- Forbes on Wednesday released its first-ever list of the richest people in bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
- Most of the people on the list are the founders and CEOs of the biggest companies in blockchain, the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
- They're worth more than $17 billion and as much as $24 billion, though that number fluctuates daily with price swings in the crypto market.
The life of a crypto-billionaire is stressful.
After unprecedented gains over the past year — driving bitcoin, ether, and Ripple's XRP up 1,300%, 8,000%, and 32,000% — cryptocurrencies have come back down to earth in recent weeks.
As of Friday afternoon, bitcoin was down 28% since late January. On Monday, bitcoin hit $7,000, down 64% from its all-time high of nearly $20,000 in late December.
And as of Tuesday, the total value of all digital currencies had dropped by 61% from its peak on January 7, to $320 billion from $826 billion.
While stories abound of regular people making fortunes in crypto, the world's richest in the space are primarily those making the pans and shovels in the digital gold rush.
On Wednesday, Forbes magazine released its first-ever list of the richest people in cryptocurrency, similar to its Forbes 400 annual list, which dates back to 1982. The values are estimates based on the price of cryptocurrencies as of January 19.
In his letter explaining why the magazine created the list, Forbes' editor, Randall Lane, said such transparency could help the crypto industry move out of its shadowy beginnings to financial maturity.
Meet the world's richest bitcoin billionaires:
13. Valery Vavilov, 38, founded the bitcoin-mining company BitFury in 2011, which has mined about 800,000 bitcoins and employs 400 people. He's worth $500 million to $700 million.
12. Dan Larimer, BlockOne's 35-year-old chief technology officer who helped found three blockchain platforms, is worth $600 million to $700 million.
11. Brendan Blumer is the 31-year-old CEO of BlockOne, the company behind the blockchain platform EOS.IO. He is worth $600 million to $700 million.
10. Michael Novogratz, the 53-year-old CEO of the digital-assets bank Galaxy Digital and former hedge funder who was a billionaire before the 2007 recession, is now worth $700 million to $1 billion.
9. Brock Pierce, a former child actor who now lives in Puerto Rico, has helped fund tons of crypto-based companies, including Coinbase and Tether. He's worth $700 million to $1 billion.
8. Anthony Di Iorio, 43, founded the blockchain platform Ethereum and the cryptocurrency wallet Jaxx. He has invested in Qtum, Vechain, and ZCash, among others. His crypto fortune is worth $750 million to $1 billion.
7. Matthew Roszak, the cofounder of the blockchain startup Bloq who founded Tally Capital, a crypto-focused private-investment firm, was an early investor in bitcoin. He now has $900 million to $1 billion in crypto.
6. Brian Armstrong, the 35-year-old CEO of the digital-currency exchange Coinbase, has a crypto fortune of $900 million to $1 billion.
5. Matthew Mellon, a 54-year-old investor and an heir to the Mellon banking fortune, invested early in Ripple's XRP. He now has a crypto fortune of $900 million to $1 billion.
4. Twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, 36, have an estimated crypto fortune of $900 million to $1.1 billion. The two were early investors in bitcoin and founded the digital-currency exchange Gemini in 2015.
3. Changpeng Zhao, the 41-year-old founder and CEO of Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, has $1.1 billion to $2 billion in crypto investments.
2. Joseph Lubin, the 53-year-old cofounder of Ethereum who was formerly an executive at Goldman Sachs, has between $1 billion and $5 billion in crypto.
1. Chris Larsen, the 57-year-old cofounder of Ripple, has $7.5 billion to $8 billion in cryptocurrencies. His fortune is primarily in 5.2 billion XRP, the token launched by Ripple.