New York University professor Nouriel Roubini accused Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin of leading an Ethereum scam in a tweet. The scam he was referring to supposedly allowed Buterin and Joe Lubin to steal 75% of the ETH supply using pre-mining.
@VitalikButerin was the ring-leader – together with Joe Lubin – of the criminal pre-mining sale/scam that created Ether. They stole 75% of the Ether supply and became instant "billionaires" of fake wealth. https://t.co/d3ltYuce4u
— Nouriel Roubini (@Nouriel) October 10, 2018
Buterin replied on the same day claiming he is not a crypto billionaire. He even disclosed a link to his largest digital wallet, which currently holds approximately 365,000 ETH which is almost $71 million dollars.
I never personally held more than ~0.9% of all ETH, and my net worth never came close to $1b. Also, I'm pretty sure there are no criminal laws against pre-mining.
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) October 10, 2018
Buterin also mentioned the wallet also includes charity donations and gifts. He also said he has other wallets as well but that they are “quite small relatively speaking”.
So who are the richest crypto holders?
Nouriel Roubini’s defamatory tweet may not be true but it still raises the question: who are the richest crypto billionaires?
Recent reports show that numerous individuals who managed to get rich through crypto come from China. China’s crypto billionaires are mostly leaders of large crypto startups. Hurun, a China-based organization, released a list with the country’s wealthiest executives.
The list contains 13 executives, half of which have invested in crypto mining. Bitmain chairman and co-founder, Zhan Ketuan, has a net worth of $4,25 billion and is in the top 100 richest people in China. He is followed by Wu Jihan, another Bitmain co-founder who owns $2.38 billion.
The list also includes founders of various cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance’s Zhao Changpeng ($2.1 billion), Li Lin from Huobi ($1.4 billion), and founder of OKCoin, Star Xu, with a $1 billion net worth.
Despite their impressive wealth, the top of the list is much higher, currently held by Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba the e-commerce retail giant, with an estimated worth of $39 billion.
China might be thriving in the crypto sector but the US seems to have some wealthy cryptocurrency investors as well. Forbes’ list of 400 Richest Americans in 2018 is led by names like Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. However, there’s one crypto holder that’s in there as well.
Ripple’s co-founder Chris Larsen is holding the 383rd position on Forbes’ list. He may be at the bottom of it (or close enough) but is estimated net worth is around $21 billion. For now, he’s the first individual on the list that got so wealthy exclusively through cryptocurrencies. It seems most of his wealth was made during a 2017 price surge that significantly boosted Ripple’s value.