idea to create Facebook in 2004.
The judge apparently agreed because they won, and that gave them plenty of money to dump into cryptocurrency. The duo claims that at one time or another they have owned over 1% of the total supply of the currency, clocking in at a billion dollars.
They've also pioneered several entrepreneurial efforts for crypto adoption, including BitInstant, a payment processor for Bitcoin. They also acquired a patent for settling exchange-traded assets revolving around alternative currencies such as Ethereum, Doge, and Litecoin. They've been included in the list as one entry, since essentially all of their business and investing has been done as a pair, and not as individuals.
Their patent presents an interesting opportunity for cryptocurrencies to earn additional market attention from those who would not typically participate in such a market. They have actually applied for this before, and have been rejected, however, their persistence has won out.
With the increased interest from institutional investors in blockchain companies, they hope to use this patent to bring futures contract type investments to larger markets with more capital. Whether or not this is actually good for cryptocurrencies as a whole is yet to be decided.
Dan Larimer is partially responsible for at least three different blockchain based platforms. As the driving force behind Social media platform Steemit, decentralized exchange bitshares, and the new darling of the crypto world, EOS, it's safe to say he has some serious experience in the space.
Whether he had traditional cryptocurrency wealth before these projects is unclear, but it's estimated now that his portfolio could be worth 600-700 million dollars. Depending on how much EOS he has retained for himself, that number could soon be much, much bigger.
Larimer was the first to pioneer the delegated proof of stake protocol, which all of these platforms are built upon. His initial test projects, Steemit and BitShares helped to establish a proof of concept for what would become the groundwork of EOS. This new project is a massively scalable platform for dapps, which could rival Ethereum.
While the platform has not yet launched its main net, it's perceived ability to process 20-50,000 transactions per second will leave its predecessor in the dust. When the project does finally come together, it's likely that Dan's holdings will be worth far more than what they are now. EOS is his biggest success yet, with a market cap exceeding 10 billion dollars.
All three of these projects remain in development, with no signs of slowing. While EOS is currently the new bouncing baby, big brothers Steemit and Bitshares are also increasing their market penetration. As more and more people search for ways to start earning their own online digital currency, it's likely that Steemit will also see some additional growth thanks to its ease of use.
While Chris has stepped down as the CEO of Ripple, he still made a fortune while he was there. It's estimated that his cryptocurrency earnings are worth somewhere in the ballpark of 8 billion dollars. The bulk of this coming from holdings of Ripple, where he holds 5.2 billion coins.
This is actually not his first foray into internet-based financial markets. He was also behind lending giants eloan and Prosper. However, after leaving these companies behind, he founded Open Coin, the company behind the Ripple payment processing network, and his first journey into crypto assets.
While Ripple is often viewed as the anti-cryptocurrency, Larsen himself is actually quite fond of many of the ideals which they offer. He's a fierce advocate for financial privacy, going as far as to create a coalition in California under the name of Californians For Privacy Now.
In 2001, after a bill that would require that consumers be allowed to Opt-in before businesses could sell their private information failed, he organized this coalition, which collected over 600,000 signatures in support of the bill. The public backlash caused by his efforts forced corporations who opposed the bill to withdraw their claims, allowing it to pass.
After making more money than anyone would know what to do with, he has stepped down from the company, citing a desire to spend more time with his family. Ripple will continue under the leadership of Brad Garlinghouse, formerly of Yahoo, AOL, and Hightail.
The CEO of Binanace may seem like an overnight success, but he has actually been actively involved in the cryptocurrency scene for some time. In fact, he's so dedicated to digital currencies, that he actually sold his house upon learned about Bitcoin way back in 2014, so he could go all in on alternative currencies. After which, he spent some time bouncing around to different blockchain projects such as blockchain.info and OKcoin.
For some time he had been considering launching a platform similar to Binance, which would not cater to fiat currencies, making it free from the regulation headaches that other competing platforms suffered. Once the ICO boom started running, he decided to capitalize on it by making his dreams a reality.
Binance raised over 15 million dollars during their crowd sale, and in less than a year, the price of their asset rocketed from 10 cents each to $13. Thanks to this boom, his cryptocurrency portfolio is estimated at a cool 1-2 billion dollars. This number is likely to only grow.
Cryptocurrency enthusiasts are enamored with the speed, security and great customer service that his company offers, and achieving a Binance listing is an event worthy of much celebration for the coins or tokens lucky enough to get picked up by his team, who base their decision on their perceived quality of the asset.
Zhao's career started in a more traditional finance setting, as most blockchain entrepreneurs in his niche did. He actually founded Fusion Systems, which produced a fast and high-frequency trading platform for stock brokers.
No doubt he took this idea with him when he went on to found Binance, which is renowned for being one of the fastest trading platforms for crypto. This experience gave him the proper knowledge and resources to launch BnB into the stratosphere and to secure his fortune.
This longtime blockchain fan has his hands in every type of project imaginable, and thanks to that he's made a fortune in the space, to the tune of somewhere around a billion dollars. He was the co-founder of Ethereum and the popular mobile cryptocurrency wallet Jaxx. In addition to that, he's also invested a large amount of his money in high profile blockchain projects such as Qtum, Vechain, and Zcash.
He claims that when he first heard of Bitcoin, that he immediately understood the need for a more libertarian form of money. As early as 2012, he began trying to find ways to become involved in the crypto community, starting up a local meet up group for these new digital currencies.
This is how he met Vitalik Buterin, the other founder of Ethereum, and they began collaborating on a project of their own. He used some seed money that he had leftover from another entrepreneurial venture to help fund the project, arguably the best move ever.
He has however worked on several other more low key blockchain based projects including ATMs, a cryptocurrency based game called Satoshi's circle, the Kryptokit wallet, organized various Bitcoin expos, and also formed a consulting company in order to advise banks and financial institutions on how to integrate blockchain technology into their own ecosystems.