The recent developments in the crypto-market space showed that cryptocurrencies can act as an important store of value in times of uncertainty, such as during the coronavirus pandemic. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that the number of bitcoin millionaires are rising like never before.
In fact, according to recent studies by Glassnode – a crypto-analytic firm – there are currently over 18,000 bitcoin millionaires with addresses that contain more than $1 million worth of bitcoin.
The number of accounts that hold more than 1,000 bitcoins – also known as bitcoin whales – is growing at a steady pace in recent years. And with bitcoin continuing to hold above the $10,000 psychological support level, more investors will likely feel attracted to invest in the largest cryptocurrency in the world.
The following table, derived from bitinfocharts.com, shows how many addresses contain how much worth of bitcoins. There are almost 18,000 addresses worth more than 1,000,000 USD, and a whopping 2,362 addresses with more than 10,000,000 worth of bitcoins. In fact, one single address currently holds more than 225,000 bitcoin, which is more than 1% of the total coins in circulation, worth around $2.5 billion.
Here’s a list of the most famous bitcoin millionaires. Note that many of the names in the list didn’t get rich solely by holding bitcoins, but also made smart investment decisions after their crypto-holdings skyrocketed in value. Many of the people have now become successful crypto-entrepreneurs, with ventures ranging from trading exchanges and hedge funds to educational and advisory services.
1. Erik Finman
Not only one of the most famous, but also one of the youngest bitcoin millionaires is Erik Finman. He bought $1,000 worth of bitcoin at the age of 12, back in 2011 when the price of one bitcoin was between $10 and $12.
Since 2011, Erik Finman has grown his bitcoin holdings to nearly 450, worth around $4.7 million as of September 2020. Not only did Erik become a millionaire at the age of 18, but he was also investing in other cryptocurrency-related ventures. One of his famous new projects is the creation of a new cryptocurrency that should become the main competitor of Facebook’s forthcoming Libra cryptocurrency.
Erik Finman grew up in Post Falls in Idaho as the youngest of three brothers and came across the world of cryptocurrency on a protest following the 2008 financial crisis. A man was wearing a bitcoin shirt, and Finman asked the man what bitcoin was. ‘Man, I think it’s gonna end Wall Street, all the corruption, and all the bad things.’
Soon after the protest, Finman researched cryptocurrencies himself and decided to invest the first $1,000 in bitcoin. He had a deal with his parents to be able to skip college, provided he turns $1,000 in cash into $1 million.
2. Dan Morehead
Morehead is a former Goldman Sachs trader who founded Pantera Capital, one of the world’s first investment companies focuses exclusively on cryptocurrencies. In 2013, Morehead’s Pantera Capital launched its first crypto fund, making the firm one of the largest institutional owners of cryptocurrencies in the world. His firm has provided investors more than 24,000% return since its launch, helping Morehead reaching a net worth of around $200 million.
Besides investing directly into cryptocurrencies, Pantera Capital also supports other businesses that are related to the crypto-market, such as exchanges and coin trading services. Some notable investments include Polychain Capital, Bitstamp, and Augur.
Morehead is also on the board of Bitstamp, a major cryptocurrency trading exchange. Prior to his ventures in the crypto-space, Morehead co-founded and was CEO of Atriax, a foreign exchange platform, head of macro trading and CEO at Tiger Management, global head of FX options at Deutsche Bank in London, and managed derivatives trading units across North America and Japan at Bankers Trust.
To some readers, Morehead might also be known as the man who predicted that bitcoin would reach $40,000 by the end of 2019. Although this never happened, Morehead continued to provide predictions and price-targets on his social media accounts, including bitcoin breaking the $100,000 mark by the end of 2021, and some alt-coins growing 100x in the next five years.
3. Andrew Hamilton
With an estimated $200 million worth of cryptocurrency, Andrew Hamilton is among those who own the most bitcoin in the world. He’s the founder of cryptocurrency trading platforms Coupit and Rubix, which have had significant success in the crypto-space.
Hamilton worked at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as a stock and commodities broker for more than 10 years, which gave him the skills and experience to launch his own crypto-related businesses. His background in e-commerce has also helped him in his bitcoin ventures as he recognized the importance of providing a bitcoin payment system for international clients on various e-commerce websites.
4. Kingsley Advani
Another bitcoin investor, Kingsley Advani became a bitcoin millionaire with just 24 years. He invested around $34,000 in cryptocurrencies during the boom phase, which helped him turn his investment into more than a million dollars within 6 months.
Following his success with his crypto investments, Advani quit his job at a software company and started traveling the world and working as an advisor. He invested part of his bitcoin earnings into educational startups, which helped him reach a net worth of over $5 million.
Advani is also active on social media networks and runs a popular investment blog. He’s currently invested in more than 100 companies.
5. Tony Gallippi
Tony Gallippi is one of the earliest entrepreneurs in the crypto-space. He cofounded BitPay in 2011, a site that allowed merchants to sell goods and services for bitcoin. The website grew significantly during the first year, with the number of merchants rising from 100 to 1,100.
The success of the venture has also been accelerated due to the backing of high-level investors, such as Virgin Group, Yahoo, and Index Ventures, helping Gallippi to amass a net worth of $20 million. BitPay is currently the largest bitcoin checkout processor globally, with WordPress also becoming a merchant on the website. Gallippi also helped broker a deal with WooCommerce, which would help with bitcoin payments on Amazon.com.
6. Winklevoss Twins
Perhaps the most popular faces among bitcoin millionaires are the Winklevoss twins, Tyler and Cameron. The two identical twins were American rowers and competed in the men’s pair rowing event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They’re also known for cofounding ConnectU. In 2008, the Winklevoss twins settled for $65 million in a case against Mark Zuckerberg, who was sued for stealing the ConnectU idea to create Facebook in 2004.
Tyler and Cameron invested most of the money into bitcoin, which helped them own nearly 1% of all bitcoin in existence in 2013. As of 2020, the twins’ net worth was estimated at $1.8 billion.
The brothers are also known for founding a bitcoin-based exchange-traded fund (ETF), called Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust in 2013. However, the fund was denied in March 2017. In 2014, they launched Gemini, a popular cryptocurrency exchange website that is ranked 3433 globally according to Alexa.
7. Roger Ver
Roger Ver is one of the earliest investors in bitcoin and serves as the executive chairman of Bitcoin.com. Also known as “Bitcoin Jesus” for his promotion of cryptocurrencies, the estimated net worth of Roger Ver is $520 million. Recently, Ver has been actively promoting Bitcoin Cash.
Ver started investing in bitcoin in early 2011 and diversified his portfolio with investments into crypto-startups, such as Ripple, Blockchain.info, Bitpay, and Kraken. Ver’s company Memorydealers was one of the first companies to accept payments in bitcoin in 2011.
Roger Ver is also a prominent supporter of libertarianism, a movement that seeks to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing individualism and freedom of choice. In 2000, he attempted to enter politics by running for California State Assembly as a Libertarian Party candidate. He also supports the idea of cryptocurrencies replacing major fiat currencies.
8. Ian Balina
Ian Balina is a popular cryptocurrency investor and self-made millionaire who has founded several multi-million dollar businesses from the ground up. As a result, he has been featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Huffington Post, and TechCrunch.
He became famous for his Token Metrics company, a data-driven investment research company for investors who want to invest in cryptocurrencies. According to the company’s website, Token Metrics uses artificial intelligence to create crypto indices, rankings, and price predictions to help investors in building profitable crypto portfolios.
His bitcoin wallet has been allegedly hacked in 2018, with around $2 million worth of bitcoin stolen from his account. However, it looks like the incident hasn’t slowed down his success.
9. Barry Silbert
Barry Silbert is the founder of Digital Currency Group and an active investor in various blockchain-related startups. He was featured in Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40” list and has received several individual honors including “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young. His company, DCG, has been an important seed investor with over 50 investments in 15 countries, including BitGo, BitPay, BitPagos, BitPesa, Circle, Coinbase, Kraken, and Xapo, to name a few.
In addition to the Digital Currency Group, Silbert also founded the Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT), which acts like a private, open-ended trust. The shares of the Bitcoin Investment Trust derive their value solely from the price of bitcoin, which allows investors and traders to get exposure to the price of the cryptocurrency without having to buy and store actual bitcoins.
Prior to founding the Digital Currency Group, Barry worked as an investment banker at Houlihan Lokey and graduated from the Goizueta Business School.
10. Olaf Carlsson-Wee
One could argue that Olaf’s entire career has ties with cryptocurrencies. In college, he wrote his thesis on bitcoin and the technology behind it, and he also invested his entire savings in cryptocurrencies. Olaf turned $14,000 of his savings into a $150 million fortune by investing right before bitcoin’s staggering bull market. He was also the first employee at Coinbase, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges.
After a few years in the crypto-space, Olaf founded a hedge fund based on blockchain, called Polychain Capital. The fund manages blockchain projects and secured over $800 million in funding after earning investors a whopping 2,303% return in 2017. However, the recent bear market in cryptocurrencies pushed the value of the fund lower to around $300 million.