The economic meltdown of 2008 was definitely not just another crisis in history. It was the year we started paying closer attention to the world of finance, and the year that crypto-currencies (Bitcoin as the pioneer) started wedging themselves into the minds of entrepreneurs and investors.
People were looking for a new way of keeping their assets secure and outside of the human-controlled mainstream fiat currency system.
Nearly instantly, in January of 2009, the Bitcoin network sprung into existence – its concept based on the paper published by a person hiding behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. The goal was to create an apolitical substitute for the gold standard. A “currency that was impervious to unpredictable monetary policies as well as to the predations of bankers and politicians.”
The cryptocurrency craze started snowballing and the term “mining” was adopted when referring to the work done by the computers to repeatedly verify and work on transactions within the system – thus keeping it consistent, complete and unalterable.
The maximum number of coins that can ever be “released” (because the supply is controlled by the protocol) is just shy of 21 million, but their value has changed drastically through time. And that is where smart investing comes in and pays off immensely.
Those who got in early could see themselves going from regular Joe to millionaire through mining, investing and dealing with digital currencies.
These 10 people are the top examples of how to get rich by jumping on the right train in the right time:
10. Gavin Andersen – $2 Million
this is like better gold than gold
The man who was the face behind Bitcoin for years and one of the founders of Bitcoin Foundation and leader of the network “Bitcoin Core”. One of the most important figures in the development of the cryptocurrency community, his net worth is estimated at $2 million.
He was once paid over 200,000 by the Bitcoin Foundation for his contributions. Of course, he accepted that payment in bitcoin. Andersen also speculated that Bitcoin would require less maintenance as time goes on.
Appointed as Nakamoto’s “successor” of sorts in 2010, he still maintains the source code of Bitcoin.
9. Yifu Guo – $5 Million
Proof of concept that you don’t need to even deal with Bitcoins daily to make money off of them. How can that be?
Well, Guo started off as a student at NYU, but dropped out to work on designing the first application-specific integrated circuit(ASIC) miner manufacturing company for Bitcoin named Avalon.
His chips were 50 times faster at computing than the popular graphics cards – for the specific stuff that Bitcoin mining required.
Guo couldn’t even meet the demand at the time – he was selling mining machines as soon as they came out of manufacturing. This landed him a top 10 place with a net worth of around $5 million.
8. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss – $11 Million
These New York born twins won the media spotlight after entering a legal battle with a giant – Mark Zuckerberg. The twin “Davids” sued the Facebook “Goliath” for allegedly stealing their ConnectU idea to create the popular social networking site Facebook.
Their net worth is over $400 million and in 2013, they’d claimed a 1% ownership of all bitcoins that were in existence – a whopping figure and sound investment.
They claim to have invested over $11 million in Bitcoin and even started their own Bitcoin exchange – Gemini – in 2015.
7. Tony Gallippi – $20 Million
The co-founder of the most popular service for the practical use of Bitcoin, which is – payments. His company, BitPay, founded in 2011, was one of the first that provided checkout services for the increasingly popular cryptocurrency.
His company processes millions of dollars daily, and has dealt with integrating Bitcoin as a payment option for many major retail businesses.
All of this resulted in his net worth being around $20 million today, with no sign of slowing down any time soon.
6. Jered Kenna – $30 Million
This ‘poor guy’ had a portion of his Bitcoin riches stolen in a masterfully executed hacking operation. His hacked phone number was used as a weak spot. Kenna did make several crucial security mistakes concerning his setup (keeping all coins on one hard drive, using insecure SMS two-factor authentication, etc).
Just seven minutes after being locked out of his first account, Kenna was shut out of of up to 30 others, including two banks, PayPal, two bitcoin services – and, crucially, his Windows account, which was the key to his PC.
No one knows exactly what this ex-marine’s net worth is but it’s estimated at around $30 million. Despite the ‘win some, lose some’, that alone earns him a place in the top 10.
As an early investor, he bought his first batch when the price was just $0.2 per coin. Later on, he sold them at $258 each, and followed up with more batches after that.
5. Dave Carlson – $35 Million
We now split our available power across about four or five primary blockchains and operate over 1,700 GPUs
With an estimated worth of $35 million, Carslon made his fortune through plain old fashioned mining.
From his basement, he started a company called MegaBigPower (a name worthy of the equipment it houses), after which he supersized his mining operation to a 2000 square foot warehouse which mines almost 24/7 on an industrial scale.
Giga Watt, a blockchain hosting and servicing center for mining hardware acquired MegaBigPower with Carlson appointed as CEO. He claimed that in 2016, he made $8 million per month. You do the math.
4. Charlie Shrem – $45 Million
Shrem is one of many who has made money through early adoption buy/sell. But he went a step further and engaged the community in a way that eased acquisition and trading in Bitcoins.
With Gareth Nelson, he used his newly acquired funds to start up a company called BitInstant in 2011. The NY startup provided a means to rapidly pay traditional funds to bitcoin exchanges.
As of 2014. the company is defunct, and Shrem was sentenced to two years in prison for “aiding and abetting the operation of an unlicensed money-transmitting business related to the Silk Road marketplace.”
According to his story, he didn’t know that money used for illegal transactions, and he felt that prosecutors are pursuing him out of a fear that Bitcoin could shift economic power.
With a worth of $45 million, he’s not popular in the community without reason. Shrem also served as Vice Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation and is close friends with Roger Ver. Speaking of Roger Ver…
3. Roger Ver – $52 Million
This $52 million crypto heavyweight is an investor and innovator that served to immensely popularize the currency and bring in new people in the community.
Charlie Shrem’s “BitInstant” was his first investment, and the one that multiplied his riches to the point where he was sharing his wealth left and right.
He’s one of the five founders of the Bitcoin Foundation in which he invested a substantial amount of money.
In late 2013. he donated more than $1 million in Bitcoin to the Foundation for Economic Education and more than $20k to antiwar.com – a libertarian website.
No wonder then, that this angel investor is known in the community as ‘Bitcoin Jesus’.
2. Ross Ulbricht – $100 Million
The man that made crypto-news for bringing Bitcoin to the same basket as drug trade and online black markets, Ulbricht (AKA ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’) was accused and convicted of being the creator of Silk Road.
Silk Road was used through the Tor network which provided some fashion of anonymity for the site and its users by masking IP addresses. It’s currency of choice – Bitcoin.
The transactions ranged from harmless stuff to drug trade and assassin hiring. This attracted well paying customers and before the coin worth even hit $1000 per coin, Dread Pirate Roberts was a millionaire several times over.
His Bitcoin wallet was worth $100 million dollars and it now belongs to the FBI. Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison for money laundering, hacking, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics.
1. “Satoshi Nakamoto” – $1.1 Billion
The person who started it all. The author of the original paper. The first Bitcoin miner. $1.1 billion dollars in Bitcoin under his/her pseudonym.
And no one knows Nakamoto’s true identity. Maybe it’s a think tank of sorts instead of one person? Many have speculated, but no theory has been cemented yet, fortunately for Nakamoto.
Even Gavin Andersen was involved in the identity hunt when he published on his blog that Craig Wright, Aussie computer scientist and businessman was behind the mask. A decision he later said he regretted.
Since Craig Wright was apparently part of an elaborate hoax, the hunt for the real Satoshi continues.
It could be this guy, but then again, the article was posted on April 1st, so that’s one thing to consider. Be careful about trusting what you read online.