Last year, blockchain and crypto millionaires were at their peak, pledging to use their wealth for everything from lending support to political movements to giving away to charity. But the crypto crisis has ruined even the best laid plans.
The $2 trillion crypto economy created many new millionaires, but they also lost a significant amount of wealth as crypto fell to unforeseen depths. These leaders recognized the transformative power of blockchain and became the richest in their domains due to their timely investments.
Here are the blockchain millionaires who rule the roost with their considerable wealth.
Chinese-Canadian business executive Zhao once flipped burgers at McDonald’s. But these days, he’s best known as the founder and CEO of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. The 44-year-old also holds a small bit of Bitcoin and an undisclosed amount of BNB, Binance’s native token. As of May 2022, he had an estimated net worth of $14.9 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Indexdown from a peak of nearly $95 billion in November 2021. Forbes estimates that he owns at least 70% of the company, making him one of the richest crypto millionaires. He also invested $500 million through Binance to fund Musk’s Twitter acquisition.
The American investor is the founder and CEO of FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange. In 2021, he moved from Hong Kong to the Bahamas, along with FTX, citing a better crypto framework. In January, the crypto exchange was valued at $32 billion. FTX’s US operations were also recently valued by investors, at $8 billion. He currently owns $7 billion in FTT, the platform’s native token, and has pledged to give away all of his wealth in his lifetime. He expects blockchain speed, scaling and regulation to be the biggest topics in 2022. The blockchain millionaire was recently in the news for taking an active role in political giving, saying he may donate up to $100 million in the next US presidential election.
Coinbase founder and CEO Brian Armstrong is known for his friendship with former Airbnb colleague Brian Chesky. Armstrong has a nearly 19% stake in Coinbase, which earned him a profit of $322 million in 2020. Coinbase briefly reached a market cap of $100 billion when it went public in April 2021. It is the first crypto company to be named in the Fortune 500 list and employs over 4,500 people. As trading volumes fell, the company recorded a loss of $430 million in the first quarter of 2022. The crypto crisis has affected Coinbase’s fortunes with Armstrong saying the company will lay off nearly 18% of its workforce to make it through the crypto winter.
With a net worth of around $5.9 billion, Wang is the co-founder of FTX and is known to be media-shy. Wang has a 16% stake in FTX’s global operations and over $600 million worth of FTT, the original ticker symbol of FTX. He currently serves as CTO for FTX and resides in the Bahamas. An MIT graduate, he previously worked with Google before joining Bankman-Fried in 2019. Wang made the Forbes Billionaires List in 2022 and is one of the youngest blockchain millionaires at just 28 years old.
Blockchain company Ripple Labs’ co-founder Chris Larsen is valued at nearly $4.3 billion. Ripple’s token XRP is currently the eighth largest cryptocurrency. An environmentalist at heart, Larsen partnered with climate groups to launch a campaign — “Change the Code, Not the Climate” — to push the Bitcoin community to reduce the digital resource’s heavy carbon footprint. His campaign put him under fire from fellow bitcoin enthusiasts who even called him a “Judas” for his views. As an investor, he is best known for investing in many technology-based startups in Silicon Valley.