The cryptocurrency industry has seen astronomical growth over the past year.

Data from TradingView reveals that the cryptocurrency’s market capitalization grew more than 525% year-on-year, from $ 315 billion to over $ 2,000 billion. This increase in market capitalization has seen many individuals become billionaires by investing in one form or another in this industry.

Data from Forbes’ 2021 Billionaire List reveals that there are 12 crypto billionaires, down from just four last year.

Besides these individual billionaires, the cryptocurrency market has seen an influx of institutional investors looking to increase their wealth in the cryptocurrency market as a hedge against the global inflationary crisis. Companies such as MicroStrategy, Square and Tesla are putting Bitcoin on their balance sheets at an accelerating rate and with on-chain analysis data suggesting a net accumulation for Bitcoin, it can be inferred that more institutions are investing in the space.

With the way cryptocurrencies are spreading, many central banks around the world have been prompted to consider offering a digital version of their currency in others to keep up with the ever-changing digital world. They are well known as Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC). Nigeria plans to launch a pilot program of its CBDC on Independence Day, October 1, 2021.

While these cryptocurrency billionaires don’t make Forbes’ Top 100 list, the growth of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology has certainly contributed to their net worth exploding over the past year.

Here are the top 3 cryptocurrency billionaires.

Chris Larsen – $ 3.4 billion

Chris Larsen is co-founder and chairman of Ripple, established in 2012 to facilitate international payments for banks using blockchain technology. Ripple’s native XRP token is the 6th most valuable cryptocurrency with a market cap of $ 51.3 billion.
Larsen was born in 1960 in San Francisco, California. He attended San Francisco State University, where he obtained a degree in International Business and Accounting in 1984. He started working for Chevron after college, performing financial audits in Brazil, Ecuador and Australia. Indonesia. He obtained an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1991.

He is a business executive and angel investor best known for co-founding several Silicon Valley tech startups, including one based on peer-to-peer lending. In 1996, he co-founded online mortgage lender E-Loan, and during his tenure as CEO, E-Loan became the first company to provide free FICO credit scores to consumers.

In 2000, the market value of the electronic loan was estimated at $ 1 billion. In 2005, Larsen left the company when it was sold to Banco Popular. In 2006, he co-founded Prosper Marketplace and served as CEO until 2012. Later in 2012, he co-founded Ripple Labs, Inc., which developed Ripple and its native XRP token.

Ripple is software that allows instant and direct money transfer between two parties. Ripple counts American Express and Santander among its more than 100 customers.

Larsen stepped down as CEO of Ripple in December 2016, but remains executive chairman. He owns over 3 billion XRP tokens and a 17% stake in Ripple Labs. XRP is currently trading at $ 1.07 at the time of writing.

Brian Armstrong – $ 6.5 billion

Brian Armstrong is the CEO of Coinbase Global, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States and the only cryptocurrency exchange to be listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. He was previously an AirBnB software engineer.

He was born on January 25, 1983, near San Jose, California. He attended Rice University in Texas and obtained a double bachelor’s degree in economics and computer science in 2005, followed by a master’s degree in computer science in 2006.

Armstrong co-founded Coinbase in San Francisco in 2012 with former currency trader Fred Ehrsam. It has a roughly 19% stake in Coinbase and when the company was listed on the NASDAQ, its market capitalization briefly hit $ 100 billion. Its wealth comes mainly from its Coinbase equity. COIN is currently trading at $ 243.21 at the time of writing. Armstrong is ranked # 404 on Forbes’ Billionaire List.

Sam Bankman-Fried – $ 8.7 billion

Sam Bankman-Fried is the founder and CEO of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange. He also manages $ 2.5 billion in digital assets through Alameda Research, a quantitative cryptocurrency trading company he founded in October 2017. He was born in 1992 in Stanford, California. From 2010 to 2014, he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2014, he obtained a degree in physics.

He started his career with Jane Street Capital, a proprietary trading company. Subsequently, in October 2017, he founded Alameda Research, a quantitative trading company. In April 2019, he founded FTX, a cryptocurrency derivatives exchange. In 2021, FTX owns approximately 90% of Alameda Research.

Sam Bankman-Fried made headlines when he was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in 2021. He also made headlines in 2020 with his $ 5 million donation to a super-PAC which supported Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, making him one of the presidents with the biggest donors.

The vast majority of his wealth is in FTX equity and the native token of the FTX FTT exchange, which is currently trading at $ 62.52 at the time of writing. He is ranked # 274 on Forbes’ billionaire list.

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