In our ocean, whales make a lot of waves. When a whale hits the water, anything else near it gets soaked. It’s not too different in Crypto, with whales often causing mini flash crashes. As well as being a source of controversy. After all, some people consider cryptocurrency to be the democratization of our financial system, an escape from the 1%.
But the truth is, cryptocurrency is very unequally split. The wealthiest 82 addresses actually account for 14.15% of the total supply, a fact far-flung from the idealism people tend to hold towards the digital asset. In this article we will examine the lives and stories of those privileged with the gift of Satoshis.
#1 Changpeng Zhao($90 billion)
Changpeng Zhou is the CEO of Binance and famously credited with the meme-worthy phrase "Funds are safu" thanks to a video posted by Bizonacci
His father was labeled a "pro-bourgeois intellectual" during the Chinese cultural revolution and was exiled to the countryside.
Some have speculated that the experiences of his childhood led to a mistrusting of government and an interest into cryptocurrency.
He was first introduced to Cryptocurrency during a poker game in 2013. They said "CZ, you should convert 10% of your net worth into Bitcoin, because there's a very small chance it will go to zero and you will lose that 10%. There's a high chance it will 10x, and then you would double your net worth"
The thing I find most fascinating about this quote is that it perfectly exemplifies the importance of pot odds that professional Poker players regularly have to consider: The risk-reward ratio of any hand in Poker relative to the pot size.
Changpeng Zhou had a lot of experience with remittance systems due to receiving money fron his dad in Canada(it took him 5 years to actually get the visa to finally see his father).
In just 8 months, Changpeng Zhou turned Binance from an exchange nobody ever heard of into becoming the largest in the entire world, becoming a billionaire in the process.
One of the most unbelievable things about the life of Changpeng Zhou is how modest he has been with his money. In interviews, he has stated that the only luxury item he buys are new laptops. He doesn't own a car or a house because as soon as you buy them you can't trade out of them easily and prefers to stay in hotels due to the 'higher liquidity'. He said he values liquidity more than owning something.
#2 Satoshi Nakamoto(73 billion USD)
Satoshi Nakamoto(not actually the guy pictured above) is the anonymous creator of Bitcoin. He was also the first miner of Bitcoin. It's believed that Satoshi mined more than 22,000 blocks and received over a million bitcoins, bringing his total net worth to be around $73 billion
It should be no surprise that the founding father of Bitcoin is also one of its wealthiest hodlers. Many mysteries surround the life of Satoshi Nakamoto. The most widely-accepted theory in the crypto community is that Satoshi Nakamoto is dead. If he were alive and wanted to dump his Bitcoin, it could cause the greatest market crash Bitcoin has ever seen. After all, he DOES own nearly 5% of the total supply!
#3 Sam Bankman-Fried($22.5 billion)
Not all rich people have to be bad. Take Sam Bankman-Fried for example,
Sam Bankman-Fried acquired his wealth thanks to the FTX exchange as well as Alameda Research trading firm. From a young age, he exhibited remarkable alturism. His life philosophy is to do the most good possible in his life.
He worked at a quant firm and donated the majority of his earnings to charity but got into crypto when he found an arbitrage opportunity. Most of the money he earns in his life he plans to give away as part of his core philosophy of 'earning to give'.
Sam Bankman-Fried launched his own exchange, FTX, in 2019. It currently is one of the largest crypto derivatives platforms.
His story is one of the very few of young people going from relative obscurity to one of the world's top billionaires in just a few years. Not only that, he's young too!
#4 Brian Armstrong($13 billion)
"There are about 1.8 billion people in the world that have a cell phone but don't have access to any financial services" said Coinbase alum Brian Armstrong in a video published by Coinbase.
Armstrong had a vision to help people participate in the global economy. Coinbase was founded as a solution to make it easy for people to gain access to cryptocurrency for the first time.
You see, in the early days of crypto, exchanges were often difficult to figure out and had trust issues(Mt. Gox is one example). Coinbase wanted to be the first to fully comply with all U.S regulatory requirements and bring cryptocurrency to the mainstream.
Today, Coinbase is the largest U.S exchange and is even traded publicly on the Nasdaq.
#5 Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss($6 billion)
You might remember Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss from the infamous Facebook lawsuit, or the award winning movie The Social Network.
After parting with Facebook, the brothers went on to found Winklevoss Capital Management.
Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss announced crypto-exchange Gemini(a reference to the fact that they are twins) in June 2013 and the company went live on October 25, 2015.
The twins are also the main protagonists of the 2019 novel Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption
Fun fact: One thing not many people know about the Winklevoss Twins is that they are Olympic rowing champions. They've won big championships such as the Harvard-Yale Regatta in 2004. In 2008, they were placed 6th in the Olympic Games.
#6 Micree Zhan($5.2 billion)
Micree Zhan(or "Jihad" as his critics call him) is the co-founder of the mining company Bitmain Technologies. Zhan is rumored to own the 2nd largest holding of Bitcoin after Satoshi.
He is credited with introducing Cryptocurrency to the Chinese market, a market with a whopping 74% of the worlds bitcoin mining production. Critics of Wu blame him for the hard-fork of Bitcoin. Bitmain was heavily invested in a Shenzhen based mining company, ViaBTC.
His net worth is estimated to be 5.2 billion making him the 9th richest self-made billionaire in the entire world under 40.
Jihan Wu, Zhan’s former business partner, was the first to translate the Bitcoin whitepaper into Mandarin.