"Bitcoin Millionaires": Who are they?

Gavin Andersen

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Although Satoshi Nakamoto is often credited as the main developer of Bitcoin, Gavin Andersen made it what it is today. Andersen has been rumored to be Satoshi himself, a claim which he denies. Instead, he states that he was closely corresponded with the developer for many years. He was chosen as Nakamoto’s “successor” of sorts in 2010 and maintains the source code of Bitcoin to this day.

As time passes, Gavin Andersen speculates that Bitcoin will require less maintenance and that Bitcoin’s value will continually rise.

Yifu Guo

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In order for Bitcoin transactions to be processed and added to the transaction record (known the blockchain), they must be solved with computing power. Since Bitcoin is peer-to-peer, users are responsible for mining. They are rewarded with Bitcoins for mining. Users previously used their GPU’s computing power to add to the blockchain, until NYU student Yifu Guo engineered the first purpose built Bitcoin miner.

Yifu Guo founded Avalon in 2012. The company’s miners became so popular they were sold out as soon as they were produced. Miners retailing for several hundred dollars were selling for many times more. Guo left the Avalon project after a year. Several other companies began selling bitcoin miners after Avalon, but Guo was the first to become a Bitcoin millionaire selling such miners.

Winklevoss Twins

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Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss rose to prominence after their legal battle with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The pair have launched numerous successful business ventures, and their investments in Bitcoin alone have earned them 11 million. The twin’s combined net worth is 400 million.

The Winklevoss twins have funded several Bitcoin related ventures. They invested $1.5 million in fellow Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem’s company BitInstant in 2013. In 2014, they created the Winkdex, a financial index that tracks the average price of Bitcoin. The Winklevoss twins even created their own Bitcoin exchange, Gemini in 2015.

Tony Gallippi

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Entrepreneur Tony Gallippi was one of the first people to found a Bitcoin payment processor. The company, Bitpay, is one of the most popular of its kind. It processes one million dollars worth of payments every day, and was also one of the first companies to have agreements with major retailers.

Prolific investors and business tycoons such as Richard Branson, Jerry Yang, and Li Ka-Shing have invested in Bitcoin.

Jered Kenna

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Former United States Marine Jered Kenna got his start when Bitcoins were only 20 cents per coin. Intrigued, he invested a large amount of money in the currency, which paid off after several years. His first Investment venture provided him with enough funds to launch several business ventures. His first company was Tradehill, a Bitcoin dark (anonymous) mining pool, making Kenna was the first to pioneer dark mining pools.

Kenna now runs a craft brewery in Colombia (the brewery accepts Bitcoins of course). He has also opened 20mission in San Francisco, a collaborative workspace for startups and entrepreneurs.

Dave Carlson

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With enough hardware, Bitcoin mining can be an extremely profitable venture. Dave Carlson is likely the first Bitcoin millionaire to have mined their way to riches. After founding company MegaBigPower from his basement, he began to mine on an industrial scale. Carlson reported that he made over 8 million per month in 2016 from his 2,000 square foot warehouse.

Charlie Shrem

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Charlie Shrem is possibly the most influential Bitcoin millionaire. He went all-in on Bitcoin when it was trading cheaply, and at only 22 years old founded BitInstant. The company was extremely successful at first. But in December 2014, Shrem was accused and found guilty of laundering money to infamous deep web black market The Silk Road. Shrem states he did not knowingly handle any money for illicit purposes.

After his release from prison in 2016, Shrem got right back to business and launched Intellisys Capital. The firm sells investment portfolios in blockchain companies. Charlie Shrem is close friends with fellow bitcoin innovator and investor Roger Ver.

Roger Ver

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Some people love Bitcoin so much they can’t help but spread the joy. Bitcoin millionaire Roger Ver has generously shared his wealth to spread the word of Bitcoin. For his outspoken advocacy and generosity, Roger Ver was given the moniker “Bitcoin Jesus”. Roger Ver’s passion for Bitcoin stems from his desire for it to rival fiat currencies. His first investment was in his friend Charlie Shrem’s company BitInstant.

Roger Ver is the first Bitcoin startup investor. Although Ver was already a successful entrepreneur before getting into Bitcoin, doing so greatly multiplied his riches. He has also donated millions to charity.

Ross Ulbricht / The FBI 

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Bitcoin has undeniable potential to change the world. However, Bitcoin also has a sinister side. Its anonymous nature makes transactions nearly impossible track. Numerous black markets have appeared on the deep web selling drugs, contraband, and illegal services. The first of these markets was the Silk Road, created by Dread Pirate Roberts (Ross Ulbricht). Even before bitcoin was worth $1000, Dread Pirate Roberts was a Bitcoin millionaire several times over.

In September 2013, the FBI tracked Dread Pirate Roberts down. Their investigation led to American Ross Ulbricht, who was sentenced to life in prison for money laundering, hacking, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics. The FBI shut down The Silk Road, and seized over 144,000 Bitcoins then being held as escrow. As a result, the largest Bitcoin wallet in the world now belongs to the FBI.

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Satoshi Nakamoto

Becoming a Bitcoin millionaire is possible, but what does it take to become a bitcoin billionaire? Doing so would be incredibly difficult unless one was involved from the beginning – or if they created the currency themselves.

The name Satoshi Nakamoto is likely not the real name of Bitcoin’s creator, simply a pseudonym. Numerous attempts have been made to uncover the enigmatic creator of Bitcoin’s true identity, to no avail. Few records of Nakamoto exist other than e-mail correspondence records between him and Bitcoin developers. What is known about him however, is that he currently holds 1.1 million Bitcoins... do the math.

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Finding information on Bitcoin millionaires can be difficult, though. Sometimes they don't want to be found, preferring to remain anonymous... and Bitcoin is cool with that. Listed below, instead of more Winklevoss', is a list of the Top 50 Richest Bitcoin Addresses, last updated at block 482558. Enjoy!

  1. 3D2oetdNuZUqQHPJmcMDDHYoqkyNVsFk9r 117,014 BTC
  2. 3Nxwenay9Z8Lc9JBiywExpnEFiLp6Afp8v 93,843 BTC
  3. 16rCmCmbuWDhPjWTrpQGaU3EPdZF7MTdUk 86,203 BTC
  4. 1FeexV6bAHb8ybZjqQMjJrcCrHGW9sb6uF 79,957 BTC
  5. 1HQ3Go3ggs8pFnXuHVHRytPCq5fGG8Hbhx 69,370 BTC
  6. 1PnMfRF2enSZnR6JSexxBHuQnxG8Vo5FVK 66,452 BTC
  7. 1AhTjUMztCihiTyA4K6E3QEpobjWLwKhkR 66,378 BTC
  8. 1DiHDQMPFu4p84rkLn6Majj2LCZZZRQUaa 66,235 BTC
  9. 1EBHA1ckUWzNKN7BMfDwGTx6GKEbADUozX 66,233 BTC
  10. 18rnfoQgGo1HqvVQaAN4QnxjYE7Sez9eca 59,000 BTC
  11. 1LdRcdxfbSnmCYYNdeYpUnztiYzVfBEQeC 53,880 BTC
  12. 1JCe8z4jJVNXSjohjM4i9Hh813dLCNx2Sy 53,000 BTC
  13. 1EfBMK9q6rGFZazeF7jyNdTgqGYgcDgRE5 48,260 BTC
  14. 16cou7Ht6WjTzuFyDBnht9hmvXytg6XdVT 44,998 BTC
  15. 1MuYkciQTfRsU94ReAe5MiAfUpCrbLBcFR 44,864 BTC
  16. 15CVfJUC1LKn1GKZx6RM5UMbFfnTd8vTT4 44,009 BTC
  17. 336xGpGweq1wtY4kRTuA4w6d7yDkBU9czU 42,603 BTC
  18. 1PzGnXGvoGGtCcGpqzkJHebZVgM48VL2x4 40,000 BTC
  19. 323ENWgPNZdzsm2d6CzEaPTFrvavn1giv5 36,558 BTC
  20. 17hf5H8D6Yc4B7zHEg3orAtKn7Jhme7Adx 36,000 BTC
  21. 3CqBquEFMYY548fNBz8u2MBw3HKprS3Xft 35,293 BTC
  22. 19Rd2Z4ckdPEs34KEmKpbddpK7ngp1sR6g 35,228 BTC
  23. 3Kzh9qAqVWQhEsfQz7zEQL1EuSx5tyNLNS 34,097 BTC
  24. 33VMRgxXZWgZGmGnGRZ9AEW8bZs8scMiY1 33,809 BTC
  25. 37x6JnDNhbsBw95bvEreB7WHWA74gGR17y 33,635 BTC
  26. 3Ap6mixhHLmVtH41YHH94Ut4jBfmqRpzgQ 33,602 BTC
  27. 32GxivQN3VKtVEtgsH5uTWfXd5b2LkXyUZ 32,489 BTC
  28. 14eQD1QQb8QFVG8YFwGz7skyzsvBLWLwJS 32,071 BTC
  29. 12ib7dApVFvg82TXKycWBNpN8kFyiAN1dr 31,000 BTC
  30. 1FrKNGFCqZAV3y3n9HSswoSDX8ExKb2paD 30,108 BTC
  31. 32ixB1aXiwgpHGHo27SMRSULajCdc7jq9Q 30,000 BTC
  32. 1GqaihzhS33G4kt7VKJ7UEL1ENaHazRS2k 29,772 BTC
  33. 33VukC9ReF5bkDvPNUTy5j6VEbzMc9JFt3 28,477 BTC
  34. 12tkqA9xSoowkzoERHMWNKsTey55YEBqkv 28,151 BTC
  35. 1N8emyFpMob6hDVhLiV1kTPiHBB8DQHWpp 26,343 BTC
  36. 198mmEcqMgmjmi4pXi48hRaZyK5GaPDmJt 26,215 BTC
  37. 3R1hBCHURkquAjFUv1eH5u2gXqooJkjg4B 25,899 BTC
  38. 1J7fmT3Wv62u4p6FuwbVJQXhQE3HiH4AQs 25,489 BTC
  39. 1G1AndHMczVQYLGfYJzqkDjXrFifpMsTaZ 25,408 BTC
  40. 1A4WLCaR11ARbib283pnH8jy8s4TJEjjPz 25,403 BTC
  41. 1JfoBz3smLAFxCMHXw155b4UE9FeYNBvCv 25,377 BTC
  42. 13cKZYW75zBPuW6xp8Pt5QTWFHQpXosP56 25,301 BTC
  43. 153yuheqMotbbAxxXc8Ztwx73oSMyAB1wq 25,272 BTC
  44. 36png4nUpGkCrYnRXNR4PMSRFEgGadmh8S 24,998 BTC
  45. 3J5KeQSVBUEs3v2vEEkZDBtPLWqLTuZPuD 24,655 BTC
  46. 3HZUwxZbYRef9oEuvSvjgVMyZ227Hur7ng 24,000 BTC
  47. 19tB13y9eDCD238rxCMNs3dKQ8RA9EVgop 23,999 BTC
  48. 1JTseLw3XXPYDEM2PDnYt1n3iMqNEpc8qd 23,362 BTC
  49. 13beT45wEmqWwcTnAPDsUrHqHDnwS1xrjf 23,278 BTC
  50. 3Cg3oypyypMBz1bY8kWyYifwXqnTj5iuCo 22,969 BTC