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The Richest Crypto And Bitcoin Billionaires In The World 2024


Meet the 17 investors and entrepreneurs who made ten-digit fortunes on the blockchain.

By John Hyatt, Forbes Staff


The crypto winter is over. Bitcoin has more than doubled over the past 12 months, hitting an all-time high of $73,000 in March after the U.S. legalized bitcoin-pegged exchange-traded funds. The total value of all outstanding cryptocurrencies increased by 170%, adding some $1.6 trillion in market value over the past 12 months, according to CoinGecko.

That’s helped make at least 17 people crypto billionaires, according to Forbes’ 2024 World’s Billionaires list, up from nine crypto billionaires last year. These 17 investors and entrepreneurs are worth a collective $93 billion, between their estimated crypto asset holdings, publicly disclosed stock holdings and private assets. That’s more than double the $37 billion in collective crypto billionaire wealth last year.

For the third year running, Changpeng Zhao, founder and former CEO of crypto exchange Binance, is crypto’s wealthiest person. Despite pleading guilty to U.S. money laundering charges in November, CZ, as he’s known, is now worth an estimated $33 billion, up from $10.5 billion last year. That makes him the biggest crypto gainer in dollar terms since last year and the 50th-wealthiest person in the world. The bulk of his fortune comes from his majority stake in Binance, which remains the industry’s largest global trading venue by volume.


Two of this year’s biggest gainers can thank investors in their publicly traded companies. Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy, a software firm that has made heavy investments in bitcoin, is now worth an estimated $4.4 billion, compared to $760 million last year. Brian Armstrong, CEO of crypto exchange Coinbase, is worth an estimated $11.2 billion, up from just $2.2 billion last year. Shares of Coinbase and MicroStrategy are each up more than fourfold over the past 12 months.

Making their debut on Forbes’ annual billionaires ranking are Giancarlo Devasini, Paolo Ardoino, Jean-Louis van der Velde and Stuart Hoegner, four large shareholders of Tether, a controversial but wildly profitable stablecoin issuer. Crypto’s three-comma club also includes familiar faces like the Winklevoss twins (of Facebook fame), venture capitalist and Nikki Haley booster Tim Draper, and Ripple cofounder and budding space entrepreneur Jed McCaleb.

Here are the richest people in crypto in 2024.

NET WORTHS ARE AS OF MARCH 8, 2024; COMPARISONS ARE BETWEEN MARCH 8, 2024 AND MARCH 10, 2023.


16. Joe Lau

Net worth: $1.5 billion (vs. $1.8 billion) | Source of wealth: Alchemy

16. Nikil Viswanathan

Net worth: $1.5 billion (vs. $1.8 billion) | Source of wealth: Alchemy

The two Stanford alumni cofounded Alchemy, a Web3 infrastructure provider whose developer suite powers crypto and blockchain projects, in 2020. Investors valued Alchemy at more than $10 billion in early 2022. Today the company is worth about $5.6 billion, based on secondary sales of private shares tracked by data provider Notice.co.


15. Tim Draper

Net worth: $2 billion (vs. $650 million) | Source of wealth: Bitcoin

Draper is a venture capitalist and early Bitcoin investor. In 2014, he bought 29,656 bitcoins confiscated by U.S. Marshals from the shuttered Silk Road black market for $18.7 million, or $632 per coin. They are now worth $2 billion. He has also made dozens of VC investments in companies ranging from Tesla to Theranos.


14. Stuart Hoegner

Net worth: $2.5 billion (vs. $1.2 billion in July) | Source of wealth: Tether

Stuart Hoegner has served as general counsel for Tether and its sister company Bitfinex since 2014, and he holds an estimated 13% stake. A Canadian certified accountant, Hoegner began his career at Ernst & Young before starting Gaming Counsel Professional Corporation, a boutique law practice that catered to online gambling and cryptocurrency clients. He was also previously a director of compliance and deputy general counsel at Excapsa Software, an online poker company that became embroiled in a software-facilitated cheating scandal.

Tether has been accused of facilitating money laundering for terrorist groups and criminal organizations, including human trafficking rings that run “Pig Butchering” crypto scams. (Tether says it follows “stringent Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering protocols” and “remains committed to expeditiously working with law enforcement” to identify criminal activity.) In 2021, Tether and its sister company Bitfinex paid $18.5 million to settle fraud charges with the New York Attorney General’s office, which alleged Tether had overstated its cash reserves.


13. Mike Novogratz

Net worth: $2.5 billion (returnee) | Source of wealth: Galaxy Digital Holdings, Bitcoin

An early bitcoin investor, Novogratz heads crypto investment firm and merchant bank Galaxy Digital Holdings, which trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and has about $6 billion in assets under management. His stake in the company is worth about $2 billion. Prior to his career in crypto, Novogratz worked on Wall Street. He spent a decade at Goldman Sachs and then led a macro-focused fund for private equity firm Fortress Investment Group, later becoming the firm’s president.


11. Tyler Winklevoss

Net worth: $2.7 billion (vs. $1.2 billion) | Source of wealth: Bitcoin, Gemini

11. Cameron Winklevoss

Net worth: $2.7 billion (vs. $1.2 billion) | Source of wealth: Bitcoin, Gemini

The Winklevoss twins, notorious for their dispute with Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook’s founding (as depicted in the 2010 movie The Social Network), have most of their wealth tied up in bitcoin, which they first bought in 2013, and are believed to have large stashes of ethereum and Filecoin as well. The Winklevii also control 75% of Gemini, the crypto exchange they founded together, which aims to compete with the likes of Coinbase and Binance. Outside investors last valued Gemini at over $7 billion in 2021, but Forbes now estimates that Gemini is worth less than $1 billion because its trading volumes have plummeted amid investor and government lawsuits stemming from the 2022 collapse of its interest-bearing program, Gemini Earn.


10. Jed McCaleb

Net worth: $2.9 billion (vs. $2.4 billion) | Source of wealth: XRP sales

Another early crypto pioneer, McCaleb created Mt. Gox, the first major bitcoin exchange, in 2010. He sold it a year later, before it was infamously hacked. Next, McCaleb cofounded Ripple in 2012, but soon left over disagreements with fellow founders. Most of his wealth comes from selling much of the original 9 billion XRP he pocketed as a Ripple cofounder. He sold the last of his coins in 2022. (McCaleb also founded Stellar, a Ripple competitor, in 2014.) These days, he spends his time and financial resources on Vast, a space exploration company that he’s backing.


9. Matthew Roszak

Net worth: $3.1 billion (vs. $1.1 billion) | Source of wealth: Bitcoin, Ethereum

An early investor in bitcoin, Roszak made his first purchases in 2010. Most of his wealth comes from early bets on cryptocurrencies, including ethereum and BNB, Binance’s native token. Roszak also runs Bloq, a blockchain startup that invests in other crypto ventures and consults on projects.


8. Fred Ehrsam

Net worth: $3.2 billion (vs. $930 million) | Source of wealth: Coinbase, Paradigm

Ehrsam founded cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase in 2012 with Brian Armstrong. He left the company in 2017 but remains on the board and still owns about 5% of its stock. In 2018, he cofounded Paradigm, a cryptocurrency investment firm, which now has more than $8 billion in assets under management.

Coinbase generated $2.9 billion of revenue last year, down from $3.1 billion in 2022 and $7.8 billion in 2021, the last time crypto prices spiked. But the company has returned to profitability, generating net income of $100 million, compared to a $2.6 billion net loss in 2022.


7. Chris Larsen

Net worth: $3.2 billion (vs. $2.2 billion) | Source of wealth: Ripple, XRP

Larsen cofounded Ripple in 2012 to facilitate international payments using the XRP cryptocurrency. He stepped down as Ripple CEO in late 2016 but remains executive chairman. He holds an 18% stake in Ripple, which investors value at $3.8 billion, according to recent secondary market data shared with Forbes. He also has a sizable stash of XRP—over 2.8 billion tokens—and nearly $1 billion of cash and investments, per Forbes’ estimates, largely from prior XRP sales.


6. Jean-Louis van der Velde

Net worth: $3.9 billion (vs. $1.8 billion in July) | Source of wealth: Tether

As Tether’s former CEO, van der Velde operates as a figurehead responsible for maintaining Tether’s high-level strategic relationships with banks and regulators, and owns an estimated 20% of the company. He left the Netherlands in 1985 to attend university in Taiwan, and subsequently cofounded several IT and tech startups in Asia before joining Tether. He lives in Hong Kong.


5. Paolo Ardoino

Net worth: $3.9 billion (vs. $1.8 billion in July) | Source of wealth: Tether

Ardoino serves as Tether’s CEO, its public face and owns an estimated 20% of the company. He joined Tether’s sister company, Bitfinex, as a senior software developer in 2014. Ardoino previously worked in startups as a computer programmer.


4. Michael Saylor

Net worth: $4.4 billion (vs. $760 million) | Source of wealth: MicroStrategy, Bitcoin

Saylor is the biggest crypto billionaire gainer, in percentage terms, on this year’s list. Shares of MicroStrategy, the software firm Saylor started in the 1990s and refashioned into a bitcoin investment vehicle in recent years, are up nearly 500% from last year. The company now owns about 193,000 bitcoins, making it the largest corporate holder of bitcoin in the world, according to its CFO.

Then there’s Saylor’s personal bitcoin stash—Saylor said in 2021 he holds 17,732 bitcoins that he bought at an average price of $9,882 per coin—and he is in the process of cashing out about $200 million of MicroStrategy stock, which he announced at the beginning of the year.


3. Giancarlo Devasini

Net worth: $9.2 billion (vs. $4 billion in July) | Source of wealth: Tether

Devasini is the CFO and likely the largest individual shareholder of Tether, crypto’s largest issuer of stablecoins—a form of cryptocurrency that is pegged to the U.S. dollar or other hard currency and used as a medium of exchange. Over 100 billion Tether tokens have been minted. Buoyed by higher interest rates, Tether generated $6.2 billion in profit last year from the interest it generates on customers’ collateral. Devasini owns an estimated 47% stake in Tether, which Forbes values by applying the average price-to-earnings multiples of a group of publicly traded mid-tier banks and asset managers.


2. Brian Armstrong

Net worth: $11.2 billion (vs. $2.2 billion) | Source of wealth: Coinbase

Armstrong, who cofounded Coinbase in 2013 with Fred Ehrsam, is the company’s largest individual shareholder, with an 18% stake. The crypto exchange’s stock is up 50% year-to-date, and over three-fold since last year, giving it a market capitalization of nearly $60 billion. Since November, Armstrong has sold more than $170 million worth of Coinbase stock through an automated 10b5-1 trading plan.


1. Changpeng Zhao

Net worth: $33 billion (vs. $10.5 billion) | Source of wealth: Binance

Zhao, who goes by CZ, agreed to personally pay $200 million in fines last year to settle federal money laundering charges brought by the Department of Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. (Binance agreed to pay an additional $4.5 billion.) He also agreed to step down as CEO of crypto exchange Binance and is barred from involvement with Binance for three years as part of his guilty plea. (Zhao’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 30). Yet it hardly left a dent in his fortune. His stake in Binance—estimated to be 90%, based on corporate documents and conversations with former employees—is worth some $32.5 billion.

Binance remains the largest crypto exchange in the world by trading volume, generating an estimated $9 billion of revenue last year, according to Forbes’ analysis. To estimate Binance’s market value, Forbes applied the price-to-sales multiple of Coinbase, a publicly traded peer, then applied further discounts to account for Binance’s concentrated ownership, the possibility of further regulatory enforcement and key-man risks following CZ’s departure.


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