Blog: Key Figures in the Cryptocurrency World
Vitalik Buterin, Changpeng Zhao, and Barry Silbert. If these names are unfamiliar or you want to learn more about them, read this blog post. This blog post discusses seven significant figures in the cryptocurrency world.
Satoshi Nakamoto is likely the most well-known – and simultaneously unknown – individual in the cryptocurrency world. More precisely, Nakamoto may not even be one person, but rather a group of individuals behind that name. Nakamoto is the creator of Bitcoin, and since Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency, Nakamoto can be considered the initiator of the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Nakamoto published the Bitcoin white paper in October 2008, which can be described as the operational description or project plan for Bitcoin. Subsequently, Nakamoto released Bitcoin on January 9, 2009, and on the same day, the first block of the Bitcoin blockchain, the genesis block, was mined. After this, Nakamoto continued to develop Bitcoin with other developers who joined after Bitcoin's release, such as Gavin Andresen. Nakamoto ceased involvement with Bitcoin in 2010, posting a final message on the bitcointalk forum in April 2011, stating, "I’ve moved on to other things."
Nakamoto is also the largest holder of bitcoins, owning an estimated 1.1 million bitcoins, which have never been moved. Many believe that Nakamoto's bitcoins will never be moved. The value of Nakamoto's bitcoins was tens of billions of euros by the end of 2023. While Nakamoto's identity remains unknown, several guesses have been made, including individuals like Hal Finney, Nick Szabo, Craig Wright, and Dorian Nakamoto.
Born in 1994 in Russia
After Nakamoto, the most important figure for cryptocurrencies, according to many, is the founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin. The reason for this is that Buterin's creation, Ethereum, serves as the foundation for DeFi, NFT, and thousands of other cryptocurrencies. Buterin entered the world of cryptocurrencies at the age of 17 in 2011, learning about Bitcoin. He then published the Ethereum white paper in 2013, and Ethereum became operational in 2015. Even ten years after the white paper's publication, Buterin continues to influence Ethereum's development and is still seen as a prominent figure in Ethereum's community. Unlike Nakamoto, Buterin is well-known in the cryptocurrency world and regularly expresses opinions on cryptocurrencies and their future development. Because Buterin played a crucial role in creating one of the most significant innovations in the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem, Ethereum, his opinions are highly valued both within and outside the cryptocurrency world.
Born in 1965 in the United States
The founder of the U.S. technology company MicroStrategy, Michael Saylor, has emerged in recent years as one of the most prominent advocates for Bitcoin. In the fall of 2020, MicroStrategy became the first publicly traded company to purchase bitcoin. MicroStrategy continued to buy bitcoin almost 30 times over the next three years, and by the end of 2023, it owned nearly 160,000 bitcoins. Shortly after MicroStrategy's first bitcoin purchase in the fall of 2020, Saylor revealed that he personally owns nearly 18,000 bitcoins. Saylor daily shares Bitcoin-related content on social media, and he is regularly interviewed on U.S. television about Bitcoin-related matters. In his public comments, Saylor focuses on why companies should allocate their funds to bitcoin. Additionally, MicroStrategy has organized events aimed at helping companies acquire bitcoin.
Born in 1971 in South Africa
The world's richest person, CEO, and founder of Tesla, a company focusing on electric cars and sustainable energy solutions, and SpaceX, a space exploration company, Elon Musk, is a highly attention-grabbing advocate for cryptocurrencies. Musk has sporadically posted cryptocurrency-related content on social media for several years. Musk's posts about Bitcoin and Dogecoin garnered significant attention, especially from 2020 to 2022. Although Musk's posts are typically humorous, they have significantly affected the price of Dogecoin on several occasions.
Tesla's decisions regarding Bitcoin have played a significant role in the price fluctuations of both Bitcoin and the entire cryptocurrency market. For instance, the price of Bitcoin and, consequently, the entire cryptocurrency market surged significantly in February 2021 after Tesla announced a $1.5 billion bitcoin purchase and plans to accept bitcoin as a payment method. Tesla's decision in May 2021 to suspend accepting bitcoin as a payment method had a negative impact on Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market. Regardless of Musk's comments and Tesla's decisions, Musk personally owns Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin, according to the latest information.
Born in 1981 in El Salvador
Third on this list of individuals outside the cryptocurrency realm is Nayib Bukele, the President of El Salvador. Under Bukele's leadership, El Salvador became the first country in September 2021 to adopt bitcoin as legal tender. After this historic move, El Salvador began purchasing bitcoins and owned about 3,100 bitcoins by the end of 2023. Another significant development related to Bitcoin in El Salvador is the construction of Bitcoin City, financed by Bitcoin bonds. The city's energy needs will be met with geothermal energy from a volcano, which will also be used for Bitcoin mining. According to Bukele, tourism in the Central American country, with approximately 6.4 million inhabitants, has increased by about 95 percent since bitcoin became legal tender. Bukele is reported to be the most popular president in Latin America, with about 90 percent of the population having a positive view of him, according to surveys.
Born in 1977 in China
The founder and CEO of Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), has globally advanced the opportunities for cryptocurrency trading. CZ has been involved in various roles in the cryptocurrency space since 2013. Binance, founded by CZ, was established in 2017. Although Binance is a centrally managed cryptocurrency exchange, it has also advanced DeFi under CZ's leadership, notably through the BNB Chain platform. Like Vitalik Buterin, CZ is one of those individuals whose opinions are widely respected, both within and outside the cryptocurrency world. CZ is also among the richest individuals in the cryptocurrency world, with an estimated wealth of around 10 billion euros at the end of 2023, excluding his cryptocurrency holdings.
Born in 1976 in the United States
Barry Silbert, the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group (DCG), a venture capital firm specializing in cryptocurrencies, influences the entire cryptocurrency market through DCG. DCG's subsidiaries include Grayscale, a provider of cryptocurrency funds, Genesis, which offers lending, trading, and custody services for institutional investors, Foundry, a Bitcoin mining company, CoinDesk, a cryptocurrency media outlet, and Luno, a cryptocurrency exchange. Silbert first invested in cryptocurrencies in 2012 and founded DCG in 2015. DCG has been a key player in the growth of the cryptocurrency market, having invested in over 200 companies in their early stages. These companies include Coinbase, Circle, and Ripple. Silbert is also credited with promoting the participation of institutional players in the cryptocurrency market through Grayscale and Genesis.Ville Viitaharju Cryptocurrency specialist