Forbes Billionaires List 2021 Features Handful of Crypto Founders

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In Brief
  • Crypto exchange founders see immense growth in net worth.

  • FTX CEO claims top cryptocurrency spot.

  • Winklevoss twins join billionaires list.

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Forbes has released their annual list of the richest people in the world. With several cryptocurrency founders featuring on the list which saw an additional 493 new billionaires created in the last year.

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2020 brought forward a turbulent year that saw the Covid-19 pandemic bring the world to a standstill. However, that hasn’t stopped the rich from getting richer. This year’s Forbes list of billionaires saw their joint net worth grow by $5 trillion. 

The list features a handful of cryptocurrency billionaires who have made their money from the industry. While none of them feature in the top 100, the growth of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology has certainly assisted with their net worth exploding over the past year. 

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The Cryptocurrency Billionaires List 

The Forbes list breaks down billionaires based on their industries and the source of their net worth. Topping the list related to the industry sees Elon Musk, the once proclaimed “CEO of DOGE,” taking second place with a net worth of $151 billion. He falls $26 billion behind Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. 

Number 274: Sam Bankman-Fried 

Founder and CEO of quantitative crypto trading firm Alameda Research and newcomer to the Forbes billionaire list. Sam becomes the highest-ranked cryptocurrency billionaire. The FTX cryptocurrency exchange CEO surges into the 274th spot with a net worth of $8.7 billion.

The 29-year-old has been making waves over the past year to contribute to the industry with his derivatives exchange FTX. FTX has grown in popularity at such an alarming rate that it also holds one of the largest acquisitions in 2021. FTX purchased cryptocurrency price tracking app Blockfolio for $150 million in August 2020. 

The news of being on the Forbes top billionaires’ list for 2021 has been topped off by the latest partnership between FTX and the NBA Basketball team, the Miami Heat. The exchange is now the naming rights partner of the team’s stadium, called the FTX arena. 

Number 404: Brian Armstrong 

This year seems to be the year for exchange founders. The CEO of Coinbase, the most popular cryptocurrency exchange in North America, climbs the list to 404. Armstrong saw his net worth climb to $6.5 billion in the latest rankings, up from $1 billion in 2020. 

Coinbase has recently announced it will go public following strong performances in Q1 of 2021. The company reported 56 million users, generating $1.8 billion in revenue for Q1 alone. 

Number 891: Chris Larsen 

Ripple Labs co-founder Chris Larsen features on the Forbes list once again. Larsen first appeared on the billionaire list in 2019 following the soaring price of XRP. Larsen has dropped down the list from last year, despite being worth $800 million more than the previous year.

With a current net worth of $3.4 billion, Larsen takes the third spot in cryptocurrency-related billionaires. The founder currently holds over 3 billion XRP tokens, with a 17% stake in Ripple Labs.

Number 1008: Winklevoss Twins 

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss made the Forbes list for the first time following their cryptocurrency exchange Gemini’s success. Similar to other cryptocurrency exchanges, the volume has picked up dramatically over the last year.

Gemini exchange now processes over $200 million per day in trades. Each of the twins currently has a net worth of $3 billion. The twins have been actively purchasing Bitcoin since 2012, as well as acquiring the NFT platform Nifty Gateway. Playboy recently also announced it would be launching its own NFT art collection on the platform. 

Number 1362: Michael Saylor 

Perhaps one of the biggest Bitcoin bulls in the last year has to be Michael Saylor. Saylor has been purchasing Bitcoin with every dime he can find. And the gamble appears to have paid off handsomely.

Saylor, the CEO of software firm MicroStrategy, makes his first appearance on the Forbes list with a new net worth of $2.3 billion. Over the last six months, the surge in Bitcoin price can be attributed to Saylor’s net worth’s rapid success. 

1580: Jed McCaleb 

Ripple co-founder Jed McCaleb has been involved in the crypto space for many years. Now the founder of Stellar currently holds over 3.4 billion XRP tokens. While also holding over 1 billion XLM tokens. McCaleb joins the list as a newcomer with a combined net worth of $2 billion.

1664: Changpeng Zhao & Fred Ehrsam 

Joint cryptocurrency exchange founders Fred Ehrsam co-founded Coinbase exchange, and Binance exchange founder Changpeng Zhao come in tied. The pair both clock in with a net worth of $1.9 billion each. Once again, the surge in cryptocurrency users, trading volume, and revenue saw founders of cryptocurrency exchanges climb up the ranks this year. 

Other Newcomers 

While the list of cryptocurrency-related billionaires grows, other honorable mentions include Barry Silbert, Tim Draper, and Matthew Roszak. All three are new to the list this year, with net worth reportedly averaging around $1.5 billion each. 

While the cryptocurrency market is still in its infancy, the industry’s progression has clearly shown the importance of on-ramps within the industry. The cryptocurrency exchange founders benefited the most from the surge in crypto adoption and use.

It is extremely likely that 2022 sees more cryptocurrency founders featuring in the Forbes billionaire list.

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Ryan is a Fintech specialist with a passion for cryptocurrencies and blockchain adoption. A keen trader and investor in the market since 2016, he enjoys keeping up to date with the latest developments within the industry while finding the next 100x altcoin.

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