The year 2022 has been tumultuous for the crypto markets and some investors can no longer claim to be billionaires or millionaires in cryptocurrencies. Almost all of them young and bold, they are most often in their 30s or 40s. They are the new billionaires with, for some, a fortune that defies that of the founders of Facebook or Google.
Here are the top 5 crypto billionaires in 2022 who and are still far from being worried by the market decline.
Changpeng Zhao of crypto exchange Binance
In January 2021, Bloomberg magazine reported that the fortune of Changpeng Zhao, the founder of Binance, had surpassed $100 billion, making him a rival to the likes of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Changpeng Zhao has become a legend in his own right, and as such, this lanky figure sporting rimless glasses is often referred to as CZ. His Twitter posts are closely followed by a community of nearly 5 million followers.
Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX
Sam Bankman-Fried founded FTX in 2019 when he had just graduated from the prestigious Boston university Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It only took two years for FTX to become one of the major crypto exchanges. In July 2021, Sam Bankman-Fried managed to attract some $900 million in capital, boosting FTX’s net worth and, from there, its founder’s fortune, which Forbes estimated at $22.5 million in 2021.
The CEO of the FTX exchange is considered among the top rich in the crypto industry. He created the FTX exchange (along with Gary Wang). Before launching FTX, he worked as a trader. He started trading cryptocurrencies in 2017 after seeing an arbitrage opportunity.
He discovered that at the time, Bitcoin was selling for $10,000 in the U.S. while it cost $11,500 in yen on Japanese exchanges, for example. He was able to exploit these price differences.
Brian Armstrong of crypto exchange Coinbase
Brian Armstrong is easy to recognize: he is completely bald, like another tech mogul, Jeff Bezos of Amazon. But Armstrong is younger — he was born in 1983, in San Jose, California — and he also has a look that appears permanently benevolent.
Armstrong had an early taste for business: in elementary school, he was called into the principal’s office for starting a candy resale business. In high school, he became involved in the used computer business. He studied economics and computer science before joining IBM, then Deloitte (an auditing giant) and then Airbn’b.
It was very early, in 2010, that he discovered the White Paper explaining the ins and outs of Bitcoin. He was seduced, convinced that a new financial system could emerge, transnational and open, able to facilitate innovation and freedom. In 2012, he secured $150,000 in investment to launch Coinbase, one of the first exchanges (crypto trading platform) ever.
Chris Larsen of Ripple
Co-founder of Ripple, Chris Larsen was the first crypto player to appear in the rankings of the great fortunes of the field, back in 2020. He is also the oldest person on the list, having been born in 1960.
XRP, Ripple’s currency, relies on a decentralized network and ledger, the blockchain, just like Bitcoin. However, unlike Bitcoin, this currency does not need to be mined: it has been put into circulation automatically by Ripple Labs. The founders of Ripple/XRP have reserved 20% of the money supply for themselves in order to meet the project’s funding needs.
Ripple/XRP has positioned itself primarily for the settlement of interbank transactions and several banks have decided to experiment with it and then adopt it. Among them, Bank of America, Santander or UBS have chosen Ripple to manage part of their interbank clearing. As a result, XRP has firmly established itself in the top 10 of the sector. However, it should be noted that since the end of December 2020, the SEC (US Securities and Exchange Commission) has been conducting an investigation against Ripple, which it accuses of illegally issuing XRP. Chris Larsen’s fortune has been estimated at $6 billion in 2021.
Brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss
If you’ve seen the movie The Social Network, which tells the story of how student Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, you might remember the Winklevoss brothers, the two Harvard twins who are rowing champions and believe they came up with the idea for Facebook. As such, they sued Mark Zuckerberg in the fall of 2004. In February 2009, an out-of-court settlement was reached in which the Winklevoss twins walked away with a sizeable loot — undisclosed but estimated at more than $20 million.
The twins, Tyler and Cameron, are 41 years old and have an estimated net worth of $3.3 billion in 2022. They are the co-founders of the cryptocurrency exchange Gemini. They had claimed that Mark Zuckerberg copied their social network concept to launch Facebook and sued the group.