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Meet 2022’s Top Crypto Billionaires

The crypto and blockchain space has seen a record rise in its valuation over the past year. As a result, its rising traction reflects in the growing fortunes of crypto investors from various spheres of the industry. From the NFT market to exchanges and various others, crypto influencers continue to make it to the world’s richest list.

While some names make new entries in 2022, familiar names like Binance’s CZ are even further up the list. At present, the exchange’s founder is estimated by Forbes to be the nineteenth richest person in the world, despite ranking 1664th last year. Let’s take a look at some of the most wealthy individuals in the crypto and DeFi ecosystem.

16. Tim Draper

An early adopter of cryptocurrency, billionaire venture capitalist Timothy Draper has been in the crypto space for about a decade now. He made his first Bitcoin purchase in 2012 and has been a staunch advocate of cryptocurrency ever since. During an interview with Coin Desk in December last year, Draper discussed realizing the gravity of Bitcoin’s role geopolitically after the Mt. Gox debacle.

Draper’s net worth is currently valued at $1.2 Billion, and while he does own other digital tokens most of his faith lies in the BTC market. Tim Draper ranks 2324th on Forbes’ overall list, dropping by 289 places from 2021’s ranking.

15. Matthew Roszak

In addition to investing in platforms such as Binance, Coinbase, and crypto solutions firm Block.one, Matthew Roszak is the founder and CEO of Bloq a tech company that develops and provides structural offerings for the blockchain space.

Matthew first entered the DeFi ecosystem in 2012 and participated in quite a few of the token networks such as Mastercoin, MaidSafe, and Ethereum. His company is currently valued at $99 million with Roszak’s holdings estimated to be about $1.5 billion.

Matthew Roszak, left, with famous engineer and Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak.    Source: Twitter.

14. Michael Saylor

Although MicroStrategy holds much acclaim in the crypto space, Saylor launched the firm in 1989 with a focus on business software. Saylor graduated from MIT with a degree in aeronautics and astronautics after which he founded MicroStrategy. This is not his first billionaire ranking as his stake back then was worth a considerable amount, however, his wealth took a nosedive in the wake of a financial crash. He regained his billionaire status through various bitcoin investments valued at up to $205 million in 2020 alone and is currently worth $1.6 billion.

13. Kim Hyoung-nyon

Hyoung-nyon’s 13% stake in South Korea’s biggest exchange platform, Dunamu is currently worth about $2 billion following a $400 million investment by entertainment company Hybe. He is also the executive vice-president of Dunamu, which he helped establish 10 years ago. Kim Hyoung-nyon makes his first entry on Forbes list, at 1579th overall.

12. Fred Ehrsam

American entrepreneur and businessman, Frederick “Fred” Ernest Ehrsam III, has an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion. The 34-year-old currently functions as the managing partner of crypto-investment firm Paradigm Operations, a company he helped build. He also co-founded Coinbase in 2012, leaving a position at Goldman Sachs to do so. Ehrsam made his departure from the exchange 5 years ago but still retains a 6% stake in the platform as well as a seat on the board of directors.

Fred Ehrsam in an office in Paradigm, an investment firm he helped build.     Source: Wiki.

11. Devin Finzer and Alex Atallah

These 2 are the people behind the world’s largest marketplace for non-fungible tokens; OpenSea. Finzer and Atallah jointly launched the platform in 2017. The pair came up with the idea after noting the level of enthusiasm being directed towards the NFT project CryptoKitties at the time. The partners each hold an 18.5% stake in the platform. Finzer and Atallah’s stakes are worth about $2.2 billion respectively, especially after a funding round that sent OpenSea’s valuation up to $13.3 billion.

10. Nikil Viswanathan and Joseph Lau

Still in their 20s, Viswanathan and Lau have been partners for over a decade in which they have jointly developed and launched quite a few projects within the digital sphere. The duo met while at Stanford and 5 years later released the project that catapulted them into the limelight. For a time, the world’s biggest social platform; Down to Lunch.

Since then Viswanathan and Lau have founded Alchemy, a blockchain development platform where they function as CEO and CTO respectively. The partners are each valued at $2.5 billion and their company at $10.2 billion.

9. Jed McCaleb

American programmer and entrepreneur McCaleb currently serves as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for decentralized payments network Stellar which he co-founded in 2014. Before this, he helped launch the crypto project Ripple Labs and functioned in a similar capacity to his present one for about 2 years. 

McCaleb left the company following a disagreement with its executives. Although he is slowly selling off his Ripple Holdings, he has made substantial profits from the company in one way or another and has a net worth of $2.5 billion. Jed rose in rankings this year to 1238th, after posting 1580th in 2021.

Stellar co-founder and former CTO at Ripple Inc,, Jed McCaleb.     Source: Getty Images.

8. Barry Silbert

Generally acknowledged as a pioneer in the line of crypto investments, Barry Silbert is the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group. Before establishing DCG, Silbert had founded and managed the stock trading company Second Market. He sold the platform to Nasdaq in 2015 and launched DCG soon after.

The company has grown remarkably since its launch. DCG currently sits at the helm of the DeFi space and crypto industry at large. DCG has holdings in over 200 companies around the world. Its most successful subsidiary, GrayScale manages crypto assets worth up to 28 billion dollars. Silbert himself has a net worth of about $3.2 billion

7. Song Chi-Hyung

CEO and founder of Upbit, the largest exchange in South Korea’s thriving crypto market, Song Chi-Hyung is worth $3.7 billion. The crypto billionaires led the company to its current position just 3 months after it began and reportedly owns a 25% stake in crypto investment platform Dunamu, of which Upbit is a subsidiary. Song is also of 2022’s new entrants, debuting at 801st on world rankings.

6. Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss

After the high-profile legal tussle with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, the duo turned their attention (and resources) to the crypto industry. The twins founded a crypto-focused investment company in 2012 and also purchased their BTC around that same period.

In April the next year, they disclosed that they possessed about $11 million in Bitcoin, their $65 million settlement has since grown into respective net worths of $4 billion. The twins also own NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway, currently valued between $774 million to $1.2 billion.

 

Cameron, left, and Tyler posing new hats with their venture capital firm, Winklevoss Capital.     Source: The Wall Street Journal.

5. Chris Larsen

Despite a prolonged legal battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission, blockchain platform Ripple has continued to expand and founder Chris Larsen’s net worth along with it. The 61-year-old’s value is $4.3 billion. Also, besides being Ripple executive chairman, he is famous for co-founding a handful of tech startups. One of them is the online mortgage lender E-Loan, which launched over 2 decades ago.

4. Gary Wang

A math and computer science graduate from MIT, Gary Wang worked for Google prior to co-founding leading exchange FTX in 2019 where he now serves as CTO. Wang owns FTT tokens worth about $600 million as well as a 16% stake in the exchange company; both holdings have set his total valuation at $5.9 billion.

3. Brian Armstrong

Currently serving as CEO of popular crypto exchange Coinbase, Armstrong founded the platform nearly a decade ago alongside fellow crypto billionaire Fred Ehrsam. His $6.6 billion valuation is the product of a 19% stake in the exchange. Armstrong is a very vocal advocate for economic freedom globally. The American executive is also a philanthropist famous for his involvement in projects like GiveCrypto.org and ResearchHub. Armstrong has amassed significant wealth in the past 2 years, ranking 375th in 2022. The Coinbase co-founder placed 1990th on the world’s billionaire list in 2020.

Brian Armstrong with Tina Bhatnagar, former head of customer support and operations, at Coinbase, San Francisco.    Source: Washington Post.

2. Sam Bankman-Fried

American trader, entrepreneur, and philanthropist is well-known for his altruism. The 30-year-old established his crypto exchange FTX in 2019, a platform “built by traders for traders”. Bankman-Fried owns about half of FTX which is worth nearly $32 billion. The billionaire and entrepreneur also owns a portion of its native token FTT. Adhering to a philosophy known as “earning to give,” he has plans to give away a huge part of his wealth. Should he come through on his promise, Sam’s final philanthropy could be massive considering he is crypto’s second richest billionaire with a net worth of $24 billion. Sam climbed an incredible 214 places to become the 60th richest billionaire in the world in 2022.

1. Changpeng Zhao

The Chinese-Canadian businessman is currently worth about $65 billion. Zhao’s wealth is courtesy of an estimated 70% stake in Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. Zhao, typically referred to as CZ, founded the platform in 2017 after about 4 years in the crypto industry working on a series of projects including OKCoin.

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CZ began as a programmer but is now at 44, the crypto industry’s wealthiest figure and 19th in the world. The Binance founder doesn’t seem to have much regard for his current position and even has plans to donate 90% of his fortune. 

Binance founder and CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao.    Source: Bloomberg.
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