As the world of cryptocurrencies and Blockchain continues to evolve at a rapid pace, for those who are making their first steps in the field or want to, the first step is to immediately follow the top names in the crypto world. This is not simply to be well informed about the latest developments in the world of crypto, what’s changing and where things are heading, but also to identify discerning patterns that make cryptocurrency investors successful. An investment capital is nice to have, but it is also vital to know where and how to invest it. Perhaps the most illustrious and instructive example is that of the famous (or infamous) Winklevoss Twins: they used their settlement money from Facebook and invested over $11 million in Bitcoin, which they held on to, even as it fell. By 2017, they became the world’s first Bitcoin billionaires, and founded the cryptocurrency exchange, Gemini.
21 of the most influential people in the crypto world:
1) Vitalik Buterin
Programmer, entrepreneur, co-founder of the Ethereum project and of Bitcoin Magazine. After months of experimenting with different crypto projects, Buterin introduced the Ethereum project in 2014, after which he published a white paper detailing the design and reasoning behind the Ethereum protocol. In that same year, the sale of the first Ethereum tokens (Ether) took place, along with the creation of the Ethereum Foundation and the first DEVCON, which gathered Ethereum developers from all over the world. In addition to continuing to lead the Ethereum group, Vitalik Buterin contributes to other open-source projects, including Bitcoin wallet Kryptokit, Dark Wallet and crypto marketplace Egora.
2) Nick Szabo
Computer scientist, cryptographer and legal expert. Credited with creating the concept of smart contracts, self-executing contracts that contain the terms of agreement between parties directly in the code. Co-created a method to send Bitcoin transactions over radio signals, that would allow people to bypass possible Internet exchange restrictions. Was speculated to be the person behind the supposed nom de plume, Satoshi Nakamoto, although he denied it.
3) Erik Voorhees
Entrepreneur, former head of Marketing at BitInstant. Founder of SatoshiDice and FEedZeBird. CEO and founder of ShapeShift, a cryptocurrency exchange. Also co-founder and former CEO of Coinapult, a company that allows the transfer of Bitcoin through mobile SMS text messages & via email.
4) Mark Andreessen
Bitcoin advocate since its early days. Software Engineer & Entrepreneur, co-founder of the first web browser, Mosaic, Netscape, later sold to AOL. Was an angel investor for several tech companies, including Twitter, and invests in tech and innovation companies. Co-founder and general partner of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
5) Nicholas Cary
Philanthropist, founder of blockchain.info, owner of blockchain.com, a leading Bitcoin software company. Co-founder of Youth Business USA, a non-profit youth business accelerator. Won the 2015 European Digital Leader award for inspirational & innovative contributions to initiating progress in the digital world.
6) Jed McCaleb
Entrepreneur, Co-founder of eDonkey, Mt. Gox BItcoin exchange platform, co-founder of Ripple and Stellar, a universal financial network. Also serves as an advisor to MIRI (Machine Intelligence Research Institute)
7) Gavin Andersen
Developer and Chief Scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation, which he helped set up. Formerly a chief developer of Bitcoin. Inherited the position of chief maintainer of the Bitcoin source code from Satoshi Nakamoto, before the latter retreated into anonymity. Backed a claim by developer Craig Wright that the latter was the person behind the alias Satoshi Nakamoto.
8) Andreas M. Antonopolous
Bitcoin entrepreneur, public speaker, advisor to cryptocurrency firms and author of The Internet of Money and Mastering Bitcoin, a popular Bitcoin learning guide, as well as articles on cryptocurrencies. Widely known as the “ambassador of Bitcoin.” Mr. Antonopoulos is a host on a podcast called “Let’s Talk Bitcoin.” Additionally, he founded several Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency businesses, to which he also served as advisor, and was named as a teaching fellow at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, in its Digital Currency MA program.
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/aantonop
9) Willy Woo
Cryptocurrency analyst, Bitcoin investor and blogger, holder of a BA in Engineering. In addition to writing on a regular basis in publications such as Forbes or Coindesk about cryptocurrency investment, also speaks at conferences around the world. An angel investor engaged with crypto startup companies, the latest of which is Fomonomics, which provide tools for crypto investors and traders.
10) Charles (Charlie) Lee
Programmer & Entrepreneur, former Director of Engineering at Coinbase. Created the crypto token Litecoin during his tenure at Google, as an engineer. Left Coinbase to focus full-time on Litecoin. Before working at Google, Lee was an engineer for several companies, and has a BA & MA in Computer Science from M.I.T.
11) Spencer Bogart
Managing Director & Head of Research at Blockchain Capital, a venture capital firm. Before joining Blockchain Capital in 2017, Bogart served as VP of the investment bank Needham & Company, acting as Blockchain & Bitcoin expert, and writing several reports on the two subjects. This included the first Wall Street industry report, presenting the potential of Blockchain technology. Prior to that, Bogart worked as an analyst for a startup company. He is a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) and has a BA in Business Economics from the University of California.
12) Brian Armstrong
Co-founder & CEO of the online digital currency exchange Coinbase, and public speaker. Spent five years (2001-06) at Rice University, earning a BA in Computer Science & Economics, as well as an MA in Computer Science. Additionally, founded UniversityTutor, a platform connecting students and tutors. Previous positions include Consultant in ERM (Enterprise Risk Management) at Deloitte, and a software engineer for AirBnb.
13) Balaji S. Srinivasan
CTO of Coinbase; co-founder & CTO of Counsyl. Winner of the Wall Street Innovation Award for Medicine. Occasionally teaches at Stanford, including online classes, reaching 250,000 students worldwide. Currently the CEO of Earn.com (formerly 21.co), a social network that allows people to earn BItcoin by answering messages. Former General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm, where he still serves as a member of the board.
14) Brock Pierce
Entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Brock Pierce is a co-founder of Blockchain Capital, a venture firm that focuses on Blockchain technology companies. Also founded IMI Exchange, a global digital currency market for games, with annual sales of over $1 billion. Mr. Pierce is also a faculty member at the Singularity University and and a public speaker. Since 2014 he has served as the Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation. Brock Pierce also invests in gaming companies such as Tether, ZAM, IGE, and is the founder of IMI Exchange, a digital currency market place for games.
15) Tim Draper
Entrepreneur & executive, Bitcoin investor, founder of the venture capital firms Draper Associates and DFJ. Listed at #7 on Forbes’ Midas List and at #98 in the 2014 Worth Magazine’s Most Powerful People in Finance. Made several predictions concerning the crypto market and Bitcoin, including that Bitcoin’s worth would reach $10,000 by 2018. Formed an educational program called The Draper University of Heroes, to support young entrepreneurs, and founded the nonprofit BizWorld.org for children to learn entrepreneurship.
16) The WinkleVoss Twins
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, former Olympic rowers and Harvard graduates, are perhaps better known publicly for their publicised suit against Facebook. Introduced to Bitcoin while on vacation, the twins studied Bitcoin and the Blockchain technology, eventually investing in several Bitcoin-related companies. The brothers invested their Facebook settlement money, buying $11M worth of bitcoins and, thanks to Bitcoin’s skyrocketing value, became the world’s first “Bitcoin Billionaires.” In 2015 they founded Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange that allows people to buy crypto coins, in return for fiat (standard) money.
17) Jimmy Song
Highly regarded Blockchain developer & entrepreneur, as well as Blockchain programming instructor and writer of Bitcoin-related topics for Coindesk. Formerly a principal architect at the Blockchain company Paxo, Song also helped develop secure Bitcoin wallet software as VP of Engineering for Armory. Created an interactive seminar called Programming Blockchain, which gives developers tools to make their own contributions to the Bitcoin ecosystem. In January 2018, Song joined Blockchain Capital as a venture partner.
18) Jihan Wu
Blockchain expert, entrepreneur and financial analyst. Formerly a private equity fund manager and investment manager, Jihan Wu translated Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin whitepaper and founded 8btc.com, a Chinese Bitcoin newsite. He went on to co-found Bitmain, which sells technology to Bitcoin miners. Currently, Bitmain is the largest manufacturer of Bitcoin mining parts, and is thought to have constructed 70% of the Bitcoin mining machines globally.
19) Roger Ver
One of the world’s very first investors in Bitcoin startup companies, Roger Ve is one of the five founders of the Bitcoin Foundations. An advocate of cryptocurrency, he became known as ‘Bitcoin Jesus.’ Was founder and CEO of Memory Dealers, one of the first companies that accepted Bitcoin as payment. Went on to create Bitcoinstore, where users could buy thousands of items with Bitcoin. Joined the Board of Advisors at The NAGA Group fintech firm in 2017.
20) Jameson Lopp
Cryptocurrency engineer and blogger. Creator of statoshi.info, displaying real-time Bitcoin node statistics. A regular contributor to Coindesk.com and Medium.com. In addition, Lopp founded the Mensa Bitcoin Special Interest Group, as well as the Triangle Bitcoin & Business meetup. Active on Twitter, with over 160,000 followers.
21) John McAfee
Programmer, entrepreneur, businessman. Former employee at the Institute of Space Studies and Lockheed, he founded McAfee & Associates and created the popular McAfee antivirus software. A crypto enthusiast, he published a cryptocurrency declaration of independence and recently announced his own crypto token, the McAfee Redemption Unit.
What They Say about Cryptocurrency: Quotes from Top Crypto influencers
“Whereas most technologies tend to automate workers on the periphery doing menial tasks, blockchains automate away the center. Instead of putting the taxi driver out of a job, blockchain puts Uber out of a job and lets the taxi drivers work with the customer directly”
– Vitalik Buterin
“We will also invest in our vision about the future of a crypto market. We think that it will start to support the real world economy, and to build more than this financial market on the Internet.”
– Jihan Wu
“Just as it got easier to use email, it will be easier to use Bitcoin as people invest in it and become more familiar with it.”
– Gavin Andresen (core developer of Bitcoin)
“Bitcoin gives us, for the first time, a way for one Internet user to transfer a unique piece of digital property to another Internet user, such that the transfer is guaranteed to be safe and secure, everyone knows that the transfer has taken place, and nobody can challenge the legitimacy of the transfer. The consequences of this breakthrough are hard to overstate.”
– Marc Andreessen (venture capitalist and co-founder of Netscape)
“There will be a future where people will use Bitcoin, and they won’t even know they’re using it.”
– The Winklevoss Twins
“I’m super bullish on crypto right now…I think the prices are pretty good right now if I was looking into going and buying something like Bitcoin.”
– Spencer Bogart
“Satoshi gave us a gift, but Bitcoin stakeholders must continue to nurture and develop it. Disruptive technologies like the Internet and Bitcoin don’t get un-invented.”
– Brock Pierce
“Bitcoin is amazingly transformative because it’s the first time in the entire history of the world in which anybody can now send or receive any amount of money, from anyone else, anywhere on the planet, without having to ask permission from any bank or government.”
– Roger Ver (early Bitcoin investor)
“Economists and journalists often get caught up in this question: Why does Bitcoin have value? And the answer is very easy. Because it is useful and scarce.”
– Erik Voorhees (BitInstant / Satoshi Dice)
“This is just a transitional period. We’re still using the Dollar as the unit of account. We’re trying to get to the point where we’re using Bitcoin as the unit of account. I think it’s going to be a few more years until we get to that point of hyperbitconisation that some people are dreaming about.”
– Jameson Lopp
“The bitcoin world is this new ecosystem where it doesn’t cost that much to start a new bitcoin company, it doesn’t cost much to start owning bitcoin either, and it is a much more efficient way of moving money around the world.
-Tim Draper, managing partner of Draper Fisher Jurvetson
“Cryptocurrency is such a powerful concept, that it can almost overturn governments.”
– Charles (Charlie) Lee, creator of Litecoin
“What is clear from studying the history of the cryptocurrency market is that Bitcoin has a lead that won’t be relinquished very easily.”
– Jimmy Song
“Overstock was the first billion dollar merchant to accept bitcoin payments; now there are ten of them.”
– Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase
This is a phase-shift. What we are seeing right now, is the industrial age transitioning to the post-industrial age. The Internet almost completed this cycle. The final part of completing that cycle is digitizing money which was a scientific breakthrough we had with Bitcoin.
“We are not a security; we are coins, we are currency. They are frightened of us.”
– John MacAfee
“I think tokenization eventually means everyone becomes an investor, once all the regulatory issues are worked out — from your computer itself to a kid in India messing around with $10.”
– Balaji S. Srinivasan
“If you can replace the word ‘blockchain’ with ‘database’ and the brochure reads the same, it is business as usual. It is not decentralized. It is not borderless, neutral, censorship resistant, open. It reestablishes trust in intermediaries. It is just a database. That is not disruptive.”
– Andreas M. Antonopolous
“In the future, I think it’s pretty clear to me there will be a universal payments network that will operate, that will involve a public ledger that people can see and can’t change arbitrarily and let people use things they’re used to, like dollars and euros.”
– Jed McCaleb
“How do we make sure that people who are unsophisticated investors or just regular individuals don’t end up in frauds or scams? We can actually do a lot to help regulators protect consumers. And the reality is that we already have a lot of rules in place.”
“Bitcoin has the advantage that you can send it to people all over the world and store it on a hardware wallet, which is a fairly secure way to store it.”
– Nick Szabo
As we can see from the above list, the number of crypto & Blockchain influencers is growing. If you notice, almost all of them have been involved with cryptocurrency in one form or another, Bitcoin, Ethereum, programming, promotion, etc. – almost from its inception, or in its early stages. Their success, either as entrepreneur, company chairman, investor or programmer who made a key contribution, has made them “beacons” that attract followers to understand the field better, whether for purpose of being involved in the world of crypto as a professional, or as an investor. Meanwhile, global magnates have voiced their own opinions about the crypto world and Blockchain technology. Stay tuned to our blog to read what they had to say…