1. Chang Peng Zhao.
Wealth: $65 billion (€59.76 billion).
Source of wealth: Binance
The richest man in Crypto, the founder and CEO of Binance “CZ” ranks 19th among the richest people in the world. Forbes estimates that he owns at least 70% of Binance, the world’s leading cryptocurrency trading platform. The company reportedly accounted for about two-thirds of all trading volume handled by centralized exchanges last year, generating an estimated revenue of more than $16 billion. Based on these estimates, Forbes raised CZ’s wealth estimate by $1.9 billion (€1.75 billion) from last year. The 44-year-old also owns a small bitcoin stake and an undisclosed amount of BNB, Binance’s own token. Binance plans to make a major investment in the parent company that will own Forbes, following Forbes’ previously announced public listing deal.
2. Sam Bankman-Fried.
Wealth: $24 billion (€22.07 billion).
Source of wealth: FTX
The 30-year-old man moved from Hong Kong to the Bahamas (a more cryptocurrency-friendly country) in late 2021 with his exchange FTX, which raised $400 million (€367.76 million) in January and has a valuation of $32 billion (€29.42 billion). The startup’s backers include crypto VC Paradigm (led by Coinbase founder Fred Ersam, another cryptocurrency billionaire), venture capital firm Sequoia, buyout firm Thoma Bravo and the Ontario Masters retirement plan board. FTX’s U.S. operations were also recently valued by investors at $8 billion (€7.36 billion). A self-confessed proponent of effective altruism, the idea of utilitarian influence to do as much good as possible, Bankman-Fried vowed to give away his entire fortune in his lifetime. He owns about half of FTX and more than $7 billion (€6.44 billion) in FTT, the platform’s native token.
3. Brian Armstrong.
Wealth: $6.6 billion.
Source of wealth: Coinbase
The CEO and founder of Coinbase brought the cryptocurrency exchange through a direct listing in April 2021 with an impressive valuation of $100 billion (€91.94 million). His market capitalization is roughly half of the current one, enough to make Armstrong, with his 19% stake, the third richest man in cryptocurrency. A figure recognizable by his simple T-shirt and bald head, Armstrong gained attention in 2020 after demanding that his employees refrain from political discussions at work . In January, the 39-year-old man spent $133 million (€122.28 million) on the Bel-Air mansion, one of the most expensive housing deals in the city today. Most recently, Armstrong opposed cryptocurrency legislation proposed by the EU Parliament.
4. Gary Wang.
Wealth: $5.9 billion (5.42 billion euros)
Source of wealth: FTX
FTX co-founder and CTO Wang, avoiding the press, launched a cryptocurrency exchange with Bankman-Fried in 2019. Wang owns 16% of FTX’s global business and more than $600 million (€551.63 million) in FTT. native token FTX. Before getting into cryptocurrency, Wang was a software engineer at Google, where he helped create the online booking platform Google Flights. He studied math and computer science at MIT.
5. Chris Larsen.
Wealth: $4.3 billion (€3.95 billion).
Source of wealth: Ripple
The co-founder and CEO of blockchain company Ripple, whose XRP token is now the eighth-largest cryptocurrency, has been busy fighting a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit, first filed in December 2020, alleging that the initial offering of Ripple coins was illegal. and selling unregistered securities. The case is still pending in the federal courts, and many cryptocurrency observers see it as a milestone for future token sales. Larsen and Ripple deny any wrongdoing. In addition to his legal challenges, Larsen, 61, worked with climate groups to launch the “Change the Code, Not the Climate” campaign to pressure the Bitcoin community to reduce the digital asset’s large carbon footprint.
6. Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss
Wealth: $4 billion (€3.68 billion) each
Source of wealth: Bitcoin
Country: United States
The twin brothers, best known as Mark Zuckerberg’s enemies in college (immortalized in the movie “The Social Network”), have turned their $65 million deal with Zuckerberg into digital gold, amassing a crypto-wealth of approximately $4 billion (3.68 billion euros) each. The brothers, who began buying bitcoins in 2012, have since diversified their digital asset portfolios by buying other cryptocurrencies and launching the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange. The duo also owns digital art auction platform Nifty Gateway, the beneficiary of last year’s NFT craze (and the subject of a lawsuit filed by art collector Amir Soleimani in October 2021, who accused the platform of altering the terms of sale; Nifty Gateway claims that Soleimani owes them $650,000 (€597,603-).
7. Son Ji-hyun.
Wealth: $3.7 billion (€3.4 billion).
Source of wealth: Upbit.
Country: South Korea
The founder of Upbit, South Korea’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, Ji-hyun has made $46 billion (€42.291 million) from South Korea’s booming cryptocurrency market. He is 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, -pop BTS, bought a 2.5 percent stake. Qualcomm, the U.S. semiconductor giant, previously owned 6 percent of Dunamu.
8. Barry Silbert.
Wealth: $3.2 billion (€2.94 billion).
Source of wealth: Digital Currency Group.
Country: United States
Silbert, founder of the Digital Currency Group investment group, has created a diversified cryptocurrency conglomerate. His investment firm controls Grayscale, which manages about $28 billion (€25,742.92 million) in cryptocurrency assets, and CoinDesk, a popular cryptocurrency news and events company. Through numerous subsidiaries, DCG de Silbert has invested in more than 200 cryptocurrency startups. Prior to cryptocurrency, Silbert was an investment banker and entrepreneur who sold the Second Market trading platform to Nasdaq in 2015 for an undisclosed sum.
9. Jed McCaleb.
Wealth: $2.5 billion (€2.3 billion)
Source of wealth: Ripple, Stellar
Country: United States
McCaleb made most of his fortune from Ripple Labs and XRP, a cryptocurrency project focused on payments that he co-founded in 2012 . McCaleb left the project in 2013 after a falling out with Larsen and other team members. Since then, McCaleb has periodically sold most of his XRP, adhering to a separation agreement he signed with Ripple Labs in 2014. He is the founder and CTO of cryptocurrency Stellar.
10. Nikhil Viswanathan and Joseph Lau
Wealth: $2.4 billion (€2.21 billion) each
Source of Wealth: Alchemy
Country: United States (both)
Co-founders of blockchain Decakorn Alchemy, Viswanathan and Lau first met in 2011 at Stanford while working as assistants in computer science classes; since then, they’ve created more than 10 products together . Their first hit, the meeting app Down To Lunch, briefly became the top social media app in the Apple App Store in April 2016. After discovering blockchain, the duo launched Alchemy in 2017 as a toolkit for entrepreneurs and blockchain developers. Today, Alchemy is the leading platform for Web3 app development, including the capabilities of NFT OpenSea and the Kyber decentralized exchange. In February, the company raised $200 million (€183.88 million) at a valuation of $10.2 billion (€9.38 billion), less than four months after it was valued at $3.5 billion (€3.22 billion) in a fundraising round.