Forbes just released a new list ranking the richest people in cryptocurrency and the combined worth of the top 10 people on their list is in the billions. As in, somewhere in the range of $15 billion to over $18 billion. Well, at least that was what they were worth when Forbes created the list. Now, they might only be worth several hundred millions of dollars after recent events. Bummer.
Still, they’re very, very rich. Or virtually very rich, since what they own is hundreds of millions of dollars worth of virtual currency.
Cryptocurrency, while gaining more and more steam in mainstream markets, is still looked down upon by many in the financial world. Folks like Warren Buffet, the original “Wolf of Wall Street” Jordan Belfort, and the founder of Bitcoin.com have all said it is destined to fail, with Belfort even going so far as to say it’s “far worse than anything” he did.
Economist Nouriel Roubini called it “the mother of all bubbles.” Famed investor Carl Icahn said he “wouldn’t touch that stuff.” Buffett said “the idea that it has some huge intrinsic value is just a joke in my view.” Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, agreed, “You can’t have a business where people can invent a currency out of thin air and think that people who are buying it are really smart.” And on and on it goes.
Yet here we are, with Forbes thinking enough of this virtual money to create their first list and ranking of the richest people in cryptocurrency. Not that it was easy.
Identifying the biggest crypto winners and estimating the scale of their wealth is no simple task. The virtual currencies exist almost entirely outside the global financial system, and the newly minted crypto rich live in a strange milieu that blends paranoid secrecy with ostentatious display. Take CZ’s Binance exchange. It has no real headquarters: Employees are scattered across several countries, and CZ himself seems to change locales the way others change clothes. “We dont want to be in one place right now because of regulatory uncertainty,” says CZ. Last we heard, CZ and his trademark black hoodie had just popped up in Taiwan.
Here are the top 15 people listed in their cryptocurrency rankings and the values assigned to each person at the time of Forbes’ publication.
1. Chris Larsen, Co-founder, Ripple: $7.5 to $8 billion
2. Joseph Lubin, Co-founder, Ethereum: $1 billion to $5 billion
3. Changpeng Zhao, CEO, Binance: $1.1 billion to $2 billion
4. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, Co-foundersvGemini: $900 million to $1.1 billion
5. Matthew Mellon, Individual investor: $900 million to $1 billion
6. Brian Armstrong, CEO, Coinbase: $900 million to $1 billion
7. Matthew Roszak, Co-founder, Bloq: $900 million to $1 billion
8. Anthony Di Iorio, Co-founder, Ethereum: $750 million to $1 billion
9. Brock Pierce, Chairman, Bitcoin Foundation: $700 million to $1 billion
10. Michael Novogratz, CEO, Galaxy Digital: $700 million to $1 billion
11. Brendan Blumer, CEO, Block.one: $600 million to $700 million
12. Dan Larimer, CTO, Block.one: $600 million to $700 million
13. Valery Vavilov, CEO, Bitfury: $500 million to $700 million
14. Charles Hoskinson, Co-founder, Ethereum and IOHK: $500 million to $600 million
15. Brad Garlinghouse, CEO, Ripple: $400 million to $500 million
Apparently the hackers who stole $530 million worth of cryptocurrency didn’t make the list.
Perhaps that because, as Forbes states…
It’s a near certainty that we’ve missed some people and that some of our estimates are wide of the mark. But this was equally true when we launched the first Forbes 400 list of America’s richest people in 1982. At the time, many people said we couldn’t — or shouldn’t—publish it. We did so anyway. And we firmly believe we made the world a better place by shining a light on the invisible rich.
As we’ve already seen with anything related to cryptocurrency, that is certainly debatable.