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18 People Who Got Filthy Rich Off Cryptocurrency

SimiJuly 31, 2018

There are a lot of skeptics out there when it comes to Bitcoin. This is especially true in the banking and business industries. For example, Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, believes that cryptocurrency is fraudulent and will eventually cave in. He believes in this so strongly that he said if anyone at JPMorgan traded Bitcoin, he would fire them for their stupidity.

The wealth some people have earned with Bitcoin is intoxicating. Investors often compare it to the dot-com bubble of the 90’s. But although Bitcoin comes with a lot less overhead, it is still unclear how it’s all going to turn out.

There are believers out there. With the run Bitcoin has seen, it’s hard to believe that it’s not an incredible investment opportunity. At the beginning of 2017, Bitcoin rose from $830 to $19,300. It is currently sitting at $14,000. It’s an impressive jump for those who had a few thousand dollars to invest and are now rich beyond their wildest dreams. Bitcoin allows for anonymity, but some people have publicly revealed their usage of the currency.

The people who have taken advantage of cryptocurrency are a tight group. They are developers, people who avidly use Reddit and cypherpunks. These individuals have known each other for a long time through meetups and conferences as well as forums. They join anonymous group chats to discuss how to decentralize power and wealth through cryptocurrency, all in hopes of changing the world order.

Those in the financial industry and the stock exchange often feel passionately opposed. Perhaps some are threatened by this new way of banking. Even so, here are some of the top guys who made a killing off cryptocurrency.

1. Mr. Smith

The first multi-millionaire on this list prefers to remain anonymous. An interview with Mr. Smith took place on the 56th floor Horizon Club Lounge on the island of Shangri-La in Hong Kong. He was clearly a rich guy, and it all came from Bitcoin. Throughout the past four years, he has been living a life of luxury.

Mr. Smith only flies first class and stays in exclusive five-star resorts around the world. As of the time of the interview, he had been to Singapore, NYC, Vegas, Monaco, Moscow, Zurich and Hong Kong – all in a 30-day period. Smith was a software engineer for a technology company in the Silicon Valley. He enjoyed his work and got close with many of his coworkers.

His geeky friends told him about Bitcoin when the first big increase occurred with the currency. This is when it jumped from $0.008 to $0.08 in a five-day period. When Smith heard about this, he was intrigued. He kept his eye on it for a few months before jumping in. But Smith wanted to better understand the technology behind the currency first.

In October 2010, Mr. Smith made his first investment of $3,000. He paid $0.15 per Bitcoin, giving him nearly 20,000 shares. Nobody believed in it at the time, and he didn’t expect to get any major return on his investment. He checked his investment every few months, believing it would be a long game and wanted to see how high it would go. Over a three-year span, Smith continued to work at his day job and barely thought about the investment.

This went on until the Bitcoin price leap made the news in 2013. At this point, he started to pay attention and was nearly in disbelief at how quickly it was appreciating. It began rising by 10 percent daily. The price per share hit $350, which was more than 2,000 times what he paid for it.

Then Smith sold 2,000 shares of his early stock. A few days later, it hit $800 and he sold 2,000 more. That was how Smith got $2.3 million richer. He then quit his job and went on a luxurious round-the-world trip the very next week.

Attributed to CNBC

2. The Winklevoss Twins

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have put their hands in many pots. They were Olympic rowers at one point. The Winklevoss twins once tried to gain control of Facebook, alleging that Mark Zuckerberg had taken it from them. They were the story of the siblings in The Social Network. The twins got $65 million in cash with Facebook stocks to boot. They used the dispute with Mark Zuckerberg and the money they received, in part, to back up Bitcoin.

They tried to create a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), but were unsuccessful. However, they invested $11 million into Bitcoin in 2013. That represented one percent of all the Bitcoin currency in circulation. This amount is now worth 21 times that, giving them $231 million. When the price of one Bitcoin surpassed $11,700, that translated to $1 billion.

The month that Bitcoin skyrocketed, the New York Times said the twin’s Bitcoins were worth $1.3 billion. They also have an additional $350 million in varied cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum. In the last month of December, there were a lot of swings when it came to cryptocurrencies. There was a point when they were up to $19,000 and then went down to $13,500.

Many of the cryptocurrency investors are traveling the world or splurging on expensive cars. These twins want more, though. One has an old SUV, and the other has no car at all. They live in luxury Manhattan flats. The Winklevoss twins have been highly focused on business ventures for a long time.

They aren’t interested in short-term gratification. The twins want more, and the money they’ve made in cryptocurrencies will fund whatever their next ventures will be. Fox Business recently interviewed them because the Winklevoss twins publicly challenged Dimon to short bitcoin on the futures market. This is a rebuttal, because Dimon believes Bitcoin will fail down the road.

But Cameron had this to say: “We’ve been working really hard to give Jamie Dimon an opportunity to short Bitcoin. And anybody who says that you know it’s a fraud or a bubble, you can go now, put your money where your mouth is and bet against it.”

Attributed to elpasoinc

3. Barry Silbert

Barry Silbert was famous on Wall Street for creating an exchange of assets that weren’t easy to trade. They were mainly stakes in private tech companies. He called this business SecondMarket. When he sold SecondMarket to Nasdaq in 2015, he had already started creating the Digital Currency Group.

The Digital Currency Group has three components. It focuses on the venture capital arm, specifically those who have invested in a known crypto-related business. This includes Coinbase.

The company also does speculation on digital currencies and operating businesses. This includes Grayscale, which runs a publicly traded Bitcoin Investment Trust. Coin Desk is a digital currency media company.

Silbert is a cryptocurrency maven. He got in early with Bitcoin, getting 48,000 coins at a U.S. Marshals Service auction. But they seized these coins from Silk Road, which was a marketplace for selling illegal drugs. Bitcoin was worth $350 at the time but it has risen 16 times. Silbert invested $16.8 million and currently has $268.8 million from that investment.

Attributed to BytecoinTR Forum

4. Tim Draper

Tim Draper is a billionaire venture capitalist who invested early on in Skype. But he also purchased 30,000 Bitcoins in 2014. In fact, he went to the same auction as Silbert. When the federal government auctioned off millions of dollars of Bitcoins from the Silk Road site, some pioneers knew it was a lucrative opportunity.

Draper was able to take advantage of getting the Bitcoins for a decent price. At the time, they were worth $19 million. They are worth $215 million now. Draper is currently backing Tezos, a new cryptocurrency on the market. He is confident about cryptocurrency and invests in almost all of them now.

Not only was Draper in the right place at the right time with the capital to bank on Bitcoins, he is also a big believer. He’s one of those guys with the golden touch. Bitcoin just climbs more and more. Interestingly, Draper is famous as the Nostradamus of the markets. He believed Bitcoins would grow to be worth $10,000 per coin.

He stuck to this belief in a little currency nobody thought would amount to anything. At the time of the interview with Fox Business in 2014, Bitcoin was worth $413. Even the believers of cryptocurrency were skeptical that would be possible. There were a lot of fluctuations of the market at the time. In 2011, the crash caused cryptocurrency to plummet in value by 94 percent.

Attributed to fortune

5. Charlie Shrem

This early Bitcoin investor has a different story to share. He came in early and took a chance on it. Charlie Shrem was running a successful computer-repair shop with high school friends. He also co-founded BitInstant in college. The business was an e-commerce site that helped people convert their dollars into Bitcoin.

At 22, he had $500,000 in his bank account with no expenses. There was a point where BitInstant made up for 30 percent of all Bitcoin transactions. Even Roger Vet, a renowned capital investor, backed them. Then, what was such a lucrative endeavor became Shrem’s worst nightmare.

This was because one of the users started reselling Bitcoin on Silk Road. This is an underground marketplace that sells the illicit drugs and other illegal activity. The customer was reselling the Bitcoin to buy drugs and other illegal acts. Shrem knew it was happening, but didn’t react to it at the time. He was making money and was young, and perhaps even reckless.

Shrem eventually realized this wasn’t how he wanted to represent his company, so he sent him an email. He told the customer to calm down on his purchasing and activity on Silk Road. He didn’t alert the authorities, which was to his detriment. Eventually, they shut down BitInstant and arrested Shrem. He was charged with money laundering and operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business.

Shrem lost most of his money paying for legal fees and spent a year in prison. When he got out of prison, Shrem took a job washing dishes. While he enjoyed this simple part of his life for reflection, he has since become successful. At 27, he’s an executive at a technology firm and has started a family.

He’s cautious with money and owns a few Bitcoin shares that he sells and reinvests into real estate. Shrem was a member of the Bitcoin Foundation. The goal of the foundation was to protect the use of Bitcoin. Ironically, a few leaders of the foundation are under criminal investigation.

Shrem does crypto-investment startups now and probably has more Bitcoins then he says he does. He bought back a few thousand when they weren’t worth much. The speculation is that they’re worth quite a few million now.

Attributed to crypto asset management

6. Tony Gallippi

While Tony Gallippi has invested and made money with cryptocurrency, he has also made money by creating a business within the cryptocurrency business. As a co-founder and chairman of Bitpay, he is making plenty of money regardless of his big collection of Bitcoins. Apparently, he has about $20 million worth, but he’s keeping quiet about that.

Gallippi has brokered big business deals for Bitpay. He has managed to get investors like Richard Branson and Hong Kong business magnate Li-Ka-Shing to grow BitPay. The company provides checkout services for bitcoin cryptocurrency. After one conference in Prague, Czech Republic, the company went from having 100 merchants to 1,100 merchants.

Gallippi has opened the door for many big organizations to use his company and become merchants. As of 2013, BitPay would was the biggest processor of bitcoin currency. He has more than 80 employees. The surge came from high-profile deals like having WordPress become a merchant.

The company has been focusing on bitcoin processing for e-commerce, which is sure to bring him additional success. He is a prominent member of the Bitcoin community and has made millions within the sector.

Attributed to CNBC

7. Satoshi Nakamoto

One of the most intriguing stories associated with cryptocurrency is, of course, its founder, Satoshi Nakamoto. This is not a real person. In fact, no one knows who the legendary creator of Bitcoin is. But whoever it is, they designed the coin and created the original reference implementation. Part of this included devising the first blockchain database to solve double-spending with digital currency.

There have been stories about who this man might be, but there have been no confirmations. There was a small place in California known as Temple City. It is suspected that one man may be the elusive Nakamoto, but he’s pleading ignorance. Someone released a white paper on a networking P2P Foundation. It stated that Nakamoto lived in Japan and was born in 1975.

The white paper came out in 2008 and described the software tied to digital currency. After this, Nakamoto retreated from public life. Another man, Hal Finney, has said he is Satoshi. It’s a plausible claaim, being that he was the first recipient of a Bitcoin transaction. While nobody is sure who Nakamoto is, they know he holds around a million Bitcoins thanks to the sleuthing of a Bitcoin developer.

He would have paid about $6,000 for that amount of coins when they were bought up. They are now worth $6.1 billion, making him one of the richest men in the world. It’s interesting to think that if he sold off his massive supply of Bitcoin, he would cause a major decrease in value. This is because the demand for the currency is what’s causing the price surge.

Nakamoto has such a large portion of Bitcoins, he could be the demise of his own creation. This mysterious story aligned with cryptocurrency is intriguing and thought-provoking for many. It’s interesting how so many people can remain anonymous millionaires because cryptocurrency is an online affair.

Attributed to CNBC

8. Grant Sabatier

Grant founded Millennial Money and also released a book in 2019, All the Money You’ll Ever Need. CNBC has nicknamed him the Millennial Millionaire. He had $2.26 to his name, which he turned into a million dollars in just five years. He is a hustler and investor who reached financial independence at 30. His site, MillennialMoney.com, focuses on information regarding investing, personal finance and entrepreneurship.

Sabatier co-hosts a podcast called Millennial Money Minutes. He is also an internationally-known public speaker who talks about many things, including how to make it in the digital world we live in. He has been featured in more than 200 international media outlets throughout his career. To make a long story short, Grant Sabatier knows business so everyone listens to his advice. He was one of the believers of Bitcoin, and it paid off for him.

Grant Sabatier bought $5,000 in Bitcoin in 2013. It cost him $72 a coin. In 2011, he heard about the cryptocurrency and decided to invest. He says it’s easy to see how Bitcoin would be a game changer within the financial system. Sabatier’s idea was to invest less than one percent of his net worth to buy into bitcoin.

He saw Bitcoin as a long-term experiment and wanted to make money, but he wasn’t quite convinced Bitcoin would pay out. Bitcoin was trading at $16,600 when Sabatier came out with his article about Bitcoin. This would make his coins worth $1,148,720. What he said was that he worked 80-hour weeks for five years to make a million dollars by saving and investing in the stock market.

In 2017, he made his million dollars by merely sitting on his Bitcoins. While he is ultra-happy with his investment, he publicly went on to say he doesn’t think investing in Bitcoin today is a sound decision. Sabatier thinks the opportunity has passed, and that there’s no possibility Bitcoin can continue on its course.

Attributed to elevenews

9. The Spediacci Brothers

Searching for a picture on Google of the two brothers together came up fruitless. There were a few pictures of the twins individually, but those were strictly small, unassuming pictures. While they may not be anonymous, they aren’t giving interviews with all the big magazines that follow cryptocurrency millionaires and trends.

The two brothers, James and Julian Spediacci, believed in Ethereum when it was worth a mere 30 cents. They even posted a message on Facebook urging their friends and acquaintances to invest, too. Most people sloughed off the post, and the announcement received just one like.

They remembered who laughed at them and when, but no one laughs at them any more. When Ethereum flourished, they gained valuable leverage and now operate a popular cryptocurrency trading community. They run one of the most popular whale clubs online for private cryptocurrency trading with crypto syndicates in group chats.

10. Eric Fineman

Erik Fineman was probably one of the youngest investors of Bitcoins. Back in 2011 when he was just 11 years old, he invested in Bitcoins. His grandmother had given him $1,000 and his brother gave him advice on what he could do with that money. Bitcoins were worth $12 at the time. When he sold some of his Bitcoins in 2013, they were worth $1,200 each.

Just like that, Fineman turned his $1,000 into $100,000. He used the money as leverage to create an online education company in 2014, which made him a successful 14-year-old entrepreneur. His inspiration for the online school was due to his unpleasant high school experience. Fineman then moved to Silicon Valley, traveled all over the world and made a bet with his parents.

Fineman said if he could become a millionaire by 18, he wouldn’t have to go to college. But this doesn’t mean that Fineman isn’t ambitious. He is working with NASA to launch a satellite “time capsule” into earth’s orbit. He is still involved with cryptocurrency, too. In an interview with CNBC, he said he’s still a big believer in Bitcoin. He also says it’s hard for him to let go of his virtual currency.

Fineman also said, “Whenever I sell something in Bitcoin or pay for anything in Bitcoin, I multiply that price because I think it will be big, and I think it will be amazing, so I’m trying not to leave it. Bitcoin for me is not just an investment, it is not just a get-rich-quick system, as people say. I see it as the future of money, which I see as the future of the world.”

At the beginning of 2015, Fineman sold his education company. He had a choice of taking $100,000 or 300 Bitcoins. He was a believer in Bitcoins by this time, so that’s what he chose for payment. Fineman didn’t have to go to college and has enjoyed learning about the world through the true lenses of street-cred experiences.

Nowadays, Fineman is busy with many projects, including working with NASA. Of course, Uncle Sam is doing well in all this, too. Although Bitcoin is meant to be free of traditional currency restrictions, it has given the federal government a lot of money. The FBI seized 144,000 Bitcoins after shutting down Silk Road. The government auctioned off the Bitcoins and collected $48 million.

The IRS says digital currencies are taxable property. The legal battle is on as you read this. Perhaps it’s not just about people getting rich any more when it comes to Bitcoin. Maybe it’s got a lot to do with the freedom they deserve. To not be under the thumb of the government, paying them to fly in private jets while they can barely lease a car or pay a mortgage. Maybe this is all intelligent anarchy put to work, and the rebels are finally winning.

11. Yifu Guo

Many people that have been working in finance for decades believe Bitcoin is a horrible investment. These people think there is no security in this investment and people could very easily lose their money. Some might even go so far as to say that it is flat-out gambling. Then there is the new generation.

These people are way younger than 40 years old, and they have a different opinion concerning Bitcoin. They believe that it is the future of investment, and that people who talk against it are stuck in an antiquated mindset. Whether this kind of thinking is correct is yet to be determined. But when you look at people like Yifu Guo, there is clear evidence to suggest that money can be made off Bitcoin, especially if you are young and educated.

Yifu was a student at NYU when he started his Bitcoin journey. He used his specific skill set to build bitcoin miners. This is how he made his money – $5 million of it to be exact. Not only was he incredibly successful in his endeavor, he was the first successful Bitcoin miner.

By the time 2012 rolled around, Yifu had started Avalon, the first Bitcoin mining company. This company also built other Bitcoin miners that they can sell at inflated prices due to the sheer demand that exists in the market. The student has now left Avalon, but there is no denying he certainly has left his mark.

12. Jered Kenna

When the topic of Bitcoin comes up, there is always talk of the bubble bursting. The reason why this metaphor has become so prevalent is due to how the price of Bitcoin has behaved over the past couple of years. When it first came about, Bitcoin did not cost much at all. In fact, there was a time when it only cost 20 cents.

At this time there weren’t many people who were investing in Bitcoin. Then, there was the big bitcoin boom. The price skyrocketed almost overnight. This means the people who got in early ended up making a tremendous amount of money out of almost nothing. There are also people who got in late. They bought when the price was still high, in hopes that the price would continue to increase, thus resulting in considerable gains.

Jered Kenna was one of the smart few who got into Bitcoin very early. He started investing when it cost 20 cents. When he did this, he did not just invest only a couple thousand dollars. He put in a fair amount of money, resulting in gains upward of $30 million. Since his initial investment, he has also started a couple of companies that deal in Bitcoin.

One of these being Tradehill. This was the first company which he launched, and it was primarily focused on Bitcoin dark-mining pools. This pool was anonymous and successfully launched Jered into the lucrative world of Bitcoin mining.

13. Dave Carlson

Before dot-com millionaires were a thing, there were all of these wild tales about people starting companies in their garages and college dorms. These young innovators only had an idea. One idea to do something great. Without investors and without any real shot at making it, they decided to work with what they had, and what they had was merely a room.

We all know these stories. We may be a bit jealous, but we know them nonetheless. One of the great things about Bitcoin – and it is possible that there aren’t many – is that anyone can do it. Not everyone can do it well, but everyone can do it. When it comes to Dave Carlson’s story, we have a merging of Bitcoin along with a flash of genius in a basement.

Dave started his own company in his basement. This company was called MegaBigPower, and it was concerned with mining Bitcoin. If reports are to be believed, this venture turned out to be a wildly successful one, as he turned over $8 million per month in 2016.

This then translated in a $35 million fortune for Mr. Carlson. He has certainly earned his place on the Bitcoin billionaires list. Whether this fortune will double or even triple in the coming years remains to be seen. But, one thing is for sure, and that is that money can be made in this business if you have the guts to go for it.

14. Roger Ver

The old saying says it takes money to make money. This is a capitalist world after all. Luck and hard work are not always the order of the day. It is possible for this reason that Bitcoin has become so attractive. It offers untold fortunes and is open to everyone. You do not need a degree in finance to get involved. You do not need an in-depth knowledge of the forex market or the current global trends.

All you need is an internet connection and the ability to read. A bit of money would help, though. A lot of money would help. Roger Ver had this money and then some. To be exact, he was a millionaire long before he started coining it with Bitcoin. His notable accomplishments when it comes to Bitcoin do not involve trading or mining it.

Instead, Roger invested in Bitcoin start-up. He is also a very close friend with Shrem. Roger invested in this company as well. It was these shrewd investment choices that successfully bumped up his fortune, amassing him $52 million.

Roger Ver may be a very successful man, but this is not where his list of achievements ends. He is quite philanthropic and has been given the title ‘’Bitcoin Jesus”. This is because he has donated to countless charities and has been quite instrumental in getting itcoin-related businesses off the ground with his generous investments.

15. Daniel Colosi

There has been a lot of talk about the people who got into Bitcoin early. Considering the massive jump in price Bitcoin took, this is completely understandable. The logic is quite simple: If you bought something yesterday for $1 and it is worth $100 today, you have made $99 almost out of thin air. Granted, you could have also lost money if the value had dropped to 10 cents today.

This is the nature of the volatility of Bitcoin. There is little security in it if you do not know what you are doing. This list is obviously not populated with people who just flew into Bitcoin without any knowledge on how it works. Daniel Colosi is not one someone who got in very early. In fact, he only hit the Bitcoin market once it had gained considerable traction.

His initial investment amounted to $5,000. Luckily for him, this was made just before Bitcoin took its next leap. This leap resulted in him turning $5,000 into $200,000. It does not take a mathematician to see that this was a good investment.

Colosi is confident in his future with Bitcoin. In fact, he believes he will be a millionaire in no time at all. It is at this point where it should be mentioned that Colosi was just a regular man. He was a construction worker who did not have formal knowledge in finance and its related markets. Now, he has more money than he has ever had, and is looking to relocate to Thailand.

16. Eddy Zillan

When you hear stories of children getting ridiculously wealthy long before they turn 21, you have to wonder how much of a role luck plays in success. Is it written in the stars? Does life work according to cause and effect or are there other forces at work? When it comes to the story of Eddy Zillan, one may be tempted to say \he made the right choice at the right time.

But he was only 18 at the time. Could he possibly have known enough about the market to be able to make such an informed decision? The chances of this question being answered are quite slim, and therefore all we can do is accept the tale and wonder what on earth he is going to do with his money.

Eddy’s life savings amounted to $12,000 when he was 18. This money came from the gifts that were given to him at his bar mitzvah, and money he earned by teaching tennis. Instead of letting this money mature in a bank account, he decided to put this money elsewhere. He invested in Bitcoin.

It took only three years for this investment to skyrocket to $1 million, approximately around the time that Eddy was to turn 21. While he could technically live off this money for quite some time, Zillan has no ideas of taking a break. He has started his own company, which offers advice when it comes to investing in Bitcoin for a fee. This company is called Cryptocurrency Financial and is proving to be wonderfully successful.

17. Rowan Hill

Can a man change his stars? Can he be born with one life ahead of him and then, after making a couple of the right decisions, land up with one that is completely different? This is a question and dream that has plagued people for centuries. As far as we know, you only get one life, and even if you don’t, the only life you remember is this one.

With this in mind, what do you do with this one life? Do you work a nine to five and then retire at 50 with a comfortable pension that allows you to live out your days in relative comfort? Rowan Hill was on track with this life. He was in the coal mining business in Australia. Who knows what his life would have been like if he had not gone into cryptocurrency.

Many people are sitting on quite a hoard of Bitcoins. These people could be sitting on millions of dollars, but they are not cashing out just yet. They are sticking with their coins and are eagerly watching as the price rises. This could prove to be quite risky as there is the possibility of the Bitcoin bubble bursting, leaving massive amounts of destruction in its wake.

Rowan is not one of these. He bought Bitcoin shares, let them mature for a while and then cashed out. He has then gone on to take this money and retire at the tender age of 26.

18. The American Government

This is not one person. But, considering the mass amount of money that has been made by the American Government from Bitcoin, it needs to be mentioned. Before anyone gets ahead of themselves, there are not people working for the government that trade bitcoins on behalf of the various organizations. The way that these departments are making money on cryptocurrency is by auctioning off confiscated hoards.

These auctions are not always done at the most strategic times, and organizations like the FBI could be making a lot more money if they were a bit more shrewd in their dealings. This whole process kicked off in 2013 when the FBI shut down the Silk Road Market. They did this because, apparently, the Bitcoins here were going to be used for illegal drug trades.

They confiscated 144,000 Bitcoins in this operation. At the conclusion of the auction of these coins, the FBI walked away with $48 million. Not only is this a considerable amount, but they spent no money on acquiring these coins.

This is also not a one-time thing. The Bitcoin market may not be thoroughly regulated at the moment, but some plans are being put in place. Once this has been done, the FBI will be confiscating many more hoards and therefore will be bringing in even more money than the great shutdown of 2013. This will also not be too far in the future, as the IRS has already made the declaration that bitcoins are in fact property that can be taxed.

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