After the continuous crashes, the cryptocurrency market has been suffering for months, costing its top billionaires hundreds of billions in net worth and downgrading many of them to millionaires or downright bankrupting them, some can still be called crypto and Bitcoin (BTC) billionaires.
Some of these people had the fortune to lose ‘only’ a couple of hundred million. In contrast, others’ losses have amounted to tens of billions, and some of them have even landed in jail, such as the founder of crypto exchange FTX and a former billionaire now worth $0, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF).
As of December 2022, the list of crypto billionaires has shrunk to include Binance’s Changepg Zhao (CZ), Gemini’s Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, Ripple’s Jed McCaleb and Chris Larsen, Coinbase’s Brian Armstrong, and Bloq’s Matthew Roszak, according to the data acquired by Forbes in late December.
Interestingly, despite losing more than $50 billion of his worth (although Statista puts his loss at $82 billion), the CEO of crypto trading platform Binance Changpeng Zhao (CZ), remains the richest man in crypto, with an estimated net worth of $4.5 billion, stemming from his 70% stake in the crypto exchange.
That said, CZ has faced harsh public criticism (such as from economist Nouriel Roubini and VC bull Kevin O’Leary) and investigations opened against him and his platform by the authorities in the United States and Europe over allegations in connection with money laundering and other financial crimes.
Co-founder of the crypto firm Ripple Labs, which is currently entangled in a legal battle with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Jed McCaleb can consider himself lucky for losing ‘only’ $100 million to his net worth, ending up at $2.4 billion in December, according to Forbes’ estimates.
However, his fortune has remained secure only because he sold out almost all of his holdings of XRP, the token issued by Ripple, before the crash – between December 2020 and July 2022 – in accordance with the separation agreement that all of Ripple’s co-founders signed in 2013.
Another co-founder of Ripple, Chris Larsen, has lost more than $2 billion ($1.7 billion according to Statista) throughout 2022 due to the dropping price of XRP, resulting in his current net worth dropping to $2.1 billion but still keeping the moniker of ‘crypto billionaire.’
Larsen is also named as one of the defendants in the SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple Labs, next to Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple, on the grounds that the sale of XRP constituted an unregistered offering and selling of securities.
Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss
After investing $11 million in 2013, brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss are believed to be among the first Bitcoin billionaires, currently estimated to be worth $1.1 billion each. Back in January 2022, the net worth of both was estimated to be $4 billion, respectively.
That said, the Winklevoss twins’ wealth might be in danger as the SEC has recently charged both their crypto exchange Gemini and crypto investment firm Genesis for the unlawful sale of securities through the Gemini Earn crypto lending program.
Finally, the CEO of the publicly traded exchange Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, had a net worth of $1.5 billion in December 2022. Despite the loss of $4.5 billion, he still remains in the billionaire ranks, unlike his colleague, Coinbase’s other co-founder Fred Ehrsam, who is now worth $800 million.
Amid a crisis that has slashed his own wealth, Armstrong announced a second massive round of layoffs at his crypto exchange, which let go about 18% of its workforce in June 2022. The second round is set to cut 950 jobs in order to provide “the appropriate operational efficiency to weather downturns in the crypto market.”