By Natalie Lord
The crypto industry has moved from strength to strength over the past few years, albeit with some rollercoaster action along the way. Many crypto believers have experienced exponential success on the back of their commitment to digital currencies and continue to vie for crypto to have a greater presence in everyday life. A while back we looked at the key female players in the space and found that 95% of people in the industry are men. In the next few weeks we’ll be identifying the leading men of crypto, starting with the top three now.
Binance is currently the largest crypto exchange by trading volume in the world and naturally its CEO, Changpeng Zhao, is one of the leading lights in the industry. Zhao was born in China but moved to Vancover with his family in the late 1980s after his father was exiled for being “pro-bourgeois intellect.” In Canada, Zhao helped to support his family taking jobs in the service industry and worked at McDonalds for a bit. He went on to McGill University in Montreal where he read Computer Science. On graduating he worked for the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Bloomberg Tradebook before moving to Shanghai and founding Fusion Systems. He started to work on various cryptocurrency projects in 2013 including Blockchain.info and was Chief Technology Officer of OKCoin. He left OKCoin two years ago to start Binance which launched in July 2017. Just over a year later his net worth was estimated to be US$1.4 billion.
Another of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world is Coinbase, and after seeing Zhao top this list, it’s no surprise to find Coinbase’s CEO, Brian Armstrong, ranking next. As well as being a crypto exchange, Coinbase also offers a wide range of products and services for institutional investors. It has two core products: a Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX) for trading a variety of digital assets on its professional asset trading platform, and a user-facing retail broker of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin for fiat currency. It also offers an API for developers and merchants to build applications and accept payments in both digital currencies. The company offered buy/sell trading functionality in 32 countries as of last year with the cryptocurrency wallet available in 190 countries globally. Armstrong was featured in the 2014 film: “The Rise of Bitcoin,” and is a frequent speaker at Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency conferences.
Tyler Winklevoss is the Principal of Winklevoss Capital and CEO of Gemini, a next-generation digital asset exchange. He is also a rower, having competed in the men’s pair rowing event at the 2008 Summer Olympics with his identical twin brother Cameron. He was born in Southampton, New York and went to Harvard College where he majored in economics. He went on to postgraduate studies at the Said Business School at the University of Oxford where he left with an MBA in 2010. Winklevoss was the first Bitcoin billionaire in the world and behind the launch of the Gemini dollar, a stablecoin designed to provide liquidity to crypto traders.
Next week we continue to see who the powerhouses of the crypto industry are with more big names revealed.