Cryptocurrencies offer a range of features that make them unique. The blockchain networks upon which cryptocurrencies operate are free from centralized control, they’re maintained by a decentralized network of miners or participants and, perhaps most interestingly, they’re wholly transparent — it’s possible to see exactly how much each address holds.
While it’s not possible to see who owns the richest Bitcoin addresses, or assemble a “Bitcoin millionaires list” based on public wallet information alone, sites like the Bitcoin Rich List from BitInfoCharts allow users to see where Bitcoin is distributed, and which wallets hold the most.
Who has the most Bitcoins in the world, though? In this article, we’ll break down the world’s richest Bitcoin and cryptocurrency holders.
1. Satoshi Nakamoto: $10 Billion
The mysterious creator of Bitcoin and the father of blockchain technology, Satoshi Nakamoto, is an enigma. Despite an entire decade of intensive searching, the world’s best experts have yet to determine exactly who launched the Bitcoin network in 2009 and catalyzed the blockchain revolution.
Whoever Nakamoto is — whether a single person or a group of people — they control a truly massive amount of Bitcoin. Studies into the early movement of Bitcoin and mining activity have determined that Nakamoto currently controls between 1 million and 1.6 million Bitcoin, or more than $10 billion USD at August 2019 prices.
2. Vitalik Buterin: $500 Million
Vitalik Buterin is the co-founder and mastermind behind the Ethereum network, which is currently the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap. Learning about Bitcoin at the age of 17, Buterin composed the Ethereum white paper and dropped out of university to work on the project.
Forbes estimates Buterin’s net worth at around $500 million as of January 2018. While Buterin may not hold Bitcoin — he is the founder of Ethereum — he’s arguably one of the richest crypto holders on the planet.
3. Joseph Lubin: $5 Billion
Joseph Lubin is the founder of Consensys, an international blockchain solutions company based in New York that currently employs almost 1,000 industry leaders around the world. Lubin was an early contributor to the Ethereum network and has launched multiple blockchain ventures — Forbes estimates Lubin’s Bitcoin and crypto holdings at over $5 billion USD
4. Charlie Lee: $250 Million
Litecoin founder Charlie Lee, also known as “Satoshi Lite, was heavily invested in the Bitcoin project from the earliest days of the project. Lee is a long-term Bitcoin HODLer, and is a managing director of the Litecoin foundation.
Lee’s crypto wealth is attributed to his 2018 Litecoin exit — in December 2017, Lee sold his entire Litecoin holdings at near all-time-high, in order to eliminate any potential conflict of interest in his work with the Litecoin foundation. Lee’s long tenure in the Bitcoin community, paired with his Litecoin endeavors, make him one of the wealthiest crypto holders in the world.
5. The Winklevoss Twins: $1 Billion
Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss are the owners of Gemini, a major cryptocurrency exchange platform. With a net worth in the billions, the Winklevoss twins purchased massive amounts of Bitcoin in 2012, they’re estimated to hold an estimated $1 billion in Bitcoin alone
6. Changpeng Zhao: $1.4 Billion
Changpeng Zhao is the founder of Binance — arguably the largest cryptocurrency trading platform online today, taking false reported volumes into account. With over 6 million users, Binance is a powerful force in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Boasting an industry tenure that includes working as part of the development team of Blockchain.info and the CTO of OKCoin, Zhao has an estimated net worth of $1.4 billion USD.
7. Michael Novogratz: $1.2 Billion
As the CEO of Galaxy Digital, Novogratz is a hedge fund investor that spearheaded early venture capital and institutional capital investment into cryptocurrency. Novogratz made major investments into Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in 2013.
In 2017, Novogratz stated that 20 percent of his $1.2 billion USD net worth was entrenched in Bitcoin and Ethereum, making him one of the richest Bitcoin holders in the world.
8. Chris Larsen: $1.6 Billion
Chris Larsen is the co-founder of Ripple, a cryptocurrency network focused on international remittances between traditional banking institutions. As the CEO of Ripple, Larsen owns 5.2 billion XRP — while it’s not Bitcoin, Larsen’s XRP haul is worth roughly $1.6 billion USD at August 2019 prices.
9. Daniel Larimer: $700 Million
Dan Larimer is a controversial figure in the cryptocurrency community — but he’s also one of the wealthiest. After co-founding popular blockchain based social media platform Steemit in 2016, Larimer moved on to work as the CTO of Block.one — the company behind the $4 billion USD EOS ICO. Forbes estimates Larimer’s net worth at $700 million as of January 2018.
10. Andrew Hamilton: $200 Million
At 34 years old, Andrew Hamilton is the second youngest member on the list after Vitalik Buterin. Andrew Hamilton is an entrepreneur who founded the Rubix.io platform and is an early investor in cryptocurrencies. As of 2017, he is estimated to hold 200 million dollars in bitcoin alone, stating that he’ll place $15 million of his personal holdings on his exchange platform when it launches. He’s also the owner of 38 e-commerce websites, many of which have started to adopt cryptocurrencies.