They promised that the world of cryptocurrencies was poles apart from that of traditional finance. And yet… The 6 Biggest Fortunes in the Crypto World all have the same profiles: young white men who have become immensely rich through the magic of speculation. Who are they ?
Roger Ver: Bitcoin Jesus
Roger Ver quickly became famous in the crypto world thanks to his intuition (or his luck, it depends). While no one really believed in it, this entrepreneur – who started by reselling computer equipment on Ebay – bet on bitcoin very early on. It earned him the nickname Bitcoin Jesus.
Having become rich at a very young age, he multiplied projects related to the blockchain: Ripple or Kraken to name a few. He is also the creator of the information site Bitcoin.com, which he left in 2019. He also funds the Bitcoin Foundationa powerful lobby whose goal is for crypto to become as big a market as traditional finance.
Roger Ver had a tumultuous career and his angry and anarchist personality is also often decried. For example, he became known for his donation of one million dollars to the Foundation for Economic Education, an organization that wants the dissolution of the state and the defense of the principle of freedom.
He also did a stay in prison for selling explosives without a license on its Memory Deals e-commerce site. We can also mention his change of nationality: disappointed with the laws of his country, this American swapped his passport for that of Saint-Christophe-et-Nieves, a Caribbean tax haven.
Vitalik Buterin: King of Ethereum
Anyone interested in the world of crypto knows Vitalik Buterin. As a teenager, this Russian-Canadian was passionate about World of Warcraft and… bitcoin. While he was bored in his school career, he left everything and created the Ethereum blockchain (and the Ether currency) in 2015, at just 20 years old.
In just a few years he became a billionaire. As the Covid-19 hits the whole world, he decides to share his fortune with the poorest. This young philanthropist sends Ether donations to India. He co-founded Balvi, an organization that supports the search for an autovaccine against the coronavirus.
His crazy idea? Transcendence. He supports transhumanist associations like the World Transhumanist Association with millions. He wishes to abolish human aging and transcend mortality.
Changpeng Zhao: Founder of Binance
Every crypto investor knows Change Zhao. The founder of Binance (created in 2017) has made a name for himself on social networks (he has 6.4 million followers on Twitter) in a style unlike that of Elon Musk.
This Chinese-Canadian is a model of humility and self-made man. His fortune (14 billion dollars after the cryptocrash), he owes it to his work. As he moved from one small job at McDo to another to help his parents who came from China, he had the idea to create the Binance crypto exchange platform (for Binary and Finance) in 2017.
With 90 million users, it is the most widely used exchange platform in the world. Recently, he obtained a sesame (authorization of digital service provider, PSAN) to settle in Europe. It wishes to establish its European headquarters in Paris.
Unlike his cronies, CZ does not see himself as a crypto genius. He sees himself as the blacksmith who supplies people with their swords.
Brian Armstrong: Coinbase’s Dad
At 38, Brian Armstrong does not have the same profile as his competitor CZ at all. This American born to engineer parents in Silicon Valley was already rich before getting into crypto. But since the creation of Coinbase, the crypto exchange platform of which he is the CEO, his fortune is estimated at 16 billion dollars.
Businessman at heart, he had been summoned to elementary school for having created a wild business of reselling candy in the playground. Far from being scalded, he starts again in college, this time with second-hand computers. Then, in college, he created universitytutor.com, a platform that connects tutors and students (or their parents), of which he will be the CEO until 2012.
After brief stints at IBM, Deloitte and Airbnb, he threw himself body and soul into the world of crypto after discovering the manifesto of Satoshi Nakamoto, creator of bitcoin. While working at Airbnb, he then wrote the code for what would later become Coinbase.
Like some of these friends, Brian Armstrong wants to be a philanthropist. In 2018 he founded GiveCrypto, a platform for making donations in crypto “to those in need”. In September 2020, he self-funded ResearchHub, an open source site for scientific research aimed at making as many research documents available to the public.
Sam Bankman-Fried: the little genius
This billionaire of just thirty years old made his fortune thanks to his genius for mathematics. Spotted very young for his talents, he trained at MIT and then became a trader on Wall Street.
If his fortune is partly based on bitcoin, he owes it above all to his projects, in particular the creation of the FTX exchange platform as well as Alameda Research, a crypto investment fund based in Japan. He also bet a lot on the metaverse and NFTs, two booming businesses.
Passionate about sport, he managed to convince big names to work with him. thus, he signed sponsorship and naming contracts with big names. The most famous is Tom Brady, the most famous American football player.
Like Vitalik Buterin, “SBF” is a great philanthropist. A convinced Democrat, he says he is sensitive to the redistribution of wealth. Thus, he founded the FTX Foundation, an association that fights against poverty and animal suffering.
This state of mind is often highlighted as it is so rare in this sector. This Bill Gates of crypto even harshly criticized bitcoin. While all investors see it as a means of payment for the future, SBF considers that it has no future. Vibe.
Peter Thiel: the (not) wise old man
Peter Thiel is a well-known character from Silicon Valley. Co-founder of PayPal, he now invests all over the tech paradise. So inevitably, he was not going to miss the madness of crypto-currencies.
This libertarian first invested heavily in bitcoin. But his new obsession is Web3. This divisive character does not hesitate to tackle his friends. For him, Warren Buffet is a “gerontocrat”, traditional finance is old school, and the future lies in a virtual world governed by a tokenized super-exchange.
If some see him as a genius, his political positions have sometimes harmed him, especially when he supported Donald Trump or the (very) conservative Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.