By Natalie Lord
In the final part of our look at the top 10 men in the crypto arena we list the last three big hitters. So far we’ve looked at Changpeng Zhao, Brian Armstrong, Tyler Winklevoss, Brad Garlinghouse, Roger Ver and Barry Silbert. This week we look at Jihan Wu, Michael Novogratz and Adam Back.
Bitmain is one of the world’s largest crypto mining companies with an estimated net worth of more than US$2 billion. Wu is one of its co-founders and one of the most influential men in the blockchain space. Last year Wu ranked at number three in Fortune’s “The Ledger 40” which listed people under the age of 40 who have transformed businesses in finance and technology. His net worth as of a year ago is approximated to be US$2.4 billion.
Bitmain was established in 2013 to develop and sell the world’s leading bitcoin miners using Bitmain’s ASIC chip technology. Bitmain owns a number of other brands including Antminer, AntPool and Hashnest, all of which are leaders in their respective fields. Bitmain presently is headquartered in Beijing but has offices in Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, Qingdao, Chengdu and Shenzhen.
Wu is also an ardent supporter of Bitcoin Unlimited. Bitcoin Unlimited is a solution to solve Bitcoin’s scalability issue.
Under the popular system of Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin blocks have a limited storage capacity of 1MB, but Bitcoin Unlimited believes that the size of these blocks should be increased to enable smoother running by decongesting the blocks. Bitcoin Unlimited wants the flexibility and freedom to increase the size of blockchain using miners to do so. If the consensus on this is positive, the result will be a new Bitcoin blockchain with larger-sized blocks. So far support of Bitcoin Unlimited is at about 40%, with rival Segwit is at 34%.
Wu read economics at Peking University.
Novogratz was formerly a hedge fund manager with Fortress Investment Group, but is now the CEO of Galaxy Investment Partners, which is a crypto investment company. He is often referred to as “Bitcoin Bull” because of his commitment to and belief in the cryptocurrency. Novogratz has predicted a price target of US$20,000 for Bitcoin next year.
Novogratz was born in 1964, raised in Virginia and now lives in New York. He attended Princeton University where he studied economics before going to work at Goldman Sachs where he made partner, holding prominent roles across Latin America and Asia. He is also an avid wrestler and qualified for the National Collegiate Athletic Association wrestling championships in 1986 and 1987.
Novogratz was appointed to sit on the Hudson River Park Trust’s board of directors in 2010 and serves as a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Investment Advisory Committee on Financial Markets. He is also involved in the Acumen Fund, NYU Langone Medical Center, Princeton Varsity Club, the School for Strings, the Jazz Foundation of America, PAX and is Honorary Chairman of the USA Wrestling Foundation.
In 2017, Novogratz stated that 20% of his net worth was in Bitcoin and Ethereum and that he made US$250 million from cryptocurrencies in 2016 and 2017. He was ranked as a billionaire by Forbes as far back as 2007 showing a net worth of US$2.3 billion. In 2006 he bought Robert De Niro’s US$12.25 million duplex in Tribeca.
Back is best known for inventing Hashcash, which is a proof of work system used by numerous email providers to combat spam. He is also a respected cryptographer, crypto hacker and CEO of Blockstream. Blockstream provides funding for the development of Bitcoin Core, the predominant Bitcoin network client software, and is focused on developing sidechains and other applications for the crypto ether.
Back has extensive expertise in cryptography protocols, Bitcoin, electronic cash, privacy enhanced technology, distributed file systems, anonymity, distributed publishing systems, p2p systems, and serves as a consultant in these areas. He was behind Credlib, which is a library that implements the credential systems of Stefan Brands and David Chaum, and was the first person to formalize the “Non-Interactive Forward-Secrecy” security property for email, and to note that and Identity Based Encryption scheme can be used to provide None-Interactive Forward Secrecy. He also pioneered the use of ultra-compact code with his 3-line RSA in Perl signature file and non-exportable t-shirts to protest cryptography export regulations.
Back was born in London, England in 1970 and now lives in Malta. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Exeter.