Number of Crypto Billionaires Growing Quickly

  • The crypto billionaire’s club is expanding fast.
  • The number of crypto billionaires will likely keep accelerating.
  • This could have broader societal and economic implications.

Nineteen billionaires from the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector have made it on the Forbes World’s Billionaires list this year. This number has grown by 7 since last year, which implies an annual growth of over 58%. Eight of these 19 billionaires, or 42%, made their fortune with centralized exchanges. We expect this number to keep growing as cryptocurrencies increasingly become mainstream and the price of Bitcoin keeps rising. As we argued elsewhere, the rise of Bitcoin and crypto billionaires could usher in an era of wealthy people who value freedom, privacy and property rights. These values could then trickle down into the other commercial and philanthropic activities they pursue.

The person topping the list, Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao, has also become the 19th richest person in the world, according to the Forbes ranking, with an estimated wealth of $65bn. This wealth was accumulated in just under 5 years and may be higher than the figure reported as his holdings of BNB coins is unknown. Binance is estimated to be worth around $92.5bn and is responsible for an estimated two-thirds of the $14tn worth of transactions handled by centralized exchanges in 2021. The second place was taken by FTX’s 30-year old Sam Bankman-Fried followed by Coinbase’s Brian Armstrong. In light of the breakneck speed at which the sector is evolving, it is likely that the opportunity to amass immense wealth in the sector may still be at its very beginnings. As the industry matures, new companies will disrupt an increasing amount of existing industries, which will create new wealth.

The number of billionaires who made their fortune in Bitcoin and the broader cryptocurrency sector is likely to keep growing and accelerating. This new class of billionaires is likely to espouse the principles of freedom and privacy, which they may try to propagate in the other ventures they undertake.

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