Since the inception of Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies have taken the world by storm and disrupted the financial world in a myriad of ways. As the world’s first digital currency, it sought to create a financial system that was beyond the reach of regulatory authorities like central banks. Its ingenuity and widespread adoption over the years have led to the creation of thousands of other coins since.

The crypto market is now worth trillions, with some of the world’s brightest minds augmenting its reach every day. As a result of Bitcoin’s and other cryptocurrencies’ enormous gains over the years, ordinary people have been turned into millionaires and even billionaires through them. Between the investors who won big, the brilliant people behind the technological advancements that keep coming from the crypto world, and those who knew just how to use that technology to make bank, these are the wealthiest people in the crypto industry right now.

Changpeng Zhao (Net Worth – $15 Billion)

Ever since Bitcoin first began to boom, crypto has been making people rich every year and led to a multitude of side industries such as crypto exchanges. A Chinese-Canadian entrepreneur, Changpeng Zhao is one of the most iconic examples of how crypto exchanges have become one of the most lucrative businesses of the 21st century.

He’s the founder and CEO of Binance. As the world’s largest and most successful crypto exchange by trading volume, he’s been able to accumulate a massive amount of wealth from crypto trading and investing. While his official net worth is currently estimated at $15 billion, some analysts believe he is worth a lot more.

With a background in tech, he was able to gain invaluable experience in blockchain networks and leveraged that knowledge to create the most popular and influential crypto exchange. Known as CZ, he also created the Binance coin (BNB), which has since grown enormously in value. A brilliant tech expert and businessman, he is now revered in the world of crypto and one of the most powerful business leaders around as a result of it.

Brian Armstrong (Net Worth – $10 Billion)

Brian Armstrong is an American entrepreneur with a sterling background as a software engineer. He is the co-founder and CEO of Coinbase, the largest US crypto exchange. Founded back in 2012, Coinbase has become extremely successful and well known for its brilliant security and user interfaces, which bridged the gap for novice investors and enabled ordinary people to easily understand and trade crypto — essentially democratizing what seemed like an esoteric investment environment at the time.

Having previously worked for iconic tech companies like IBM, Armstrong found his niche in crypto and has grown to become one of its most successful entrepreneurs. At a time when the general public was only slowly starting to understand the massive potential of Bitcoin as an investment, Armstrong already saw ahead and made his move. As Bitcoin and other cryptos began booming, he was ideally placed to capitalize from it as trading volumes on Coinbase went through the roof as a result.


Building on that success, by 2021, Coinbase became the first crypto exchange to be listed publicly. After listing shares on the Nasdaq, Armstrong’s stake in the company instantly made him a billionaire and one of the most powerful people in crypto. His fortune has since been estimated by Forbes to be in the region of $10 billion.

Barry Silbert (Net Worth – $10 Billion)

An American entrepreneur and investor with an eye for crypto, Barry Silbert distinguished himself through his venture capital firm, Digital Currency Group (DCG). As a specialist firm that focuses on the crypto industry, Silbert was able to recognize Bitcoin’s potential early on. By setting up a fund for it, he offered accredited investors the opportunity to invest in it through the Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT).

BIT’s success made it the first publicly traded investment firm for Bitcoin, capitalizing on its success and playing an integral part in helping the digital currency earn the kind of mainstream acceptance it has today. He would later expand into DSG and turn his focus to a wider array of cryptocurrencies beyond Bitcoin. His success through crypto trading and blockchain technology investment has made him an enormous amount of wealth, currently estimated to be in the region of $10 billion.

Chris Larsen (Net Worth – $3.2 Billion)

As the man behind the ultra-successful XRP cryptocurrency, Chris Larsen is an American entrepreneur known for his creation of various crypto companies. Already known for his successful ventures like the online mortgage company e-Loan and the peer-to-peer lender Prosper, by 2012, he co-founded Ripple. As a company that helped facilitate international payments for banks by leveraging blockchain technology, Ripple has been very successful.

Among its many high-profile customers, the company counts the likes of American Express. With Ripple’s cryptocurrency XRP quickly becoming one of the largest by market capitalization, Larsen was able to vastly expand his wealth. Now, as a billionaire, his personal wealth is estimated to be in the region of $2.9 billion. At the peak of XRP’s success, that number was thought to be as high as $5 billion.

Fred Ehrsam (Net Worth – $2.9 Billion)

As the American entrepreneur who co-founded Coinbase with Brian Armstrong, Fred Ehrsam was able to capitalize on its success just as much. A former Goldman Sachs trader, he specialized in the iconic firm’s forex trading department, ideally placing him to understand and capitalize on the impact and success of cryptocurrencies. After leaving the firm, he helped Armstrong to find Coinbase, and the rest is history.

By becoming one of the most successful and valuable crypto exchanges in the world, Coinbase’s trading volumes saw immense growth during the surges that Bitcoin experienced.


Through his time with them, Ehrsam was able to accumulate a fortune. Though he left Coinbase in 2017, he had already reached billionaire status by then. His personal wealth is now estimated to be just under $3 billion.  

Jed McCaleb (Net Worth – $2.7 billion)

A programmer and American entrepreneur, Jed McCaleb is the co-founder and former CTO of Ripple. As a digital payment protocol, the system has found vast success, which led to the creation of the Stellar Lumen (XLM) cryptocurrency. After Bitcoin’s first major crypto exchange was hacked, resulting in huge losses, McCaleb recognized the need to provide investors with greater security and a better selection of crypto exchanges to choose from.

After helping create Ripple, he went on to create XLM with the aim of facilitating cross-border transactions for unbanked people. The success of both these ventures made him enormous wealth and turned him into a billionaire as a result. Still one of the most influential figures in the crypto world, his personal wealth is currently estimated to be around $2.7 billion.


The crypto industry has taken the world by storm since the advent of Bitcoin and its unprecedented success. For those who were smart enough to see its potential, the crypto industry has made enormous wealth for many people and even turned some investors into instant millionaires. On the other end of the scale, many tech experts and entrepreneurs who were able to understand and leverage crypto’s potential have contributed to the massive economy that it’s spawned.

Between payment systems and crypto exchanges built to facilitate investment and trade in the world’s most successful cryptocurrencies, many of the brilliant minds behind them are now among the richest and most powerful men in the world. Now an elite class of billionaires, they represent the most influential players in the crypto industry and the entrepreneurs likely to continue taking it well into the future.