Originally published in the ChangeNOW blog
With the Bitcoin launch in 2009, cryptocurrencies firmly entered our life. However, the crypto industry is still a space where it is possible to become a millionaire just in one night.
Here is a look at the list of top crypto names and the remarkable achievements these people have made.
Rocking in as the undoubted number one in our list is Satoshi Nakamoto — a name or a pseudonym used by a mysterious person or persons who created Bitcoin, wrote the Bitcoin white paper and was the first one(s) to solve the double-spending problem for digital currency with a peer-to-peer network. Indeed, not only does nobody know who it is; the very fact of this legendary figure existing is often under the question.
Hal Finney (May 4, 1956 — August 28, 2014) is regarded as a pioneer and one of the most significant contributors to Bitcoin. He was a software engineer and one of the earliest cypherpunks. He built the first Proof-of-Work digital cash system, RPOW (Reusable Proofs of Work) and the first anonymous remailer, became the first tester for Satoshi Nakamoto’s code and received the first-ever Bitcoin.
Changpeng Zhao (also known as CZ) is the founder and CEO of Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange launched in July 2017. He was born in China, but moved to Vancouver, Canada. According to the list of Forbes Magazine, in 2019 his net worth was about $1.2 billion.
Born in 1983, Brian Armstrong is a software engineer, a risk manager, and a crypto entrepreneur that worked at Airbnb, IBM, and Deloitte. He is also a co-founder and CEO of CoinBase, the leading cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S. Along with CoinBase, Armstrong co-founded GiveCrypto, a nonprofit charity organization distributing crypto among people in need.
In 2017, Brian Armstrong and Vitalik Buterin entered the top 10 of “40 under 40” (the list of business influencers younger than 40). According to Forbes, Armstrong’s current net worth is valued at $1 billion.
Roger Ver is considered to be one of the major Bitcoin experts and the first investor and promoter of Bitcoin startups (Kraken, BitPay, Blockchain.com, Zcash, ShapeShift, and Purse.io). His desire of seeing Bitcoin adopted worldwide made him invest in multiple startups and travel the world to preach his theories. For that, he was nicknamed “the Bitcoin Jesus” or “the cryptocurrency evangelist.”
Until August 2019, Roger Ver was the CEO of Bitcoin.com, a crypto news site complementing an exchange and wallet service; after that, he shifted to the executive chairman position.
Ver is also widely known as a proponent of the Bitcoin Cash fork.
Nick Szabo is a computer scientist, cryptographer, legal scholar and pioneer of smart contracts. In 1997, Szabo introduced the very idea of smart contracts, comparing them to vending machines taking in coins and returning the product and some change.
The second contribution he is famous for is the creation of Bit Gold. This concept introduced on December 29, 2005 implies creating a protocol “whereby unforgeably costly bits could be created online with minimal dependence on trusted third parties, and then securely stored, transferred, and assayed with similar minimal trust.”
Many think it was Nick Szabo that went by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto, but he has repeatedly denied these rumours.
Vitalik Buterin is primarily known as a Russian-Canadian inventor, co-founder and chief scientist of Ethereum, a global blockchain network and currently the world’s second most valued cryptocurrency platform after Bitcoin.
Buterin was born in Russia, but later moved to Canada with his parents. He started his crypto career in 2011 by writing articles about blockchain and crypto for Bitcoin Magazine to become a co-founder of this magazine in just a few years.
In late 2013, Buterin created a white paper for Ethereum. He also developed other open-source software projects (DarkWallet, Bitcoin Python libraries, and the crypto marketplace Egora).
Being one of the top crypto names on Twitter with 1 million followers, Vitalik Buterin constantly informs them of all the Ethereum-related updates and news.
Joseph Lubin is a Canadian-American entrepreneur also known as a co-founder of Ethereum and a founder of ConsenSys, a full-stack global decentralised startup.
Lubin graduated from Princeton University and worked as a software engineer and consultant at eMagine. Before turning to the sphere of cryptography, he was the office director at Blacksmith Software Consulting and the Vice-President of Technology in Private Wealth Management at Goldman Sachs. With all his background in tech and business, he has really quickly become one of the most significant crypto influencers.
David Marcus is a French-American entrepreneur, co-creator and a board member of Libra, a Facebook cryptocurrency project.
Born in Paris and raised in Geneva, Marcus has held executive positions in several big tech companies. He is the former president of PayPal, the Vice President of Messaging Products at Facebook, and the member of the Coinbase Board of Directors.
Winklevoss Twins, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, are American entrepreneurs and founders of Gemini (a cryptocurrency exchange), Winkdex (a blended Bitcoin and Ethereum price index), and Winklevoss Capital — a company providing seed funding to early-stage startups.
They studied at Harvard College together with Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook they became embroiled in a scandal with. The twins claimed that Zuckerberg stole the idea of their project ConnectU and some source code to create Facebook. This case even provided the basis for a movie (“The Social Network”)!
Chris Larsen is a business executive of several Silicon Valley tech startups, and the executive chairman and co-founder of Ripple Labs, Inc. This company controls 61% of the total XRP supply.
In 2020, Larsen ranked №319 in the list of 400 wealthiest Americans compiled by Forbes. His net worth was estimated to be $2.7B.
Justin Sun is a founder and CEO of TRON Foundation, a Singapore-based nonprofit organization. This company launched:
- TRON Protocol, one of the largest blockchain operating systems,
- TRONIX (TRX), a MainNet token based on the TRON Protocol,
- PoloniDEX, a decentralized trading platform,
- TRON Wallet.
Justin Sun is also a current CEO of Rainberry, Inc., formerly known as BitTorrent, Inc. This company developed and launched the BitTorrent peer-to-peer protocol widely used by μTorrent and BitTorrent Mainline. In 2018, TRON acquired BitTorrent to run the BitTorrent token, BTT.
After her fifteen-year-long career at Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Kelly Loeffler became the CEO of Bakkt, a financial services company that focuses on distributing digital currencies, rewards, and loyalty points.
In 2020, Loeffler was appointed as a Junior Senator to represent the state of Georgia in the U.S. Congress, where she is expected to support and develop crypto regulations.
Ari Paul is an American cryptocurrency investor and a co-founder of BlockTower Capital. Founded in July 2017, BlockTower Capital became one of the world’s hedge funds. It generates $37 000 in revenue per employee and has raised more than $140 million from investors.
Elizabeth Stark is a blockchain entrepreneur, crypto startups advisor, a co-founder and CEO of Lightning Labs. This company launched a Lightning Network (“Layer Two”), a payment protocol adding a layer on top of a blockchain in order to enable fast transactions.
Bitcoin exploding resulted in a completely new digital universe comprising a variety of subspheres. It has its own leaders and experts, influencers and enthusiasts.
Maybe it is you who will be the next one?