Still hesitant to invest in cryptocurrencies? Meet top crypto billionaires
When cryptocurrency first began with the introduction of bitcoin in 2008, it was an investment platform for the eccentric. The idea of having a decentralized currency seemed bizarre if not impossible. Banks labeled bitcoin as a scam or fad, and its image was tainted due to its nefarious uses on the dark web. Ten years have passed since cryptocurrencies first hit the scene. Since then, the value of bitcoin has risen to astonishing levels, making a few people billionaires in the process. The following is a list of those few who decided to take a gamble that would eventually pay off for them immensely.
The Winklevoss Twins
Many know Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss through their depiction in the popular film The Social Network, in which they develop an idea for a social networking site titled ConnectU. Sounds familiar? The ideas that formed ConnectU would eventually be used by Mark Zuckerberg to build what we all know today as Facebook. The twins eventually sued Zuckerberg and won $65 million.
What many don’t know is that the twins would use $11 million of their settlement to purchase one percent of the total amount of bitcoin in circulation in 2013. At the time, bitcoin was valued at $120 per coin. If the math is correct, that would equal about 91,666 bitcoins. At its highest, one bitcoin was worth $19,783.21. Now multiply that number by 91,666 and you get a sum of money most people only see in their dreams.
Since their first purchase, the Winklevoss twins have gone on to play larger roles in cryptocurrency. In 2015, they launched Gemini, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in use today. Unfortunately, the value of bitcoin is far from its high in 2017, putting the pair below the billion dollar mark, however, no one knows how 2019 will play out for bitcoin, and the Winklevoss Twins could once again become billionaires overnight.
Investor Barry Silbert first heard of bitcoin back in 2011. Given the news surrounding bitcoin at the time he was skeptical, but finally took the plunge buying his first bitcoin for eight dollars the following year. From 2012 forward Silbert continued to heavily invest in bitcoin, acquiring 48,000 bitcoins in an auction held by the U.S. government following seizures of the currency from Silk Road. He has since founded multiple cryptocurrency organizations such as Coindesk, Digital Currency Group, and SecondMarket.
Although most of the people on this list have amassed their fortunes through bitcoin, Chris Larsen gained his through his own cryptocurrency. Larsen is the executive chairman and co-founder of Ripple (XRP) and is considered to be the wealthiest man in cryptocurrency. He is estimated to own about 5.19 billion XRP tokens. At its highest, Ripple tokens were valued at a measly three dollars. That may not seem like much, but take into account the fact that Larsen owns over five billion of them, easily putting him over the multi-billion dollar mark. Although Ripple’s price has fallen over the months, its potential uses have some estimating its value to rise to as much as $20 in 2019.
Without Satoshi Nakamoto, the people on this list would not have been able to build the wealth they have today. This list would not exist without Nakamoto. If you’ve been living in a cave your entire life, and for some reason, this list is the first thing you’ve managed to stumble upon, I’ll explain. Nakamoto is considered by many to be the creator of bitcoin, whose origins are shrouded in mystery. Nonetheless, it is believed that Nakamoto owns an estimated 980,000 bitcoins, placing the net worth well over one billion dollars. The only problem? No one knows who it is.
This list is composed of some of the largest names in cryptocurrencies, but how about ‘average’ traders? For instance, take people like Kristoffer Koch, who mindlessly bought 5,600 bitcoins for $27 because he was writing a thesis on encryption. Koch eventually sold his assets for $680,000, putting him pretty close to the millionaire mark.
This year cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have plunged in value. At the moment, bitcoin is trading around $4,000, not even a fourth of the high it experienced in 2017. What should be noted, however, is that in 2010 the price of bitcoin wasn’t even over a dollar. Markets fluctuate, millionaires become billionaires one day and then revert back the next. 2019 is expected to be a profitable year for cryptocurrencies, maybe even profitable enough to make the people on this list some of the richest in the world.