The Most Influential People in Crypto (Part 2)
January 28, 2020
Despite the decentralized nature of blockchain, it would have never existed without people. As with any technological breakthrough, the crypto industry has its influencers who have pushed the sphere forward and changed it forever. They have deserved to be known by the global community, and here is a great chance to meet some of them in one single article.
One of the eight Ethereum founders, Joseph Lubin, saw the high potential of the blockchain from its earliest dawn. After reading the Satoshi Nakamoto paper on Bitcoin, he claimed the technology to be a possible organizing principle for the Earth for years, meaning it can replace the long list of currently existing inefficient systems.
Joseph was born in Toronto, Canada, and had lived in the city for most of his life. Therefore, it is not a surprise that he has run into the Ethereum project, founded by Torontonians Vitalik Buterin and Antonio Di Iorio. Lubin firstly heard about Ether in 2013, and after a more in-depth exploration of the project, he claimed to support it publicly. As far as rumors go, Joseph has been one of the top buyers during the Ether crowd sale. Lubin continues to be one of the project’s primary driving forces nowadays.
He is also a founder of ConsenSys, one of the fastest-growing companies in the blockchain world. Headquartered in New York, ConsenSys is a home for numerous decentralized applications and tools for developers, aimed to expand the power of Ethereum and help governments and companies to adopt it.
- Joseph Lubin believes that the future of the Internet is decentralized, and Web 3.0 will use Ethereum’s best features to make the world a much better place.
- Lubin’s crypto net worth is estimated to be between $3-5 billion.
- In ConsenSys, found by Lubin, decentralization is the law. Employees can choose their titles, and absolute power is spread among self-organizing teams.
Without a doubt, Katie Haun is one of the most influential women across the crypto industry. Started as an ordinary law worker, she later became a federal prosecutor focusing on fraud, cyber, and corporate crimes. She also led investigations around the famous Mt.Gox hack and the Silk Road story, along with the SEC, FBI and Treasury.
She first heard about Bitcoin in 2012, and she soon realized what is lying behind the BTC abbreviature. The Mt.Gox and Silk Road prosecutions made Haun a known person in Silicon Valley, and the top companies started to invite Katie to different events as a spokesman. As it turned out, she had crucial insights that could help blockchain startups to grow during the hard times.
Haun left the Justice Department in 2017 and decided to dive into the world of Bitcoin and other blockchain projects deeper. She joined the board of Coinbase the same year, and one year later, she was invited to become an Andreessen Horowitz general partner.
As for today, Katie actively invests in crypto startups and serves as an adviser for leading blockchain companies. She is convinced that cryptocurrencies will replace traditional payment systems in the next ten years, as rapidly, as cars have replaced horses.
- Katie has taken part in the launch of Facebook’s Libra project;
- She is also the first-ever female general partner of Andreessen Horowitz. No woman has achieved the title before.
Here is another person whom bio is undoubtedly worth to be discovered. Brendan Blumer is an American entrepreneur who started his big technological journey very early and still could not stop changing the world. At the age of 15, Brendan created a website where people could buy virtual assets for popular MMORPG games. He called the company Gamecliff, and that was his first acquaintance with the world of digital finances.
After Brendan had graduated from school, his company Gamecliff was acquired by IGE, and Brendan moved to Hong Kong. A few years later, in 2007, Blumer founded the Account Network that also specialized in selling in-game goods. It was Brendan’s first big success as the platform reached a $1 mln monthly revenue, and that fact gave him wings to make something even more prominent.
Blumer did not miss the chance and founded one of the biggest platforms for selling, buying, and renting a property in Asia Okay.com. Onwards upwards, and in 2016 Brendan met a software programmer Daniel Lammer, with whom one year later, they founded a Block.one company specializing in high-performance blockchain technologies.
Their first project EOS.attracted public attention not only with the technologies and ideas but also with its ambitious plans to collect $1 billion during ICO. They have done it, and for now, EOS is one of the most prominent digital currencies in the world.
- EOS still holds the first place in the ICO history with more than $4 billion collected;
- In 2018, Forbes named Blumer one of the wealthiest people in the crypto industry.
One of the most influential people in the blockchain history, Gavin Andresen, took Satoshi Nakamoto’s place as a Bitcoin leader after Satoshi’s departure. Gavin has been with the project since its earliest stages. However, today Andresen and most of his Bitcoin teammates are on different sides, and there is a story behind it.
Gavin Andresen firstly heard about Bitcoin in 2010. He understood the brilliance of the technology and created a website called Bitcoin Faucet that gave BTC away. Andresen was not officially involved in the Bitcoin project, but he believed in it and wanted people to try it themselves. He also started to communicate with Satoshi Nakamoto via email and create some code for the BTC project. Although most people give all the credits for Bitcoin development to Satoshi, Gavin Andresen has been a lead developer of the project for almost seven years, from 2011 to 2017. As you might have guessed, there have been a lot of changes and improvements to the original Bitcoin during the time.
In 2011, Andresen created the Bitcoin Foundation. The main goal of the company was collecting money and resources from all over the world to support BTC, pay talented developers, and generally improve Bitcoin. Also, Bitcoin Foundation was meant to connect BTC with the legal world of national authorities. Although Gavin Andresen did a lot for Bitcoin, he was slowly going separate way by programming less and becoming a public person rather. He did not discuss solutions with the team, neither did he commit any code to GitHub, even though he was still a lead developer.
In May 2016, he shared a blog post, which claimed Australian programmer Craig Wright was the real Satoshi Nakamoto. The public did not take it too seriously, while the team did, and Gavin had lost his access to commit any code to Bitcoin’s GitHub repository, and that was the start of his withdrawal from the project. In 2017 he left Bitcoin Core and started to support its rival – Bitcoin Cash.
- To launch Bitcoin Faucet, Andresen bought 10,000 BTC for $50 that was given away to the first users of the platform;
- Under Andresen’s leadership, 2/3 of the original Bitcoin code was refactored.
Adam Back is a British cryptographer and businessman who has contributed to stabilizing Bitcoin and helped its spreading across the world. Has been working on e-cash protocols since 1995, Back has created the Hashcash algorithm, that we all know is used in Bitcoin. It is the foundation of BTC mining as we know it today.
He has also founded a Blockstream company, aimed at the further development of Bitcoin and improving blockchain technology, as well as spreading both across the globe. Blockstream is a home for hundreds of BTC developers, and they are getting paid for their hard work by Adam’s company. Plus, Blockstream is funding Bitcoin Core, the leading client software of the Bitcoin network.
- Hashash is used in numerous anti-spam and security systems across the world;
- Internet community often calls Adam ‘the brightest mind of the crypto industry.’
Catherine Coley is an American financial expert and exchange analyst. Even though Catherine is just 30-year old, she can already be considered as a financial market veteran due to her rich experience and the positions she has held.
Coley started her career in Hong Kong in 2011, where she served as a Foreign Exchange Analyst at Morgan Stanley. Later on, she moved to Europe and worked on the same position for London’s Morgan Stanley FX for business. In 2016 she became a Foreign Exchange Advisor at Silicon Valley Bank, where she had been working until the beginning of her crypto journey.
Catherine signed the two-year term contract with Ripple in 2017. She held the position of Head of XRP Institutional Liquidity and was responsible for working with custody agents, exchanges, market makers, fund managers, OTC desks, and institutional investors. In short, she was responsible for attaching new investments to the Ripple project that later become the world’s third cryptocurrency according to market capitalization.
At the end of the last year, she left Ripple and joined Binance US as its CEO. There is not too much to say about Catherine’s role in the world’s biggest exchange yet, but, as she marked herself, she has grand plans to expand Binance despite all the law difficulties that are currently existing on the American market.
- Coley is the first CEO of Binance US in its history;
- She actively uses social networks and regularly reads users’ feedback to correct crucial business processes.
Chris Dixon is an American entrepreneur and investor. He started programming as a kid and became a professional in high-speed trading firm Arbitrade right after graduating from college. While working in Arbitrade, Dixon fell in love with the financial sphere and chose it as his next path.
In 2005 he co-founded a web security startup SiteAdvisor that was purchased just one year after by McAfee company. In 2009 Dixon co-founded the Hunch website before joining venture capital fund Founder Collective, where he invested in Buzzfeed, Uber, Venmo, and some other brands. Additionally, he invested in Foursquare, Kickstarter, and Warby Parker.
In 2011, Hunch was purchased by eBay, and Dixon was offered to join Andreessen Horowitz and become its 7th general partner. He seriously considered crypto for the first time in 2012, when Chris believed that Bitcoin was just what the Internet had needed for a long time.
Since then, he invested in a few crypto projects and led the $25 million fundraising round for international cryptocurrency platform Coinbase. Dixon keeps looking for perspective opportunities and plans to launch his crypto startup school in the coming months.
- Dixon led numerous projects in Andreessen Horowitz, including drone startup Airware, 3D printing companies, and Oculus VR;
- In 2010, he was named the top angel investor of the technology industry by Bloomberg.
Peter Smith is a British entrepreneur who gained global attention thanks to the founding of the Blockchain.com platform. Formerly known as Blockchain.info, the platform helps users safely store and quickly transfer crypto assets across the world. As for 2020, the Blockchain company, which backs up the platform, is an absolute leader in digital currency and distributed ledger technology.
Smith, alongside Nicolas Cary and Ben Reeves, were the co-founders of the company in the early 10’s. As Peter confessed years later, it was just a side project in the beginning, and very few people were interested. The things had changed in 2013, where the sphere started to rise, and more and more attention was coming to Bitcoin.
As for today, it is not a side project anymore, with more than 200,000 daily transactions and a $1 bln of funds transferred using Blockchain.com each month. Peter is very proud that the company still has headquarters in London, and believes it is the best place for this kind of business. Smith is also a board member of UK Finance and a founder of Blockchain Principal Strategies – the platform that helps people to get proper knowledge on crypto investment.
- Peter is a noted specialist in the FinTech industry, and he has been featured in the world’s leading media sources, such as the New York Times or Wall Street Journal;
- Smith believes that the UK will become the first G7 country to issue digital currency.
Kris Marszalek is an experienced entrepreneur who is famous in the crypto world for the creation of the Crypto.com platform. He has rich experience in creating companies from scratch, and Crypto.com is his fifth business, following YIYI Hong Kong Limited, Ensogo, and a few more.
Crypto.com was launched in Summer 2016 and had become one of the leading platforms of such kind since then, with more than one mln users worldwide. As Kris has mentioned in one of the interviews, building products that solve real problems is his passion, and the Crypto.com platform is just of the kind.
It helps thousands of people to buy and sell goods in cryptocurrencies. It accelerates the process of global adoption of digital assets, officially supporting BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC, and BNB coins.
- Crypto.com offers an extensive list of products, such as Wallet & Card App, the MCO Visa Card, Crypto Invest, Crypto.com Chain, and Crypto Credit;
- Crypto.com is Marzsaleks’s other business to grow from $0 to $100 mln in revenue.
One of the wealthiest people in the crypto sphere, Chris Larsen, is mostly known for its participation in the Ripple project. He was one of the co-founders of the Ripple Labs Inc. back in 2012 and had contributed a lot to the project since then. Today, he holds the position of Executive Chairman in Ripple.
Formerly known as OpenCoin, the platform had a simple idea to provide fast and secure direct transactions between two parties. Despite the obviousness of the problem, the market did not have a solution, and Ripple quickly gained its consumers. In 2014, Ripple had become the second cryptocurrency in the world, and Ripple Labs was named one of the top 50 smartest companies.
Larsen was also a co-founder of such projects as E-Loan and Prosper Marketplace. His current worth is estimated at $50 billion, and that number makes him one of the wealthiest people in the world.
- Even though Chris is not a Ripple’s CEO anymore, he says he is 100% focused on Ripple and helps the team every way he can;
- In 2018, Forbes estimated Larsen’s worth at $59 bln, putting him at the fifth place of the wealthiest people in the world, right ahead of Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg.