Thanks to the bear trend of 2018, the number of crypto billionaires has dwindled. Although it’s impossible to know exactly how many of these mega whales remain, there are several blockchain leaders who are still worth 10 figures.
Because the ownership of wallet addresses is not really public knowledge, except in the case of the largest exchanges, we don’t know the actual number of crypto billionaires. However, a report in December 2017 from MSN Money estimated that there were between 35 and 200 crypto billionaires. With the current market value sitting at $140 billion, only a few of those whales are known, thanks to their celebrity status in the crypto industry.
How many crypto billionaires are out there?
It’s a given that an industry worth $140 billion includes some billionaires. These people have a large influence on the market, regardless of whether they take a passive or active stance in the media. Thanks to the boom at the end of 2017, the number of crypto billionaires probably reached its peak late last year.
Of course, 2018 has seen a prolonged bear trend, with the industry losing a lot of its value. However, according to data from Bitinfo Chart, there are still a number of Bitcoin billionaire accounts. The top 100 wallet addresses hold 18.92 percent of the entire industry’s supply of BTC. In December 2017, an anonymous Bitinfo Chart rep told MSN Money:
“There may actually be as many as 200 Bitcoin billionaires, and possibly no fewer than 35.”
Although the market has experienced an extreme downfall in terms of prices, 35 is probably a plausible estimate. However, the potential that there could be 200 crypto billionaires is now mathematically impossible. Currently, the overall market cap stands at $140 billion, making even 100 billionaires a high estimate.
Difficulties in deciphering the number of billionaires
There are two main factors that obscure the real number of crypto billionaires. The first is the privacy features most crypto networks offer. Apart from address codes, personal wallet and account details are not available to the general public. As the anonymous Bitinfo Chart representative stated, billionaires spread their coins across numerous wallets for security reasons.
An additional obstacle in determining the exact number of crypto billionaires is the price fluctuations of digital assets. The change in total market cap proves this; its value has plunged by almost 80 percent from the beginning of 2018. Thus, anyone keeping BTC in a wallet would see those coins decline in value as well. Similarly, when crypto experiences a massive bull run, the number of billionaires would increase accordingly.
Furthermore, blockchain heavyweights – such as Wu Jihan with BCH and the Winklevoss twins with Gemini’s GUSD – probably keep a vast supply of BTC and their own tokens. Their wealth depends on the demand reflected in terms of daily trading volume.
Well-known industry billionaires
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss – the twins who own Gemini exchange – are two of the earliest crypto whales. Cumulatively, they are worth about $1 billion. Chris Larsen is a co-founder of Ripple who supposedly holds $8 billion worth of crypto. The CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, saw his company rise to the top of the crypto exchange industry, pushing his wealth to $1.4 billion. Coinbase’s Brian Armstrong is a more recent entry, accumulating $1 billion through his company’s expansion.
Wu Jihan of Bitmain is the owner of the largest mining equipment producer in the crypto world, with a net worth of $2.38 billion. His partner, Micree Zhan – Bitmain’s co-founder and co-CEO – is less famous but richer. He owns 36.58 percent of the company, while Wu’s stake is 20.5 percent, making Zhan’s share worth at least $2.9 billion. In terms of investors, Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin owns approximately $1.5 billion in cryptocurrency.
With many uncertainties in the blockchain industry, only a few individuals are legitimately part of the crypto billionaires club. Most of these people got rich by creating top cryptocurrency systems and/or exchange platforms. These notable names have a lot of influence on the market, and their business decisions can have widespread ramifications.