Today, over 100 million people own Bitcoin, the world's first cryptocurrency. However, while crypto ownership is widespread, it is far from evenly distributed. In fact, less than 1% of Bitcoin owners harbor almost a third of the current supply. But, who are these Bitcoin billionaires, and how much do they own?
1. Satoshi Nakamoto
Satoshi Nakamoto is a little different from everyone else on this list, in that no one actually knows who they are. Instead, this is the name used for the anonymous individual (or individuals) who created Bitcoin and was responsible for kick-starting crypto and hugely influencing the world today.
Many people have claimed to be the true founder of Bitcoin, including Craig Wright, who won a huge lawsuit after being accused of cheating an old mining companion out of billions in crypto. But the jury never reached a verdict on whether he was indeed the inventor of Bitcoin.
Nakamoto created Bitcoin in 2009, and it has been reported that they have mined a total of 1,125,150 BTC tokens since then, making them the most productive BTC miner in the world. Furthermore, it is claimed that Nakamoto kept just over half of this, equating to almost $30 billion in USD today. This would make them the wealthiest Bitcoin owner in the world.
2. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss
Brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss secured their names in the crypto industry as the founders of Gemini, a widely popular cryptocurrency exchange, and Winklevoss Capital, an angel investment firm. They're also known for their conflict with Mark Zuckerberg over the creation of Facebook, from which they received a legal settlement of $65 million. Either way, these two have a big stake in the tech industry.
In 2013, the two announced that they owned $11 million in crypto through their investment firm, back when it was worth a fraction of what it's worth today. They also invested in BlockFi, another crypto exchange, in 2019. The brothers held onto their Bitcoin through the years and saw their patience pay off when the crypto industry boomed in 2020. Today, the Winklevoss twins own around $6 billion in Bitcoin.
3. Barry Silbert
As the founder and CEO of conglomerate Digital Currency Group (DCG), Barry Silbert's goal is to build and support blockchain-based developments. This conglomerate includes various companies, including a liquidity provider and investment firm. DCG has invested in over 200 crypto start-ups and has even managed to acquire CoinDesk, a leading crypto news provider, and Coinbase, a hugely popular cryptocurrency exchange.
With such a focus on crypto, anyone could guess that Silbert would own his own digital assets. Though it is unknown exactly how much Bitcoin Silbert himself owns, one of his companies, Greyscale, a digital currency investing firm, manages an investment vehicle that holds over 650,000 Bitcoin. This amounts to over $25 billion in USD.
4. Tim Draper
Tim Draper is an American venture capital investor and founder of Draper University. Since the 1980s, Draper has been making early investments in companies that have become industry mammoths, such as Tesla, Skype, and Coinbase. But it's his early investment in Bitcoin that's secured him as a crypto billionaire.
In 2014, Draper bought 30,000 Bitcoin for $19 million at an auction after it was seized from the illegal Silk Road online marketplace. While this may seem like a lofty investment, it certainly paid off for Tim. Today, this amount of Bitcoin is worth over a billion dollars, and Draper is praised for being a savvy early investor.
5. Sam Bankman-Fried
FTX is another big player in the crypto exchange game, and its founder has certainly made a buck through cryptocurrency. Sam Bankman-Fried graduated from MIT in 2014 and founded FTX five years later. He also founded a crypto trading firm called Alameda Research in 2017. From here, the sky was the limit for Fried, and he quickly began to accumulate crypto funds.
But it wasn't until 2018 that Fried even began buying Bitcoin, and he isn't even a huge advocate for the digital currency itself. The goal for Fried is making money and impacting the industry, and crypto has certainly shown him an open door. Fried's current net worth sits at an incredible $22.5 billion, and he is thought to be the richest person in crypto next to the elusive Satoshi Nakamoto.
6. Michael J. Saylor
Like Tim Draper, Michael J. Saylor's story didn't begin with crypto. Saylor co-founded MicroStrategy in 1989, a company that provides various software programs and cloud-based services to a wide range of clients. However, during the dot-com bubble, MicroStrategy lost a devastating $6 billion, almost collapsing entirely.
Saylor took a gamble in 2019 and began making large Bitcoin investments. He now owns over 17,700 Bitcoin, with MicroStrategy itself owning over 120,000. This currently amounts to almost $4.8 billion. Saylor's risky investment truly paid off and has made him something of a Bitcoin icon.
7. Brian Armstrong
Along with his business partner Fred Ehrsam, Brian Armstrong founded Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange, in 2012. Coinbase now stands as one of the world's most popular crypto exchanges, with around 73 million users worldwide.
Though Ehrsam stepped back from the company in 2017, Armstrong remains as its CEO, holding a 19% stake which amounts to around $10 billion. Though no one knows exactly how much Bitcoin Armstrong has, it is thought to be a considerable amount, and his overall crypto holdings have made him one of the wealthiest people in America.
8. Gavin Andresen
Gavin Andresen was a true early investor in Bitcoin. Shortly after it was launched in 2009, Andresen bought 10,000 BTC for a shocking $50. Some even believe that Bitcoin was Andresen's idea in the first place and that he is the real Satoshi Nakamoto. Andresen denies this, though he claims he is in fact friends with the real Nakamoto.
But Andresen was responsible for developing crypto into what it is today after Nakamoto suddenly disappeared. Nakamoto chose Andresen as the successor of Bitcoin, and he began working on fixing any design flaws, and perfecting the crypto's infrastructure.
The Bitcoin Foundation also paid Andresen over $200,000 in Bitcoin at the time for his contribution, which would now be worth billions. So it's safe to say that he stands as one of the world's top Bitcoin billionaires and one of the crypto's key developers.
Bitcoin Is Sure to Make More Billionaires in The Future
Though the crypto market is always shifting between highs and lows, there's no doubt that its continued growth will lead to more huge profits for both lucky and savvy investors in the future. The next Draper or Andresen may not have bought a single token yet! Only time will tell which buyers will hit headlines next and which coins will lead them to success.