The nascent industry of crypto has seen many people go from borderline broke to becoming lavish millionaires. Today, there is a whole list of people that saw a great opportunity where others simply saw a risky experiment. And they are all pretty young too!
According to Forbes, the average age of the crypto industry’s richest people is only 42. And the value of their Bitcoin holdings often goes up to the hundreds of millions.
The richest man in Bitcoin (and crypto) is its mysterious creator of Bitcoin – Satoshi Nakamoto. His wallet holds more than 900,000 Bitcoins. And while no one on this list might be close to that (at least not in a single wallet), it’s fair to say that crypto changed their life forever.
With many cryptocurrency enthusiasts valuing the privacy and freedom cryptocurrencies offer, it’s no wonder some are shy of the limelight. As such, details about their life and their net worth can be hard to find, even with some serious research.
Top 26 millionaires of Bitcoin
So, let’s look at the lucky, the bold, and the entrepreneurs that have hedged their bets with Bitcoin and won.
1. Eddy Zillan
Eddy might not have gotten in the game during its early days, but he did get in young. Using money he saved from his Bar Mitzvah and tennis lessons, he cautiously bought $100, then a $1,000 and finally $12,000 in Bitcoin. His investment grew to $500,000 and he now claims that his profits exceed $1 million.
Currently, Eddy is trying to help others replicate his success by offering crypto investment consulting services.
2. Erik Finmann
Erik hated school. So, at the age of 12, in 2011, he made a deal with his parents to skip college if he could turn $1000 into $1 million. Sponsored by his grandma, Erik invested the whole amount in Bitcoin, when each coin had a price tag of $12. Needless to say, he reached his goal by the time he turned 18.
Now, at 20 years old, Erik is worth around $4.5 million. He has the credentials of being one of the youngest self-made millionaires as well as being involved with crypto even longer than most of his elder peers. Currently, he is backing a new cryptocurrency called MetalPay that he says will replace both Bitcoin and Libra.
3. Vitalik Buterin
Even though his Bitcoin holdings are just above one million dollars at this point, Vitalik Buterin is both one of the most influential and richest people in crypto. The founder of Ethereum holds an approximate $50 million in Ethereum value while having cashed out another $40-$45 million since early 2016.
4. Kingsley Advani
Although still young, Kingsley bought his first Bitcoin relatively late. He invested in 2017, just before the great crypto boom, and managed to amass a small fortune. With an investment of approximately $34,000, he claims to be worth “somewhere in the low eight-figures”. Whatever the case may be, he made enough to quit his job and now travels the world as an advisor and angel investor.
5. Jeremy Gardner
Jeremy is the “geek turned playboy” of the crypto world. Unconventional from the get-go, he got into Bitcoin after dropping out of college twice when a friend offered to give him Bitcoin in exchange for cash.
Today, Jeremy is one of the richest millionaires of Bitcoin.
In fact, by age 25, he was valued at an estimate of $300 million. Currently, he spends his days partying in his crypto mansion while investing in new cryptocurrency projects.
6. Nader Al-Nadji
On top of being one of the youngest millionaires of Bitcoin, Nader is also an unfortunate example of how even the most promising and well-meaning crypto-projects can go sideways. He was the founder and CEO of Basis (originally known as, Basecoin) a stablecoin project with a value algorithmically tied to the US dollar.
Even though Nader and his team managed to raise $133 million in early-stage funding, they were sunk by changing regulations. On the positive side, however, their project managed to return most of their investor’s money.
7. Yifu Guo
Similar to Vitalik Buterin, Guo made his fortunes not merely by investing in crypto but also through innovating in the field. He invented what is known as the first Bitcoin mining computer. Then, in 2012, he founded the company under which he sold his miners.
Starting at a few hundred dollars each, the price of his machines increased multifold during the latest bull market. Like many of his peers, Guo doesn’t like to share too much about his private life. However, we do know he got into Bitcoin sometime during 2011 and that he was worth at least $5 million.
8. Charlie Shrem
Early bird Charlie caught the worm by buying Bitcoin when it was only valued at $3 or $4 per coin. This made him one of the youngest millionaires of Bitcoin at the time. However, in 2013 his service BitInstant was closed down, which eventually resulted in him losing the majority of his money through legal fees and penalties.
In time, Charlie became the first Bitcoin felon, for aiding and abetting unlicensed money transmission for the outlawed black market, Silk Road. Despite all this, his net worth is estimated to be around $35 million.
9. Nejc Kodric
You’ve probably heard of Bitstamp, one of the most popular and long-standing cryptocurrency exchanges. It was the first licensed exchange in Europe and ranked in the top 5 according to trade volume. Nejc started the exchange with only 1,000 euros, from his parents’ garage. In time, however, he managed to gain a $10 million investment from Pantera capital.
Unsurprisingly, he is one of the richest Slovenians alive, with an estimated net worth of around $123 million.
10. Olaf Carlson-Wee
During college, Olaf didn’t only write his thesis on Bitcoin but he also invested all his savings in cryptocurrencies. Apart from that, he was the first employee at Coinbase which is now one of the world’s most popular crypto exchanges. One could say that his path was paved towards a crypto-career.
In the years that followed, the young entrepreneur found a blockchain hedge fund – Polychain Capital – which manages blockchain crypto projects and technologies. Olaf’s fund has managed to secure over $800 million and, despite losing a lot of money during the recent bear market, he is still estimated to be worth around $300 million.
11. Brandon Chez
Brandon Chez is an enigma within the crypto industry, despite creating the massively trafficked CoinMarketCap.com. Almost all we know about him is his name and that he lives in Queens. In January 2018, he delisted Korean exchanges because of perceived artificial Bitcoin price inflation.
The move wiped nearly $100 billion of the market and some believe that the crypto crash of 2018 began with that. Although no one knows the true figure, he is estimated to be worth over $2 billion.
12. Wu Jihan
Wu Jihan founded Bitmain in 2013. His company quickly became the world’s largest bitcoin mining computer chip manufacturer alongside Micree Zhan. He is also the first to translate the Bitcoin whitepaper to Chinese.
By raising money from friends and family, he bought 900 bitcoins in 2011 which made him a fortune along the way. Through Bitmain, his net worth exceeded $2.38 billion in 2018 and some consider him the most influential person in Bitcoin.
13. Mark Karpeles
Mark Karpeles is well known in the crypto industry. He founded a Bitcoin technology company back in 2009 and was also a board member of the Bitcoin Foundation. His biggest success was Mt. Gox, the first widely used crypto exchange which eventually collapsed, taking with it 850,000 Bitcoin that belonged to their customers.
Although being found not guilty on most charges leveled against him, many still think Mark Karpeles was behind it all. His true net worth is a mystery, but many suspect that he owns around 200,000 Bitcoins. If that is true, it would make his $30 million fine for the Mt. Gox fiasco look like pocket change.
14. Pavel Durov
Pavel might have gotten into the game late, but it didn’t stop him from becoming one of the most influential millionaires of Bitcoin. He made his fortune by founding popular messaging services VK and Telegram.
Then, in 2017, he used part of his fortune to buy $1.5 million worth of Bitcoin (2000 bitcoins). Today, his net worth is somewhere around $35 million. He’s lived an eventful life and is currently traveling the world in self-imposed exile after facing issues with Russian authorities.
15. Brian Armstrong
Brian is the co-founder of Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Forbes places his real-time net worth at $1 billion with Coinbase being worth a total of $8 billion. In many ways, his platform helped many people become millionaires of Bitcoin themselves.
16. Ross Ulbricht
Although not much is known about Ross Ulbricht’s early days in Bitcoin, it’s suspected that he already was a multi-millionaire by the time Bitcoin was worth just $1,000 per coin. In an operation to shut down the black market, Silk Road, the FBI tracked down its founder “Dread Pirate Roberts”, who turned out to be Ross Ulbricht. Through this discovery, the authorities discovered that he used his fortune for more sinister purposes.
Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement with Silk Road, with charges that included narcotics trafficking, money laundering, tax evasion, and hacking. They also confiscated his Bitcoin wallet which contained a staggering 144,000 Bitcoins!
17. Jered Kenna
Only a very few individuals got in the crypto game earlier than Jered Kenna. In fact, the young man bought Bitcoin when it was valued at a mere $0,20 per coin.
Apart from that, he founded the crypto exchange Trade Hill which was very popular for the number of cryptocurrencies it supported. When the exchange eventually shut down, Kenna decided to go low profile and has been. He is estimated to be worth more than $30 million thanks to his early Bitcoin investment.
18. Peter Saddington
Peter got his start in crypto when he found out about Bitcoin in college. It was during that time that he bought 1000 Bitcoins for just $2.52 per coin. His investment ended up growing to $750,000 within a few short years and he is currently tight-lipped about his current balance.
He is now an avid crypto-maximalist with an active YouTube channel. Apart from that, he also runs a crypto-related social network called TheBitcoin.pub. Peter is well known for cashing out $238,000 worth of Bitcoin to buy a Lambo, just to show how easy it is to use crypto in real life.
19. The Winkelvoss twins
Tyler and Cameron Winkelvoss is best known for suing Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg for stealing their idea. The two invested in Bitcoin at a very early stage, and are now estimated to own as much as 1% of all Bitcoin in existence. Their current estimated value is estimated at 1 billion dollars each.
Even though the duo has seen massive returns from their investments, they still maintain leading positions in the crypto space. Not only are they active venture capitalists, supporting cryptocurrency projects, but they also founded Gemini exchange.
20. Brock Pierce
Brock Pierce has always been ahead of the game, trying to pioneer an online streaming service before the 2000s.
In 2013, he and two other partners formed the venture capital company Blockchain Capital that managed to raise $85 million by 2017. After a $50 million ICO in 2018, he also worked with Block.one and the Blockchain foundation. In 2018, Forbes estimated his net worth to be somewhere between $700 million and $1 billion.
21. Valery Vavilov
Valery was inspired by the decentralized nature of Bitcoin, after watching his parents lose everything at the Soviet Union’s collapse. He went on to become the founder and CEO of Bitcoin mining company Bitfury in 2011. Considering the meteoric rise in Bitcoin’s value since that time, it’s no surprise his now worth somewhere around $700 million.
22. Micree Zhan
Despite Wu (mentioned above) being the one that convinced Micree Zhan to start Bitmain, Zhan owns the majority share of 36%. As of June 2019, Zhan’s net worth is estimated to be a staggering $5.42 billion, making him one of the richest millionaires of Bitcoin. Other than that, he has been more lowkey within the industry than his partner and avoids the media.
23. Roger Ver
Known by some as “Bitcoin Jesus”, Roger Ver was one of the first and most vocal supporters of Bitcoin. He was one of the first investors in Charlie Schrem’s BitInstant as well as many other crypto-related businesses. He is still very active in the blockchain industry, serving as Executive Chairman of Bitcoin.com (the official website for Bitcoin Cash).
No one knows Roger’s exact net worth but he did purchase $25,000 Bitcoin in 2011 which would be worth around $250 million based on today’s price.
24. Barry Silbert
As an investment banker, Barry seems to have a good eye for spotting an opportunity. He founded DGC (Digital Currency Group) in 2015 with the sole focus of investing in digital currencies, more specifically crypto.
Following the creation of DCG, Barry’s group has helped fund numerous projects like BitGo, Bitpay, and CoinBase, among others. He is now estimated to be worth $400 to $500 million.
25. David Di Iorio
David has a simple strategy. Put your money in a new and promising coin, wait for it to boom, rinse and repeat. That’s exactly what he did with his own money as a co-founder of Ethereum, the current second-biggest cryptocurrency.
Before founding Ethereum, he was already convinced of Bitcoin’s potential and invested in a number of Bitcoin-related projects. With a diversified portfolio, it’s hard to know exactly how much he is worth. However, estimates range anywhere from $250 million to $1 billion.
26. Charlie Lee
Charlie Lee became interested in Bitcoin as early as 2011. After mining 150 coins, he launched his own Bitcoin-based cryptocurrency, Litecoin, which was meant to be more efficient for smaller transactions. He was forced to quit as head of Litecoin because of accusations that he is manipulating the coin’s value with his Tweets. In a bid to clear his name, he also sold all his coins when he made his exit.
Are you the next Bitcoin millionaire?
Whether you read this list out of curiosity or due to your interest in the crypto-space, we hope it inspires you to follow your gut. In the exciting world of digital currencies, there seems to be an endless number of gaps for sharp individuals to step in and make a name for themselves.
Make the right call, and you could have the world at your feet virtually overnight.
This is a guest post by Joanna Latimer:
Joanna is an experienced blogger and a passionate digital nomad. She currently collaborates with a guest posting service Luckyposting. Joanna has an extensive background in digital marketing, and she currently focuses on researching marketing opportunities for blockchain and cryptocurrency startups. Usually, she spends her leisure time reading books or visiting professional marketing events to keep abreast of the latest updates.