Are These The 6 Richest People In The Crypto Industry ?

There’s a lot of money in the crypto industry, that much is for sure. And we’re at a stage in which there are projects that are advanced enough for their creators to have already reaped the benefits. And then, there’s Bitcoin. Early adopters and believers, extremely long-term hodlers, are sitting on a fortune. Who’s made the most money, though?

An extremely difficult question to answer. The pseudonymous nature of blockchain technology makes inquiries like this a tall order. There are wallets that nobody knows who they belong to and hold thousands of coins. There are billionaires that have announced investments, but nobody knows which wallets belong to them. Not everyone in the crypto industry is a public figure. Not everyone in the space wants attention.

Related Reading | Ethereum Foundation Vitalik Buterin Talks ETH Inflation Rate

Taking that into account, the Coin Bureau YouTube channel launched an investigation and reached credible conclusions. If we agree that the list is for entertainment purposes and heavily western-focused, we can have fun with it. So, let’s do that.

Who Are The Six Richest Persons In The Crypto Industry?

To make this fair, the Coin Bureau focused on people who hold most of their assets in cryptocurrencies. That makes people like Coinbase’s Brian Armstrong and MicroStrategy’s Michael Saylor ineligible, because most of their fortunes are tied to their companies. It also discards all the billionaires that have a small percentage of their fortunes in crypto.

So, now that the rules are clear, let’s get into it.

6.- Tim Draper and Max Keiser

Tied at number five, two very different Bitcoin believers. 

Tim Draper: This venture capital investor made the purchase of a lifetime when he acquired all of the Bitcoin confiscated from the Silk Road dark web marketplace. “The US Marshall service auctioned off 30000 BTC which landed in Tim’s wallet for 19 million Dollars.” Those are now worth close to $1B. Draper is not part of the crypto industry, but, practicing diversification he also holds Bitcoin Cash, XRP, and Tezos. 

Max Keiser: This broadcaster and filmmaker is the reason many people around the world know about Bitcoin. An early believer, “In a 2013 episode of The Keyser Report, Max announced that he had become a Bitcoin millionaire.” As per Coin Bureau calculations, that means he held 25K BTC. Assuming he continued to buy, and bought a modest 5K more, his holdings are now worth $1B.

5.- Vitalik Buterin:

Ethereum’s co-founder starred in a Twitter public fight previously covered by NewsBTC. Vitalik’s Ethereum wallet address has been known since late 2018 when he shared it over Twitter in response to criticism over Ethereum’s pre-mine.” This key figure in the crypto industry now holds 334K ETH, which at today’s prices is approximately $1.5 B.

4.- The Winklevoss Broders

It’s public knowledge, the Winklevoss twins invested part of their Facebook settlement in a then-new idea. The story goes as follows, “While on Holyday in Ibiza in 2013, Tyler and Cameron learned about Bitcoin and subsequently decided to buy 1% of all the BTC in circulation.” With that, they founded the Gemini exchange, a key component of the crypto industry. Coin Bureau estimated that each twin holds “between 2-3 billion dollars in cryptocurrency, mostly Bitcoin.

3.- Chris Larsen

One of the biggest criticism that the crypto industry wields against Ripple is the incredible amounts of XRP that its founders and the organization hold. Well, “the third biggest crypto billionaire is Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen who holds anywhere between 5.2 and 7.8 billion XRP.” 

It’s worth noting that, “All XRP allocated to Ripple’s founders is subject to a vesting schedulle that will last untill 2026, assuming the SEC doesnt succed in its case against Ripple, in which case Chis’s XRP  will be unsellable by law.” It looks the other way so far, though. And the market seems to be supporting this turn of events.

2.- Sam Bankman-Fried

Did you know that FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried was in talks with Binance’s CZ to fund an exchange together before any of the two made it big? True story. Well, Bankman-Fried is the “founder of Alameda Research and the FTX cryptocurrency exchange.

Alameda Research made more money than god in an arbitrage trade. They figured out there was a premium hidden in Bitcoin’s prices in Japan. They bought in the U.S., sold in Japan, and made history. And a fortune. After that, “The FTX derivatives exchange is Sam’s second endevour, and it’s become one of the most popular crypto exchanges since it was founded in 2019.

A key part of the crypto industry, through FTX he’s helped launch very successful crypto projects. Plus, they have their own coin that has appreciated over time. Coin Bureau says, “Sam’s exact cryptocurrency holdings are not known, I estimate them to total anywhere between 5 and 10 billion dollars.

BNBUSDT price chart for 06/17/2021 - TradingView

BNB price chart on FTX | Source: BNB/USDT on

1.-  Changpeng Zhao

Even though CZ’s net worth is “listed at around 2 billion dollars,Coin Bureau investigated and made some controversial assumptions. First of all, after attending a crypto conference, “CZ subsequently decided to sell his apartment in Shanghai and go all-in on Bitcoin. If my calculations are correct this banked him anywhere between 50 to 100 thousand BTC.

The Bureau uncovered some articles in which CZ said that he likes to hold his fortune in crypto-assets, so they assume that he’s still holding to that. Years later, when Binance launched their own coin, 40% of BNBs initial minting of 100 million was allocated to the founding team. Again, the Bureau assumes he still has them, “CZ’s BNB holdings alone could easy be over 10 Billion Dollars at today’s prices.”

Related Reading | Changpeng Zhao Makes Super Bullish Case for Binance Coin

And that’s it, that’s their list. Do you think they forgot anyone in the crypto industry? Aren’t there even bigger whales in China? Are all of these people small potatoes compared to Satoshi Nakamoto himself? Let’s just take the list as a starting point and build on it.

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Reliving The FUD That Led To This Week’s Bitcoin Crash

It is the worst of times. It is the best of times. It is the age of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Nevertheless, Bitcoin’s fundamentals remain intact. The project’s value is still there, despite the disastrous drop in price. It was all going so well. How did we get here? Actually, there are a lot of valid reasons. Let’s review all of the causes that lead to this FUD.

As you know, everything started through Elon Musk’s fingertips…

Tesla’s “Environmental Concerns”

When Bitcoin was on its way up, Elon’s company gave it the push it needed. Tesla announced ownership of $1.5B worth of Bitcoin that, apparently, remain on its balance sheet. The crypto community celebrated the move, profits followed. The coin’s legitimization seemed to take a step forward. And then…

Inexplicably, Tesla announced they were not accepting BTC as a form of payment anymore. Despite wild speculation, no one knows what happened. In his tweeted announcement, Elon cited “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining” as the reason. Few people inside the crypto community believed it. Everyone outside of it did. And even though Tesla clarifies they didn’t sell any of their Bitcoin, the FUD set in. And retail investors started selling.

If you want to learn about Elon’s real views on the matter and about everything the crypto mining industry is doing regarding green energy, head over to Bitcoinist, our sister site.

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China’s Tightening Up Its Bitcoin Policies

This generated lots of FUD. The People’s Bank of China seemed to announce clear and unfavorable rules regarding cryptocurrencies. Yahoo Finance reports: 

“This is the latest chapter of China tightening the noose around crypto,” said Antoni Trenchev, managing partner and co-founder of Nexo in London, a crypto lender.

Virtual currencies should not and cannot be used in the market because they’re not real currencies, according to a notice posted on the PBOC’s official WeChat account. Financial and payments institutions are not allowed to price products or services with virtual currency, the notice said.

Nevertheless, as with most things on this list, the announcement didn’t amount to anything specific yet. 

BTC price chart on Bitstamp | Source: BTC/USD on

The US OCC Turns Its Eye To Cryptocurrencies

The newly announced Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Michael Hsu, revealed that the agency he presides, the Federal Reserve, and the FDIC are reviewing their policies on cryptocurrencies. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it might lead to clearer laws and stronger governmental support. Nevertheless, the FUD doesn’t mind that fact. 

Hsu’s statement to the Committee Of Financial Services reads:

Shortly after I started, I requested a review of key regulatory standards and matters pending before the agency. Those items include the 2020 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) final rule and associated NPR related to performance benchmarks, interpretative letters and guidance regarding cryptocurrencies and digital assets, and pending licensing decisions. For each, the review is considering a full range of internal and external views, the impact of changed circumstances, and a range of alternatives.

Binance Under Investigation

The US government turned its eye towards Binance. Apparently, blockchain investigator firm Chainalysis found a pattern. It showed a considerably higher percentage of funds from criminal enterprises flowed through Binance, compared to other exchanges. Bitcoin Magazine reports:

The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service (IRS), according to a report from Bloomberg.

“As part of the inquiry, officials who probe money laundering and tax offenses have sought information from individuals with insight into Binance’s business.”

Even though it’s just an inquiry and nothing might come of it, the FUD it generated within the community cannot be ignored. 

Related Reading | Market Sentiment Hits Low As Binance Has Largest Bitcoin Inflow Ever

India almost bans cryptocurrencies

A total crypto prohibition was on the table once again, but India’s lawmakers turned the ship at the last minute. Word on the street is that they’ll pass clearer regulatory laws instead. The Economic Times reports:

The central government may form a fresh panel of experts to study the possibility of regulating cryptocurrency in India, three sources privy of the discussions told ET. This comes amid the prevailing view that the recommendations by a committee headed by former finance secretary Subhash Garg in 2019 for a blanket ban on these assets had become outdated.

This new rumor arrived yesterday, but the FUD that a total ban inspires was around for a while. 

Is This A Coordinated Attack? Or Is The World Just Going Nuts?

We can’t confirm or deny this was a coordinated attack on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. Maybe the upper class, transnational corporations, and high rollers of all kinds want to buy your BTC at a discount. Market manipulation is as old as markets. But, maybe, this perfect storm of bad news is what happens when the best performing asset that the world has ever seen takes over the world’s headlines. All eyes turn to it, and all fingers start poking.


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