By Natalie Lord
Last week we highlighted three of the leading men in the crypto industry: Changpeng Zhao, Brian Armstrong and Tyler Winklevoss. This week we look at other figures who are shining lights in the space.
There’s a different Godfather in the crypto sphere to the one that immediately springs to mind. His name is Vitalik Buterin and he’s known as the Godfather of Ethereum. Buterin was born in Russia but moved to Canada when he was six. His father was a computer scientist.
Buterin is one of the key programmers who is responsible for driving development of the Ethereum platform forward. His focus this year has been on making ICOs safer. To this end he recently unveiled the DAICO concept, a more secure and safer way to run an ICO and it’s gaining a strong following. He is also co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine.
The CEO of Ripple is Brad Garlinghouse and he’s another key crypto player. Ripple is a crypto payments start-up that earlier this year launched xCurrent, its international payment protocol. Garlinghouse holds a BA in economics from the University of Kansas and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Previously, Garlinghouse was the CEO of Hightail which is a file-sharing start-up. He’s also worked for AOL, Yahoo!, Flickr. Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Messenger. Garlinghouse is an active investor in more than 40 other start-up investments to date including hardware company, Pure Storage, AI start-up Diffbot and Indigo Agriculture.
Roger Ver was one of the earliest investors in the first batch of Bitcoin start-ups. He is now much involved with Bitcoin Cash, a hard fork of the original Bitcoin that is intended for use as cash. Ver has been referred to as “Bitcoin Jesus” for his strong belief in Bitcoin and his early adoption of the cryptocurrency. Ver was born and raised in Silico Valley. He served 10 years in prison for selling explosives on eBay, pleading guilty to three related felony charges. He moved to Japan in 2005 after his release and renounced US citizenship in 2014, instead opting for a Saint Kitts and Nevis passport. He is now the CEO of Bitcoin.com.
Digital Currency Group is a crypto incubator and investment fund that’s been around for a few years. Barry Silbert is the CEO is the company and the CEO of Grayscale Investments, a digital currency investment fund that runs the Bitcoin Investment Trust, a private trust invested solely in Bitcoin. Silbert previously founded SecondMarket Inc to provide liquidity for restricted securities in public companies. He also began investing in Bitcoin companies, starting as an angel investor, providing funding for many of the earliest companies in the space including Coinbase, Bitpay and Ripple. In 2015 he sold SecondMarket to NASDAQ then formed Digital Currency Group.
Next week we’ll unveil the final three hitters in the crypto top ten. One has a net worth of more than US$2bn, another has predicted Bitcoin will hit a price target of US$20,000 before the year is out, and another has put his PhD in Computer Science to very good use.