Cryptocurrency is a vast digital enterprise that involves lots of behind the scenes work. For every digital token that is introduced there are developers working to refine the technology that drives crypto. A few of these individuals stand tall among the rest. We’ve complied a list of the top ten people of cryptocurrency. These are names that every crypto investor should be familiar with.
Some of you might balk at the inclusion of Satoshi Nakamoto on this list of important crypto personalities. The anonymous creator of Bitcoin has yet to be identified. Nevertheless, without Nakamoto there would be no cryptocurrency as we know it today. The true identity of this person or group of individuals is not nearly as important as the contributions Satoshi made to the world of cryptocurrency.
In 2008 the person behind the name first proposed the idea of a decentralized digital currency in a posting to a cryptography mailing list. This was followed by the creation of a white paper and the Bitcointalk forum. The rest, as they say, is history. Nakamoto singlehandedly started a financial revolution that continues to grow.
So, who is the real Satoshi Nakamoto? Some claim the name was adopted by a team of developers who wished to remain anonymous. Others state that it was Hal Finney or Craig Wright. We’ll just call Satoshi Nakamoto the Father of Cryptocurrency and leave it at that.
Vitalik Buterin is a man that merits the designation of genius. There may be no more important person to the world of crypto. What is perhaps most impressive about the developer behind Ethereum is that Buterin is just 24 years old. Imagine what you were doing at 24 and you will begin to appreciate the intellect and entrepreneurial spirit of this young man from Russia.
Buterin was an early adopter of Bitcoin, having learned about the cryptocurrency from his father. He created Bitcoin Magazine in 2011 and offered to pay writers in Bitcoin for their articles. As Buterin became more interested in the potential of cryptocurrency, he began to see flaws in the Bitcoin platform. He decided to make an effort to improve crypto, and Ethereum was the result. Ethereum is now the second most popular cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin, and many argue that it could surpass the original digital token in terms of global acceptance.
Buterin’s contributions to crypto go beyond his development of Ethereum. He is also an advocate and ambassador for blockchain technology. Buterin is regularly asked to speak at conferences which attract world leaders in finance.
ROGER K. VER
Roger K. Ver is without a doubt the most polarizing personality in crypto. People either love Ver or hate him. There is no middle ground. Ver is a self-described Bitcoin Angel Investor who has been called “Bitcoin Jesus” for his tireless cryptocurrency evangelism. Ver was one of the first major investors in blockchain technology. His investments have helped to fund some of the biggest projects in crypto.
Ver has encountered his share of controversy, most of it surrounding his involvement with Bitcoin Cash. As the operator of Bitcoin.com, Ver has been in a position to advocate Bitcoin Cash as the “real” Bitcoin. This has made him both fans and enemies in the world of crypto. There is no doubt that Ver takes some radical stances on his views of cryptocurrency, and he may be one of the few individuals who has the ability to move the market with his statements about the future of Bitcoin.
One thing is for sure. Ver is not going away. He is a person of crypto that will long be remembered for his outspoken views and blockchain investments.
Brian Armstrong is the co-founder and CEO of Coinbase, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. He has spent most of his life pursuing tech projects and has degrees in both computer sciences and economics. If anyone is equipped to handle cryptocurrency developments, it is Brian Armstrong.
Armstrong helped to create Coinbase in 2011, making it one of the early cryptocurrency exchanges. His goal in developing the platform was to help individuals buy Bitcoin and other tokens with a minimum of trouble. He is known as “The Rockstar” in the Bitcoin community for his pleasant demeanor and enthusiasm about crypto. Armstrong is regularly asked to participate in conferences around the world where Bitcoin and other tokens are discussed.
Brian Armstrong will probably best be remembered for his contributions to cryptocurrency exchanges. He has been a major player in defining the way that people buy and sell crypto. His innovations in this regard make him an important figure to the industry.
Long before there was Bitcoin there was something called BitGold. In 1998 Nick Szabo proposed a form of cryptocurrency called BitGold. Even though the revolutionary idea never got off the ground, Szabo laid the foundation for the development of Bitcoin. His work was so important that some have speculated that Szabo is in fact the anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto. Szabo denies that this is true.
What is known for certain is that Szabo also developed the idea of Smart Contracts that would later be adopted by Vitalik Buterin in his development of Ethereum. Szabo continues to make his presence felt in the world of cryptocurrency by serving as a consultant and speaking at crypto conventions. He has built a legacy despite having never developed a digital token that is used today.
Charlie Lee is the developer behind Litecoin, a cryptocurrency that is often referred to as the silver to Bitcoin’s gold. Lee began his adventures in cryptocurrency as a Bitcoin miner. He was one of the early adopters of Bitcoin and likely made a considerable sum from his investments. He applied that capital and his knowledge to the development of Litecoin. Even though Litecoin hasn’t lived up to its full potential as a Bitcoin successor, there is no question that it remains one of the most important altcoins.
In December 2017 Charlie Lee made headlines when he sold almost all of his Litecoins. He did so after a series of tweets which some alleged had an affect upon the price of the coin. Lee only kept a few of the coins that had actually been minted as collectibles and held no digital value. Lee has also become a part of the Coinbase team, helping to promote the exchange and also with development.
Charlie Lee is also known for making contributions to the code for the Chrome OS on behalf of Google. He worked for the Internet giant for ten years. Lee’s education from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in addition to his extensive knowledge of Bitcoin and Blockchain technology make him a force to be reckoned with in the crypto world.
Most people just think of Bitcoin as a cryptocurrency without considering the people that are required to make it go. Gavin Andresen is a former lead developer of Bitcoin Core and was the Chief Scientist of the Bitcoin Foundation. His work is what helped the token to evolve throughout its early years to meet the needs of a cashless society. Andresen was previously known as Gavin Bell, although no definitive reasons have been given for the name change.
Gavin Andresen also developed the first Bitcoin faucet website which gave away Bitcoin in exchange for actions completed by visitors. He also participated in the development of ClearCoin which served to provide an escrow service for Bitcoin users.
Andresen found himself the subject of some controversy when he made public declarations that Australian Craig Wright was the person behind the Satoshi Nakamoto name. He later expressed regret for his comments and vowed not to pursue the Bitcoin creator’s real identity. While Andresen’s access to the Bitcoin core framework has been revoked, he still remains active in the world of cryptocurrency.
Brock Pierce was one of the early investors in Bitcoin. He is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist who makes it his business to invest in so-called disruptive endeavors. More than 30 projects involving Bitcoin have been the beneficiary of Pierce’s capital, and he has also raised more than $200 million for various projects that have attracted his involvement.
The importance of Brock Pierce to cryptocurrency is a reminder that not all influential people of crypto are scientists and developers. Some of them are masters of finance, and their involvement is critical to the acceptance of Bitcoin as a medium of exchange. A case in point: Pierce was among the biggest investors in the ICO of Ethereum. For token launches to be successful there must be individuals with vast sums of money to finance the projects.
Pierce is also sought after as a speaker at various cryptocurrency conventions. He specifically addresses financial applications of blockchain technology, proving that his interest in crypto goes far beyond investing in the tokens. He is more interested in the advancement of the blockchain framework. He is the co-founder of Blockchain Capital.
ANDREAS M. ANTONOPOULOS
Andreas M. Antonopoulos belongs to that select group of individuals that refer to themselves as Bitcoin Evangelists. Their primary purpose is to spread the word about the cryptocurrency and get people excited about its acceptance. Antonopoulos has done an admirable job at that, primarily through his book, Mastering Bitcoin. His field of expertise is security and distributed systems, and Antonopoulos regular writes blog posts and other articles for both crypto and news websites.
Antonopoulos also has a strong technical background with experience in coding and other aspects of development. His knowledge about crypto has made him an expert witness when it comes to security and other aspects of cryptocurrency. He is frequently asked to consult on crypto projects.
BARRY E. SILBERT
Barry E. Silbert is the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group. He is an investor in multiple crypto platforms. Silbert has gained some notoriety for his support of Ethereum Classic, a rival Ethereum chain. In some regards he is to Ethereum what Roger Ver is to Bitcoin. Silbert was one of the earliest angel investors in Bitcoin companies. His involvement goes back to 2013.
In addition to his involvement as an investor, Silbert also regularly writes about crypto for some of the world’s leading financial publications. His work has been featured in Forbes, Financial Times, USA Today, and other print media. He is also a sought after speaker on crypto subjects that specifically revolve around finance.
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