These 19 billionaires have made their riches in the world of cryptocurrency.
t’s been a wild twelve months for the world of cryptocurrencies, from the Elon Musk-fueled ascent of Dogecoin, to Web3 innovations and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), to the wild swings in Bitcoin and other crypto tokens.
Amid all the action, there’s also no shortage of money to be made in the $2 trillion crypto economy. Just ask the record 19 billionaires—7 more than last year—on Forbes’ annual World’s Billionaires list, published Tuesday, who made their money from cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
Newcomers to the list include the founders of Web3 infrastructure company Alchemy and the founders of OpenSea, a marketplace for nonfungible tokens. The three richest on the list–Changpeng Zhao, Sam Bankman-Fried and Brian Armstrong–all helm cryptocurrency exchanges.
Meet the eccentric personalities and successful companies of crypto’s billionaire club.
Net worths are as of March 11, 2022.
Net worth: $65 billion
Source of wealth: Binance
Crypto’s richest person, Binance founder and CEO “CZ” is the 19th richest person in the world. Forbes estimates that he owns at least 70% of Binance, the leading global platform for crypto trading. Last year, the company reportedly facilitated about two-thirds of all trading volume handled by centralized changes, generating estimated revenue north of $16 billion. Based on those estimates, Forbes has raised its evaluation of CZ’s wealth from $1.9 billion last year. The 44-year-old also holds a small chunk of Bitcoin and an undisclosed amount of BNB, Binance’s native token. Binance plans to make a major investment in the parent company that will own Forbes following Forbes’ previously-announced public listing transaction.
Net worth: $24 billion
Source of wealth: FTX
The 30-year-old moved from Hong Kong to the more crypto-friendly Bahamas in late 2021 alongside his exchange FTX, which raised $400 million in January at a $32 billion valuation. The startup’s backers include crypto VC shop Paradigm (headed by Coinbase founder Fred Ehrsam, another crypto billionaire), venture capital firm Sequoia, buyout firm Thoma Bravo and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board. FTX’s U.S. operations were also recently valued by investors, at $8 billion. A professed adherent of effective altruism–the utilitarian-inflected notion of doing the most good possible–Bankman-Fried has vowed to give away his entire fortune over his lifetime. He owns around half of FTX and more than $7 billion worth of FTT, the platform’s native token.
Net worth: $6.6 billion
Source of wealth: Coinbase
The CEO and founder of Coinbase took the crypto exchange public through a direct listing in April 2021 at a stunning $100 billion valuation. Its market capitalization is about half that today, still good enough to make Armstrong–with his 19% stake–the third wealthiest person in crypto. A recognizable figure for his plain T-shirts and bald pate, Armstrong raised eyebrows in 2020 after demanding his employees to refrain from political discussion at work. In January, the 39-year-old dropped $133 million on a Bel-Air mansion, one of the city’s priciest home transactions to date. More recently, Armstrong has been advocating against the EU Parliament’s proposed crypto legislation.
Net worth: $5.9 billion
Source of wealth: FTX
The cofounder and chief technology officer of FTX, the press-shy Wang launched the crypto exchange with Bankman-Fried in 2019. Wang holds a 16% stake in FTX’s global business and over $600 million worth FTT, the native token of FTX. Before going into crypto, Wang was a software engineer at Google, where he helped build online booking platform Google Flights. He studied math and computer science at MIT.
Net worth: $4.3 billion
Source of wealth: Ripple
The cofounder and executive chairman of blockchain company Ripple, whose XRP token is currently the 8th largest cryptocurrency, Larsen has kept busy fighting against a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit–first filed in December 2020–that alleges Ripple’s initial coin offering was an unlawful offer and sale of unregistered securities. Still winding its way through federal courts, the case is perceived by many crypto watchers as a landmark one for future token sales. Larsen and Ripple have denied wrongdoing. Separate from his legal challenges, the 61-year-old Larsen has partnered with climate groups to launch a campaign–“Change the Code, Not the Climate”–to pressure the Bitcoin community to reduce the digital asset’s heavy carbon footprint.
Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss
Net worth: $4 billion each
Source of wealth: Bitcoin
The twin brothers–best known as Mark Zuckerberg’s college nemeses (as immortalized in Hollywood film The Social Network)–have turned their $65 million settlement with Zuck into digital gold, amassing crypto fortunes of roughly $4 billion apiece. The siblings, who began buying bitcoin in 2012, have since diversified their digital assets portfolios, acquiring other cryptocurrencies and launching crypto exchange Gemini. The duo also own digital art auction platform Nifty Gateway, a beneficiary of last year’s NFT craze (and the target of a lawsuit filed by art collector Amir Soleymani in October 2021, who accused the platform of changing its terms of sale; Nifty Gateway alleges Soleymani owes them $650,000).
Net worth: $3.7 billion
Source of wealth: Upbit
Citizenship: South Korea
The founder of South Korea’s leading crypto exchange, Upbit, Chi-hyung has cashed in on South Korea’s booming, $46 billion crypto market. He’s estimated to own about a quarter of Upbit’s parent company, Dunamu, which was valued at $17 billion last November when Hybe, the agency behind K-pop sensation BTS, bought a 2.5% stake. Qualcomm, the U.S. semiconductor giant, previously held 6% of Dunamu.
Net worth: $3.2 billion
Source of wealth: Digital Currency Group
The founder of investment group Digital Currency Group, Silbert has built a diversified crypto conglomerate. 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 crypto, Silbert was an investment banker and entrepreneur who sold stock trading platform Second Market to Nasdaq in 2015 for an undisclosed amount.
Net worth: $2.5 billion
Source of wealth: Ripple, Stellar
McCaleb made most of his fortune from Ripple Labs and XRP, the payments-focused cryptocurrency project he cofounded in 2012; McCaleb left the project in 2013 after a falling out with Larsen and other team members. Since then, McCaleb has sold much of his XRP in periodic increments, adhering to a 2014 separation agreement he struck with Ripple Labs. He’s the founder and chief technology officer of cryptocurrency Stellar.
Nikil Viswanathan and Joseph Lau
Net worth: $2.4 billion each
Source of wealth: Alchemy
Citizenship: U.S. (both)
The cofounders of blockchain decacorn Alchemy, Viswanathan and Lau first met in 2011 at Stanford while serving as TAs for a computer science class; they have since built over 10 products together. Their first hit, meetup app Down To Lunch, was briefly the Apple App Store’s top social networking app in April 2016. After discovering crypto, the duo started Alchemy in 2017 as a toolkit for blockchain entrepreneurs and developers. Today, Alchemy is a leading development platform for Web3 applications, including NFT powerhouse OpenSea and decentralized exchange Kyber. In February, the company raised $200 million at a $10.2 billion valuation, less than four months after it was valued at $3.5 billion in a fundraising round.
Devin Finzer and Alex Atallah
Net worth: $2.2 billion
Source of wealth: OpenSea
Citizenship: U.S. (both)
The 30-somethings cofounded blockchain startup OpenSea, an early player in the booming NFT market. OpenSea serves as a peer-to-peer platform for users to create, buy and sell non-fungible tokens. In 2018, the duo entered the Y Combinator accelerator program with the idea of paying people in crypto to share their Wi-Fi hotspots. After discovering CryptoKitties–the Ethereum-run collectibles which attracted a cult-like following–they pivoted to the idea of a marketplace for nascent NFTs, which exploded in popularity last year. OpenSea raised capital in January at a $13.3 billion valuation—up from $1.5 billion just six months earlier. Finzer and Atallah each hold an estimated 18.5% stake in the company.
Net worth: $2.1 billion
Source of wealth: Coinbase
A cofounder of Coinbase, Ehrsam now runs Paradigm, which invests mainly in crypto companies and new tokens. In January, Paradigm invested in Citadel Securities, one of the largest market-makers in U.S. equity trading markets. The 34-year-old Ehrsam left Coinbase in 2017 but remains on the board and still holds a 6% stake in the company. Before discovering crypto, Ehrsam worked as a foreign exchange trader at Goldman Sachs. The young mogul partly credits his crypto success to being a “hardcore gamer” in highschool.
Net worth: $1.9 billion
Source of wealth: Upbit
Citizenship: South Korea
The executive vice president of South Korea’s Dunamu, Hyoung-nyon owns an estimated 13% of South Korea’s leading crypto exchange, which he cofounded a decade ago with fellow crypto billionaire Song Chi-hyung.
Net worth: $1.6 billion
Source of wealth: MicroStrategy
Saylor has turned MicroStrategy, the business software company he cofounded in 1989, into a Bitcoin proxy. In 2020 alone, the crypto enthusiast oversaw MicroStrategy’s purchase of over 70,000 bitcoins–at a cost of roughly $1.1 billion–using cash reserves and borrowed funds. The bet has paid off as Bitcoin’s value has soared. MicroStrategy’s stock has quadrupled the last two years, returning Saylor to the three-comma-club. (A dot-com era billionaire, the 57-year-old Saylor saw his fortune plummet during the dot-com crash and in the wake of an accounting scandal.) Ever hungry for bitcoin, Saylor’s MicroStrategy announced in late March that it took on a $205 million loan to buy more of the leading cryptocurrency.
Net worth: $1.4 billion
Source of wealth: Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies
Roszak began buying bitcoin in 2012 and participated in early initial coin offerings, buying up tokens such as Mastercoin, Factom and Maidsafe in 2013. Roszak has also invested in various crypto startups, including popular exchanges Coinbase and Kraken. Prior to crypto, Roszak worked as a venture capitalist at firms like SilkRoad Equity (where he settled SEC charges of insider trading) and in private equity for Advent International in the United Kingdom. A true believer, Roszak recently co-led an initiative to give every member of Congress $50 worth of digital assets and says he gave Richard Branson and Bill Clinton their first bitcoins.
Net worth: $1.2 billion
Source of wealth: Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies
A venture capitalist by trade, Draper first invested in Bitcoin in 2012. Two years later, in 2014, he bought 29,656 bitcoins for $18.7 million–or just $632 per coin–from the U.S. Marshals, in an auction of tokens it had confiscated from the Silk Road, the infamous online market for illicit goods and services. Earlier this year, Draper told Forbes he believes Bitcoin would hit $250,000 by the end of 2022; it currently trades under $50,000.
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The Richest Crypto And Blockchain Billionaires In The World 2022? ›
1. Changpeng Zhao (CZ) – Founder of Binance, Changpeng Zhao (CZ) is one of the richest crypto billionaires in the world. Zhao's net worth is estimated at $1.9 billion. 2.Who is the richest person in cryptocurrency 2022? ›
1. Changpeng Zhao (CZ) – Founder of Binance, Changpeng Zhao (CZ) is one of the richest crypto billionaires in the world. Zhao's net worth is estimated at $1.9 billion. 2.Who is the largest Bitcoin holder 2022? ›
|Company||Total BTC Held|
|Galaxy Digital Holdings||16,400|
|Voyager Digital LTD||12,260|
|Billionaire (source of wealth)||Net worth in billion U.S. dollars|
|Changpeng Zhao (Binance)||65|
|Sam Bankman-Fried (FTX)||24|
|Brian Armstrong (Coinbase)||6.6|
|Gary Wang (FTX)||5.9|
Its billionaire promoters have lost a combined $110 billion in the last year, according to Forbes' 2023 World's Billionaires List, an annual compilation of ten-figure fortunes. Last year Forbes identified 19 crypto billionaires, the most ever, who were worth a collective $140 billion.Who is the crypto trillionaire? ›
Well, that's exactly what happened to one man who spent just $20 (£17.50) on cryptocurrency to wake up and discover he was the richest man on the planet. Last year, Chris Williamson from Georgia invested a small sum of money that led him to have a newfound trillionaire status.Who is the richest crypto millionaire? ›
- Changpeng Zhao (CZ)
- Song Chi-hyung.
- Brian Armstrong.
- Jed McCaleb.
- Chris Larsen.
- Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.
- Michael Saylor.
- Wealthiest Crypto Holder FAQs.
The U.S. government currently holds 205,515 bitcoins valued at $5.66 billion based on today's exchange rates. The bitcoins were confiscated in three cases, including the Silk Road bitcoin seizure in November 2020, the 2022 Bitfinex hack confiscation, and the seizure of bitcoins from James Zhong last year.Which government owns the most Bitcoin? ›
The USA has had the highest amount of BTC over time, which it got through various methods. Let's take a look at how different governments come into possession of BTC.How many crypto billionaires exist? ›
These 19 billionaires have made their riches in the world of cryptocurrency. t's been a wild twelve months for the world of cryptocurrencies, from the Elon Musk-fueled ascent of Dogecoin, to Web3 innovations and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), to the wild swings in Bitcoin and other crypto tokens.
Who is the richest Bitcoin owner who died? ›
Bitcoin billionaire Mircea Popescu, who's thought to have owned $1 billion (roughly Rs. 7,428 crore) worth of the world's biggest cryptocurrency, has reportedly died in Costa Rica. The 41-year-old, also referred to as a Bitcoin evangelist by many, leaves a controversial legacy behind.How many crypto millionaires exist? ›
Notwithstanding the difficulty of confirming this number precisely, our research indicates that there are at least 32,500 individuals who have achieved millionaire status through their cryptocurrency holdings at current market value.Which cryptocurrency lost $200 billion in just 24 hours? ›
(Bloomberg) -- A massive sell-off in cryptocurrencies wiped over $200 billion of wealth from the market in just 24 hours, according to estimates from price-tracking website CoinMarketCap. The broad plunge in the crypto complex, driven by the collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin, hit major tokens hard.What crypto was the $8 billion dollar loss? ›
The collapse of the crypto exchange FTX seemed to materialize out of nowhere: Within one week in November, FTX transformed from one of the most respected and trusted parts of the crypto industry to a bankrupt disgrace that lost more than $8 billion of its customers' money, according to authorities.Which crypto billionaire lost everything? ›
FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried saw nearly 94% of his personal wealth wiped out in a single day. FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried lost his billionaire status overnight as his personal wealth plummeted nearly 94 percent to $991.5 million in a single day.Who is the biggest crypto owner? ›
The largest holder of Bitcoin is believed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous founder of Bitcoin. Nakamoto is estimated to own approximately 1,000,000 BTC, worth around $27.13 billion.Who is the biggest crypto holder in the world? ›
According to most common estimates, it is Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator of BTC, who has the largest Bitcoin holdings in the world.Who was the first cryptocurrency billionaire? ›
Name: Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. Also known as: The Winklevii.Who is the king of cryptocurrency? ›
Sam Bankman-Fried became an official billionaire in 2021, thanks to his secondary and more high-profile business, FTX. The crypto exchange grew to be the second largest in the world and a titan of the industry, seeing $10-$15bn traded a day.Can 1 Bitcoin make you a millionaire? ›
According to Kemper's formula,a person needs to own a total of 0.06624605 BTC in order to guarantee wealth worth$1 million.
Who are the three crypto billionaires who died? ›
The three notable crypto luminaries who died within a few weeks of one another were Nikolai Mushegian, 29, Tiantian Kullander, 30, and Vyacheslav Taran, 53. Crypto has been in the headlines due to the fall of FTX, which has increased the amount of attention given to crypto-cyber news.Who can overtake Ethereum? ›
Ethereum has been the number one NFT platform for years, but Solana could overtake it.How many Ethereum are left? ›
How many Ethereum are there? The current circulating supply of Ethereum is 120.27M. This is the total amount of ETH that is available.How many people own 32 Ethereum? ›
Currently, there are 116,351 #Ethereum addresses that hold 32 $ETH or more – up almost 14% within the last year.How much Bitcoin does the FBI have? ›
The FBI now controls more than 144,000 bitcoins that reside at a bitcoin address that consolidates much of the seized Silk Road bitcoins. Those 144,000 bitcoins are worth close to $100 million at Tuesday's exchange rates.Is Bitcoin taxed by the government? ›
The IRS classifies cryptocurrency as property or a digital asset. Any time you sell or exchange crypto, it's a taxable event. This includes using crypto used to pay for goods or services. In most cases, the IRS taxes cryptocurrencies as an asset and subjects them to long-term or short-term capital gains taxes.Could a government take over Bitcoin? ›
A warrant is not the only way for a law enforcement agency to seize bitcoin held by another individual or entity. Bitcoin can also be taken by the government through a process called forfeiture.
We know that Nakamoto created Bitcoin. This fact is based on the famous Bitcoin white paper, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” published online in October 2008. Nakamoto was the author of the white paper, laying out the theory and operating structure of the Bitcoin payment system.Who has the biggest Bitcoin wallet? ›
It is estimated that Satoshi mined more than 22,000 blocks starting from January 3rd 2009, and received more than one million bitcoin in cumulative block rewards for his work. As a result, Satoshi is estimated to hold the largest bitcoin cache, more than 1 million BTC, valued at approximately $23 billion today.Who runs behind Bitcoin? ›
Satoshi Nakamoto (born 5 April 1975) is the name used by the presumed pseudonymous person or persons who developed bitcoin, authored the bitcoin white paper, and created and deployed bitcoin's original reference implementation.
What happened to the guy who sold everything for Bitcoin? ›
He also sold his car, motorcycle, his daughters' toys, and even some household items. Now, he spends his time traveling the world, taking pictures of himself wearing Bitcoin clothing, and offering consulting services.How do I become a crypto millionaire? ›
- You need to invest in cryptocurrencies regularly for years to come. ...
- Your funds must be high enough. ...
- You have to take your investment very thoughtfully so that you buy and sell at the right times.
The death of four crypto billionaires within a month has caught the crypto community's attention. The deaths occurred under suspicious circumstances, and some of these billionaires had even raised alarms about being in danger. 4 crypto billionaires dead in the span of a month. Just before, and during the FTX collapse.Who stole millions in bitcoin? ›
According to Elliptic, which conducted the analysis on behalf of the Japanese newspaper, North Korea has stolen a total of $2.3 billion in cryptocurrency from businesses between 2017 and 2022.Who is the boy who became rich with Bitcoin? ›
ERIK Finman became the youngest Bitcoin millionaire at 18 after investing in the cryptocurrency aged 12 - but his teacher told him he'd never amount to anything. The Bitcoin mogul was told to "drop out" of high school and work at McDonald's because he'd "never amount to anything more in life".Who is the richest youngest Bitcoin? ›
30-year-old crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried reveals how he made his billions.Can you become a millionaire off crypto? ›
There's no denying that some cryptocurrency traders have become millionaires thanks to their successful investments. What's not as often discussed is the great number of people who have lost significant sums trying to become rich by investing in crypto.Where do crypto millionaires move to? ›
Bitcoin millionaires are moving to Puerto Rico for lower taxes and island living.What is the biggest moving cryptocurrency? ›
Tom Brady owns more than 1 million shares in FTX that are practically worthless after the crypto exchange collapsed—and Gisele isn't too far behind. Billionaire New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and star NFL quarterback Tom Brady are among those sharing in the pain of FTX Group's sudden implosion.
What was the biggest crypto crash coin? ›
|FTT (FTX token)||November 2022||$22|
The obvious choice from the market point would be Ethereum (ETH) also known as Ether. With the current market cap of $211 billion it looks like a clear favor. It is also the second most popular crypto with a solid tech and massive network of ERC-20 tokens.What cryptocurrency are billionaires buying? ›
Bitcoin has always been the go-to crypto for the rich. Ethereum is catching on with the wealthy based on its perceived utility and ability to create value through smart contracts. Meme coins are drawing attention because of their potential for rapid price increases.Which crypto dude loses $16 billion? ›
Based on net worth calculations by Bloomberg, Bankman-Fried was worth about $16 billion at the start of the week. But as his crypto exchange, FTX, collapsed, the value of his assets was reduced to zero in what Bloomberg called “one of history's greatest-ever destructions of wealth.”Who stole billions in crypto? ›
North Korean hackers have stolen the equivalent of billions of dollars in recent years by raiding cryptocurrency exchanges, according to the United Nations.Who is the 29 year old billionaire crypto trader? ›
FTX cofounder Sam Bankman-Fried has amassed $22.5 billion before turning 30 by profiting off the cryptocurrency boom – but he's not a true believer. He just wants his wealth to survive long enough to give it all away.How many Bitcoin millionaires are there 2022? ›
At the start of last year, the number of millionaire addresses stood at 99,092. Elsewhere, in January 2022, the number of addresses holding $1 million worth of Bitcoin stood at 90,902 to record, a year-over-year (YoY) drop of 73.33% to 24,208 in the first month of 2023.How many millionaires hold crypto? ›
Notwithstanding the difficulty of confirming this number precisely, our research indicates that there are at least 32,500 individuals who have achieved millionaire status through their cryptocurrency holdings at current market value.Who are the three crypto owners who died? ›
The three notable crypto luminaries who died within a few weeks of one another were Nikolai Mushegian, 29, Tiantian Kullander, 30, and Vyacheslav Taran, 53. Crypto has been in the headlines due to the fall of FTX, which has increased the amount of attention given to crypto-cyber news.Who actually owns the most Bitcoin? ›
The largest holder of Bitcoin is believed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous founder of Bitcoin. Nakamoto is estimated to own approximately 1,000,000 BTC, worth around $27.13 billion.
Who is the youngest millionaire in bitcoin? ›
About. Erik Finman is a 24-year old who became the Youngest Bitcoin Millionaire in The World at age 18, from Bitcoin investments begun at age 12 in 2011. Erik used the return to launch an EdTech startup that was later acquired.Who was the first trillionaire crypto? ›
Now the comments about the 30-year-old aren't so kind. NEW YORK — Sam Bankman-Fried received numerous plaudits as he rapidly achieved superstar status as the head of cryptocurrency exchange FTX: the savior of crypto, the newest force in Democratic politics and potentially the world's first trillionaire.Which billionaire puts 50 in Bitcoin? ›
The billionaire investor now holds 50% of his net worth in Bitcoin and related investments in major industry firms like Michael Saylor's MicroStrategy and BTC mining firm Stronghold Digital Mining. An early Amazon investor, Miller owns almost 100% of the rest of his portfolio in Amazon, he noted.How many billionaires has crypto created? ›
These 19 billionaires have made their riches in the world of cryptocurrency. t's been a wild twelve months for the world of cryptocurrencies, from the Elon Musk-fueled ascent of Dogecoin, to Web3 innovations and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), to the wild swings in Bitcoin and other crypto tokens.Who are the billionaires because of Bitcoin? ›
The cryptocurrency craze turned Changpeng Zhao, Sam Bankman-Fried, Mike Novogratz and a handful of other digital-asset evangelists into billionaires several times over.Who is the largest holder of crypto? ›
Who owns the most bitcoin: Meet the whales. According to bitcoin-focused asset manager River Financial, Satoshi Nakamoto is estimated to be the biggest bitcoin holder in possession of more than one million BTC stored in roughly 22,000 addresses.