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The founders of the world’s two largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Changpeng Zhao and Brian Armstrong, are among the richest people in the cryptocurrency industry.

According to the list released by Forbes on April 2, its annual ranking of cryptocurrency billionaires includes Changpeng Zhao, the CZ of Binance, as the leader of the list. Even though he is awaiting sentencing in the US on money laundering charges and after agreeing to pay US$200 million in fines, in addition to stepping aside as CEO of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange for three years, Forbes estimates his fortune at US$ 33 billion.

Brian Armstrong, CEO of the largest US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, is in second place. Armstrong has a net worth of US$11.2 billion after the exchange’s share price soared 200% in the last year. Additionally, the CEO holds an 18% stake in Coinbase.

Billionaires in USDT

Names associated with the issuer of the USDT stablecoin, Tether, are highlighted on the Forbes list. CFO Giancarlo Devasini ranks third with a net worth of over $9.2 billion. This entire “nest egg” was built from its 47% stake in Tether. Today, the stablecoin is the largest on the market, with a market capitalization of more than US$105 billion.

Tether CEO Paolo Ardoino is in fifth place with a net worth of $3.9 billion. Tether CEO Jean-Louis van der Velde is in sixth place with a net worth identical to Ardoino, while general counsel Stuart Hogner is in 14th place with a net worth of $2.5 billion.

Other names make the Forbes list

In addition to exchange owners and stablecoin shareholders, the Forbes list highlights other names among those successful in cryptocurrencies. Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen ranks seventh with a net worth of $3.2 billion. The Winklevoss brothers, Cameron and Tyler, founders of cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, have a net worth of $2.7 billion each and rank 11th together.

Galaxy Digital CEO Michael Novogratz is worth $2.5 billion, making him the 13th richest in cryptocurrencies. According to Forbes, Novogratz reportedly holds $500 million worth of Bitcoin. Additionally, his cryptocurrency investment firm listed a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund in the US in January.

Finally, Tim Draper, who purchased almost all of the Bitcoins seized by the US government from Silk Road and ranks 15th, has a net worth of $2 billion. Draper purchased nearly 30,000 BTC for $630 each in 2014.

There is no crisis among billionaires

Crypto winter is over. Bitcoin has more than doubled over the past 12 months, reaching an all-time high of $73,000 in March after the US legalized exchange-traded index funds linked to Bitcoin. The total value of all cryptocurrencies in circulation has increased by 170%, adding about $1.6 trillion in market value over the past 12 months, according to CoinGecko.

These positive numbers have helped create at least 17 cryptocurrency billionaires, according to Forbes’ 2024 World Billionaires list. According to the publication, there was an increase compared to last year’s nine cryptocurrency billionaires.

These 17 investors and entrepreneurs are collectively worth $93 billion, between their estimated crypto assets, publicly disclosed stocks, and private assets. That’s more than double the $37 billion in collective wealth of cryptocurrency billionaires last year.

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