In February, China-based research and media group Hurun Report released its annual Hurun Global Rich List 2020 – charting the net worth of the wealthiest individuals on earth. The report revealed that there are now a record 2,816 billionaires, and that, perhaps unsurprisingly, Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos is the richest of them all, holding the top spot for the third successive year, with a reported personal wealth of $140bn US Dollars. There are a number of household names populating the list, including Microsoft founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates at no.3, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at no.5, and Bezos’ ex-wife, MacKenzie, whose near-$40bn divorce settlement has secured her place among the richest women on the planet.
There is an emerging number of cryptocurrency investors beginning to rub shoulders with the likes of Bezos, though. With interest and confidence in cryptocurrency on the rise, and services like cryptoultimatum making it easier for would-be traders to begin their blockchain journeys from the comfort of home, it is certainly possible that a few more cryptocurrency investors will make the cut. For now, though, here are the six who made the class of 2020.
The growing demand for cryptocurrency is helping to create a new wave of billionaires
Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance – $2.6bn
Topping the list from a crypto perspective is Chinese-Canadian businessman Changpeng Zhao, who founded Binance, the world’s-largest cryptocurrency exchange platform by trading volume. Originally working for the Tokyo Stock Exchange after leaving college, Zhao developed an intellectual curiosity for cryptocurrencies, which led to his involvement in technical projects at Blockchain.info and OKCoin. In 2017, Zhao left OKCoin to launch Binance. The rest, as they say, is history.
Zhan Ketuan, CEO of Bitmain – $1.6bn
A bittersweet second place for Shandong University alumni Zhan Ketuan, whose personal wealth, according to the report, has plummeted somewhat in the last 12 months. A talented electronics engineer, Ketuan served in a number of engineering roles, including producing set-top boxes for television, before his move into cryptocurrency in 2013. In 2013, Ketuan partnered with crypto enthusiast Wu Jihan and agreed to launch Bitmain – which has grown into the world’s leading computer chip company for bitcoin mining.
Topping the list from a crypto perspective is Chinese-Canadian businessman Changpeng Zhao, who founded Binance, the world’s-largest cryptocurrency exchange platform by trading volume. Image credit: ezphoto/Bigstock.com
Xu Mingxing, CEO of OK Group, $1.4bn
Xu Mingxing, known in English as Star Xu, trails narrowly in the wake of Ketuan, with the OK Group empire funding his wealth. OK Group is the holding company behind OKCoin and OKEX, cryptocurrency exchange platforms, and Star Xu is very much considered a pioneer in blockchain circles.
Chris Larsen, Executive Chairman at Ripple, $1.3bn
American businessman, entrepreneur, and angel investor Chris Larsen has a colourful history in business, and his Ripple Labs cryptocurrency, XRP, validates his presence on this list. Larsen has founded a number of notable Silicon Valley start-ups, including peer-to-peer loaning platform E-Loan, Prospect Marketplace, and OpenCoin, which re-branded to Ripple Labs in 2013. A native Californian, Larsen describes himself as a passionate advocate of financial privacy, which has motivated a number of his business ventures.
Traders and experts alike had been talking up the prospects of Bitcoin long before the COVID-19 crisis paralysed economies the world over
Leon Li, Chairman of Huobi, $1.1bn
Leon Li is the founder and Chairman of Huobi – a Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange platform. Are you beginning to sense a pattern here? Before launching Huobi, Li attended Tsinghua University, and worked as a computer engineer at Oracle. Since accruing his wealth, Li has returned to Tsinghua to sponsor schemes and partnerships with his alma mater. Initially launched in China in 2013, Huobi now has operations in Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and the United States – and is a publicly listed company in Hong Kong.
Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, $1bn
Co-founder of San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase, Armstrong’s presence on this list is not a surprise – and his wealth is only likely to increase as more of the Western world increases confidence in adopting cryptocurrencies. Coinbase brokers exchanges of a number of popular cryptocurrencies, and is the most-popular brokering platform in the United States. A graduate of Rice University, Armstrong is founder of the GiveCrypto foundation, a charity which raises cryptocurrency donations for people living in poverty. As of 2019, the foundation had raised $4m.
Image credit at the very top of the article: Vladimka/Bigstock.com
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