In brief

  • Brian Armstrong, Sam Bankman-Fried, and Changpeng Zhao are the top three blockchain billionaires, according to Hurun Research Institute.
  • Bankman-Fried, CEO of crypto derivatives exchange FTX, is a newcomer on the list this year.

China’s Hurun Research Institute has named Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of crypto derivatives exchange FTX, the second-richest “blockchain billionaire”—just below Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and, somewhat surprisingly, above Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.

Per Hurun’s report published on Tuesday, Bankman-Fried is a newcomer this year—which is an impressive feat since he immediately rose to second place. According to the researchers, his wealth amounts to around $10 billion following FTX’s rapid growth in 2020.

The top blockchain billionaires per Hurun's report
The top blockchain billionaires. Image: Hurun

Armstrong’s net worth has increased elevenfold over the past year—from $1 billion to $11.5 billion (up 1,050%). This will be helped by Coinbase’s strong revenue over the last year ahead of its upcoming public listing.

In his turn, Zhao’s net worth increased by “only” 208% over 2020, reaching $8 billion. However, both Binance and its Smart Chain ecosystem have been seeing explosive growth over the past few months. Zhao himself owns Bitcoin, which he bought in 2013, and likely owns a portion of BNB too.

Other newcomers on Hurun’s list include Ripple’s Jed McCaleb ($3.2 billion, 5th place), Digital Currency Group CEO Barry Silbert ($3 billion, 6th) as well as Gemini founders Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, who both shared 7th place with a net worth of $2.8 billion each.

In general, there are many other new faces on Hurun’s list of “blockchain billionaires” this year. For a start, Microstrategy CEO Michael Saylor and Bloq co-founder Matthew Roszak shared 9th place with $2.4 billion.

The list also saw Draper Associates founding partner Tim Draper ($1.9 billion), Galaxy CEO Michael Novogratz ($1.7 billion), Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse ($1.4 billion), and Pantera Capital CEO Dan Morehead ($1.1 billion) make their debut.

Among “traditional”—those not fully in the crypto realm—billionaires, electric car giant Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk took the lead with a net worth of $197 billion. He is followed by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ($189 billion) and Bernard Arnault ($114 billion), chairman and chief executive of luxury goods behemoth LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.