5 of the World’s Top Bitcoin Millionaires

5 of the World’s Top Bitcoin Millionaires
5 of the World’s Top Bitcoin Millionaires

Bitcoin is a digital asset and payment system with a market capitalization of around $747.34 billion as of April 12, 2022.
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It is considered by many to be one of the most successful digital currencies ever created. The first-ever bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) was launched in October 2021, pushing the cryptocurrency to new all-time highs.
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Bitcoin’s stratospheric rise since 2009 has created a surprising and diverse set of millionaires. These millionaires have made money by creating products to grow Bitcoin’s still-nascent ecosystem. For example, some have created exchanges for trading the cryptocurrency and its derivatives. Others have used it to create financial products and tokens that have minted millions. Their products and services have benefited from a surge in popularity and price for Bitcoin.
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Of course, Bitcoin was—and still is—a risky asset class. The absence of regulatory guardrails and the cryptocurrency’s price volatility have attracted criminals and investors alike.
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But those drawbacks only serve to highlight the achievements of Bitcoin millionaires because they not only were early adopters but also predicted its economic opportunity.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
Launched in 2009, Bitcoin is the first and remains the most successful blockchain-based cryptocurrency in the world.
The price of Bitcoin is volatile, ranging from under $10 in 2010 to $40,323 on April 12, 2022.
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Most top Bitcoin billionaires became rich by creating products and services to grow the cryptocurrency’s ecosystem.
This overall price increase has also created Bitcoin billionaires. These are the early adopters who recognized a lucrative opportunity, started accumulating or mining in the early days, and held on.Changpeng Zhao (CZ)
Changpeng Zhao is the founder of Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. According to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, Zhao’s net worth was $96 billion in January 2022.
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The publication writes that Zhao’s fortune could be “significantly higher” because their estimate does not take into account his personal crypto wealth, which includes his holdings of Bitcoin and Binance Coin, the cryptocurrency used for transactions at Binance. In April 2021, Forbes estimated Zhao’s net worth to be $1.6 billion.
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Zhao, who immigrated to Canada at the age of 13 from China, came to Bitcoin via a poker game with friends. He went all-in on cryptocurrencies thereafter and even sold his apartment for Bitcoin in 2014.
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Binance, which was started in 2017, handles transactions that run into billions of dollars on a daily basis. While it may not be as well-known as Coinbase to U.S. customers, Binance is bigger and offers more coins and derivatives to customers than its competitor. Bloomberg reports that it generated $20 billion in revenues in 2021.

The exchange’s nimble ascent has taken a toll on its regulatory standing. It is under regulatory scrutiny in major financial jurisdictions and has been forced to operate without a headquarters. Zhao told Bloomberg that he welcomes crypto regulation. As far as wealth is concerned, he remains unfazed by his billionaire status. “I don’t care about wealth, money, rankings,” he told Bloomberg, adding that he is prepared to give away most of his wealth before he dies.5

 

Sam Bankman-Fried

Sam Bankman-Fried’s ascent to crypto billionaire status has been fairly rapid. The MIT grad founded FTX, one of the world’s most popular crypto exchanges, in 2019, and he was estimated to be worth $26.5 billion in October 2021 by Forbes.8 FTX differentiates itself from competition by offering a slate of innovative products unavailable at other exchanges. This mix includes sophisticated derivatives, digital tokens of physical stock, and pre-initial public offering (IPO) contracts.

Bankman-Fried generated headlines when he made a donation of more than $5 million to current U.S. President Joe Biden’s campaign in 2020. He is a California native and vegan who calls himself an effective altruist—someone who maximizes his social impact across a broad range of societal initiatives.9

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss parlayed the millions that they earned from their lawsuit against Facebook into cryptocurrencies. They became the first billionaires in the crypto ecosystem after the late 2017 surge in Bitcoin prices. Forbes estimates their net worth at $5 billion each.1011

While most of their estimated wealth comes from investments in cryptocurrencies, the Winklevoss twins are also entrepreneurs who started the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange. The exchange was valued at $7.1 billion after its $400 million fundraising in November 2021.12 They also own Nifty Gateway, a platform to buy and sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs).13

The exchange’s nimble ascent has taken a toll on its regulatory standing. It is under regulatory scrutiny in major financial jurisdictions and has been forced to operate without a headquarters. Zhao told Bloomberg that he welcomes crypto regulation. As far as wealth is concerned, he remains unfazed by his billionaire status. “I don’t care about wealth, money, rankings,” he told Bloomberg, adding that he is prepared to give away most of his wealth before he dies.5

 

Sam Bankman-Fried

Sam Bankman-Fried’s ascent to crypto billionaire status has been fairly rapid. The MIT grad founded FTX, one of the world’s most popular crypto exchanges, in 2019, and he was estimated to be worth $26.5 billion in October 2021 by Forbes.8 FTX differentiates itself from competition by offering a slate of innovative products unavailable at other exchanges. This mix includes sophisticated derivatives, digital tokens of physical stock, and pre-initial public offering (IPO) contracts.

Bankman-Fried generated headlines when he made a donation of more than $5 million to current U.S. President Joe Biden’s campaign in 2020. He is a California native and vegan who calls himself an effective altruist—someone who maximizes his social impact across a broad range of societal initiatives.9

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss parlayed the millions that they earned from their lawsuit against Facebook into cryptocurrencies. They became the first billionaires in the crypto ecosystem after the late 2017 surge in Bitcoin prices. Forbes estimates their net worth at $5 billion each.1011

While most of their estimated wealth comes from investments in cryptocurrencies, the Winklevoss twins are also entrepreneurs who started the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange. The exchange was valued at $7.1 billion after its $400 million fundraising in November 2021.12 They also own Nifty Gateway, a platform to buy and sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs).13

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