Blockchain technology isn’t just a complex theoretical gimmick from some overly brainy nerds from MIT; it is real and its application has already reaped dividends for both individuals and progressive institutions. In this article we will see who are these new bitcoin millionaires.
This article seeks to appreciate the immense potential that blockchain technology and digital currencies harbor by looking at some of the curious cases of men, whose unwavering faith in the technology led them to embrace a path that led them to the elite league of bitcoin millionaires.
How has Bitcoin helped distribute this wealth?
Cryptocurrencies provide an array of advantages that traditional currencies are still yet to live up to. The major advantages include complete decentralization which renders digital assets virtually free from the control of central authorities on top of evidently extremely faster and efficient transactions.
This along with the rise of exchanges and a range of applications that have made the technology easily available to most people with a basic internet connection has fueled unprecedented mainstream adoption in the past few years.
Leading business and financial entities have also taken the underlying technology on board which along with other factors have sent the value of cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, skyrocketing to unprecedented levels.
Early adopters, such as those who took an initiative to buy a small amount of bitcoin in its early days were the ones who benefited most as demonstrated by some of the popular tales around the internet where a tiny amount invested in Bitcoin became a seed that grew into a couple of millions, in US dollars.
5 millionaires for investing in bitcoin
Let’s begin by looking at individuals who have built their wealth solely by investing in Bitcoin.
Eric Finman presents an interesting example of a classic young Bitcoin millionaire who is reaping the fruits of delving into the blockchain technology in its early stage.
Unlike the usual shy and reserved millionaires in the crypto community, the young man born in 1998 is quite open and often time’s presents himself with an air of sarcasm around social media.
Instagram photos showing him in private jets and playing around with cash in his bedroom are a common encounter for his avid followers. One interesting caption bears the words:
“Cash so worthless compared to Bitcoin I’m sleeping on it …”
In another post, he shares a picture while holding a cigarette with a rather sarcastic thought saying that
“Sometimes you just need a good smoke to relax when you have to live with the exhausting burden of so much money and too many beautiful women.”
He later on refutes the trial statement by admitting that it wasn’t real cigarette while strongly advising against smoking.
When probed further regarding the cocky character he displays on social media, the young man said said that it is nothing more than a way of marketing himself and grab people’s interest in his ideas.
“You see the reaction to it, people go crazy. But that helps draw attention to the actual world-changing projects that I want to do.”
Finman was introduced to Bitcoin when he was taken to an Occupy Wall Street protest which was part of a larger “occupy movement” formed to fight against the dominance of large corporations and how they facilitate inequality in financial systems which are supposed to benefit everyone.
The exceeding potential of cryptocurrency attracted attention from the boy which later on led him to buy his first Bitcoin which at that time was priced at around $10.
A number of years after the initial acquisition, Bitcoin rose to around $1, 100. As the bull rally progressed, Finman went on to sell bitcoin amounting to $100,000.
Finman then later on used the money he earned to launch an educational business called Botangle which sought to link students to teachers through a video chat.
The business was an overnight success as Finman generated $1 million after which he officially dropped out of school. Later on in 2015, a buyer offered Finman a deal to choose between 300 bitcoins and $100,000 for Botangle. Finman then chose 300 bitcoins though Bitcoin was going bearish with a price tag of around 200 at that time.
Despite the volatility, the teenager still came out a winner as Bitcoin skyrocketed to unprecedented levels.
Kingsley advani is one of the famous beneficiaries of 2017’s amazing Bitcoin bullish rally that sent the cryptocurrency’s worth over $20,000. Advani took a head first plunge into the world of cryptocurrency by putting all his prized possessions on sale and drained the earnings together with his savings into various cryptocurrencies.
By the end of 2017, Avani had turned his 34 000 dollar investment into 7 figures. After a spell with a software development company which was enabling him to invest further into cryptocurrencies, he finally relieved himself from his work and became a full time investor and advisor. He currently holds assets in AELF, Aion, NEO among a myriad others.
Eddy Zillan’s story provides another instance of a how optimism combined with the willingness to learn from scratch can unleash the potential embedded in blockchain technology. Zillan was introduced to cryptocurrency trading at the age of 15 when he was virtually underage to start trading in exchanges such as Coinbase.
Nevertheless, Eddy overlooked and bypassed the age requirement to open an account on Coinbase exchange and Kraken with an initial investment of $100. Zillan was a bit reluctant to invest all his money as he was not confident enough in the profitability of the new venture considering that he had come to know it at first through the Silk Road website which was known for facilitating drug trading.
At this time, there weren’t as many sources of information as there are now on cryptocurrency, forcing Zillan to delve into trading without the blessing of knowledge from prior experience.
“At the time I invested, there were no YouTubers, there were no investors, and there was no one I could learn from,”
The first 24 hrs yielded a 10 percent profit translating into 10 dollars which led him to increase his investment to $12,000 which was basically all the savings he had from coaching tennis. In a year, his assets had increased in value to about $350, 000 before skyrocketing further to over 1 million.
Ian Balina is another renowned investor and advisor on blockchain technology who jumped off an established and promising career to delve into the space on a full time basis.
Before blockchain and cryptocurrencies, Balina graduated from George Washington University with a first degree and masters in computer engineering and later on joined IBM as an analyst.
His career with IBM was decorated with sheer success as evidenced by the numerous accolades including being included in the elite IBM hundred per cent club. Balina exited IBM after four years to become a full time blockchain evangelist and cryptocurrency investor.
Most of Balina’s success in cryptocurrencies comes from investments in ICO’s with the unique “moneyball” approach termed “token metrics”. The token metrics is a system that uses points to evaluate viability of various ICO’s, and Balina employed it expertly to accumulate substantial gains over time. The gains are evident from records on a google spreadsheet which he made public.
Kristoffer Koch’s story has intrigued crypto enthusiasts across the globe due to the theme of an “accidental millionaire” it carries. Nevertheless, though it is very unlikely that this could happen to more than 5 people, it still displays the enormous potential of cryptocurrencies thus inspiring hope in the ardent crypto follower.
The story goes back to 2009 when Koch was trying to come up with his Master’s Thesis focusing on encryption technology. As he buried himself into books and research papers trying to make his thesis stronger, he stumbled across an interesting and new currency known as Bitcoin.
Amazed by the underlying encryption concept and associated possibilities, he decided to have fun and spend a little money to purchase some of the Bitcoin at $26. After the acquisition, Koch forgot about the asset until 2013 when Bitcoin started gaining traction in the media.
Upon realizing that the price was soaring to great heights, Koch decided to check on the forgotten treasure. After a determined effort to recover the forgotten password, Koch finally managed to access his account to find out that the he had bought about 5000 Bitcoins which at the time had a value of $886,000.
After buying an apartment, Koch reinvested some of the money in cryptocurrency to take advantage of the soaring values which effectively transformed the computer engineer into a renowned bitcoin millionaire.
Top 5 Bitcoin millionaires According to Forbes
Now let us have a look at the rare breed which have exceeded expectations to earn their slot in the highly esteemed Forbes list.
Changpeng Zhao will go down in history as founder of the largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume provided there isn’t any advent of an equally gigantic cryptocurrency exchange in the future.
Born in China, Zhao was forced to move to Canada as a boy due to his father being exiled from the country as one of the intellectuals whose ideologies were no longer tolerated. Zhao then proceeded with his education by going through McGill University in Canada where he came out later with a degree in Computer Science. After graduating, Zhao worked for several highly esteemed business entities including the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Bloomberg Tradebook, Fusion systems, before moving to Okcoin as chief technology officer.
In 2017, Zhao quit working with OKcoin and established a new cryptocurrency exchange known as Binance. After a successful ICO which raised about 15 million dollars, the exchange was officially launched and grew to become the largest exchange by daily trading volume in less than a year.
In 2023, CZ was forced out of his position as CEO of Binance amid a lawsuit by the exchange against the SEC. Despite this, Zhao remains among the 200 richest people in the world according to Forbes, with a net worth of $10.5 billion.
Jed McCaleb is a programmer and entrepreneur in the cryptocurrency space, known for his pivotal role in the creation of several important platforms according to Forbes, his net worth is US$2.4 billion. He was the co-founder of Ripple, a cryptocurrency and payment network, where he played an essential role in the development of the consensus protocol. Subsequently, McCaleb was also involved in the creation of Stellar, another blockchain platform that focuses on facilitating cross-border payments and financial inclusion.
His impact on the cryptocurrency world goes beyond project creation. McCaleb was also the creator of the cryptocurrency exchange platform Mt. Gox in 2010, which at the time was the leading Bitcoin exchange platform.
Chris Larsen is known as a figure who led the cryptocurrency community into Forbes 400 list when he made it onto the list in 2018. According to Forbes, Larsen was ranked on position 383 and draws most people’s attention as the first tycoon Tobe feature on the list with all his assets in the form of cryptocurrencies.
Forbes calculated the net worth of Larsen to be $2.2 billion. Larsen is a cofounder of Ripple, and as the networks pioneer, he managed to amass over 5.19 billion Ripple token since the networks establishment in 2012.
Larsen’s fortune is considered volatile due to the volatile nature of the underlying asset, which is Ripple, and this is evidenced in the rapidly decreasing net worth when compared to the value established by Forbes magazine.
Brian Armstrong, the founder and CEO of Coinbase, the leading cryptocurrency exchange platform in the United States, has accumulated an estimated fortune of $2.2 billion in 2023, always taking into account the ranking prepared by Forbes magazine, considering his investments and participation in Coinbase shares.
Armstrong’s vision and leadership have been fundamental to Coinbase’s success, consolidating him as a leading figure in the world of cryptocurrencies. His role has been crucial in Coinbase’s growth and expansion, contributing significantly to its prominent position in the market.
Cameron & Tyler Winklevoss
The Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler, represent a pair that is well known in the cryptocurrency industry as both investors and strong advocates of the underlying blockchain technology. The twin’s net worth is rated at about $1.2 billion each.
The twins came into fame a few years ago when they took Facebook to the law by accusing its founder for stealing what was originally there idea. The brothers were compensated by stocks and cash worth $65 million.
The twins started there crypto investments in 2012 and have witnessed much of the roller-coaster ride seen by crypto markets in the past few years. The brothers went on to establish the well-known Gemini exchange which allows users to exchange both fiat and cryptocurrencies.