Forbes released their annual billionaires list on April 6, with Amazon overlord Jeff Bezos and his $177 billion topping the list for a fourth consecutive year.
— Forbes (@Forbes) April 6, 2021
The “digital gold rush” has seen nine new crypto billionaires join the Forbes list, pushing the total up to 12 (depending on whether you count the Winklevoss twins as one or two entries.) That’s up from just four in last year’s Forbes World’s Billionaires list
Sam Bankman-Fried – Newcomer
Sam Bankman-Fried is the wealthiest crypto-billionaire, with a net worth of $8.7 billion. Bankman-Fried founded trading firm Alameda Research and popular derivatives exchange FTX. The 29-year old has made waves in the crypto space, with FTX recently winning the naming rights to Miami Heat’s home stadium for 19 years. Cointelegraph recently ranked Bankman-Fried as the third most influential figure in crypto for 2020.
The Winklevoss Twins – Newcomers
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have a net worth of $3 billion each and started investing in Bitcoin in 2012. The brothers famously sued Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for IP theft in 2004 and won a $65 million settlement which they used to invest in Bitcoin. They started the crypto exchange Gemini in 2014, and they purchased Nifty Gateway in November 2019.
Chris Larsen – Returnee
Larsen, the co-founder of Ripple Labs saw his net worth grow from $2.6 billion to $3.4 billion over the past year.
Larson and Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse have been fighting an ongoing dispute with the SEC in relation to XRP and unregistered securities offerings. However, the SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple hasn’t appeared to affect its token too badly, with XRP increasing by 387% in the last 12 months.
Jed McCaleb – Newcomer
McCaleb is another co-founder of Ripple, and reportedly holds 3.4 billion XRP and 1 billion Stellar Lumens — the cryptocurrency he founded after leaving Ripple — with his holdings adding up to a net worth of $2 billion. Cointelegraph reported that McCaleb sold off $400 million worth of his XRP holdings in 2020 alone.
Michael Saylor – Newcomer
Saylor is the CEO of listed company MicroStrategy and co-founded the software giant in 1989, and now has a net worth of $2.3 billion. Saylor has become the leading advocate for corporations holding Bitcoin on balance sheets. Since its first purchase of Bitcoin in August 2020, Microstrategy has invested $2.226 billion, taking its tally up to 91,579 Bitcoins at an average cost of $24,311 per Bitcoin.
MicroStrategy has purchased an additional ~253 bitcoins for $15.0 million in cash at an average price of ~$59,339 per #bitcoin. As of 4/5/2021, we #hodl ~91,579 bitcoins acquired for ~$2.226 billion at an average price of ~$24,311 per bitcoin. $MSTRhttps://t.co/OMQMhA85xw
— Michael Saylor (@michael_saylor) April 5, 2021
Brain Armstrong – Returnee
Armstrong is the CEO and co-founder of Coinbase and his net worth has gone from $1 billion to $6.5 billion within 12 months. Coinbase also had a successful year, generating $1 billion in revenue, and it’s set for a direct listing in a week. That will value Armstrong’s shares somewhere north of $14B, meaning he may well top the crypto billionaires’ list next year.
Fred Ersham – Newcomer
Ersham co-founded Coinbase with Brian Armstrong in 2012 and left the firm in 2017. He is now a board member of the company, and his 6% stake has an estimated worth of $1.9 billion.
Zhao is the founder of the largest crypto exchange Binance and owns an estimated 30% stake in the company. Zhao’s net worth is $1.9 billion, and the digital gold rush has been good to the Binance founder, with Binance Coin becoming the second-largest altcoin by market cap. Zhao revealed earlier this week that he holds close to 100% of his portfolio in crypto.
Matthew Roszak – Newcomer
Roszak is the Chairman and co-founder of blockchain technology firm Bloq and is a leading crypto and blockchain investor. Roszak is also a founding member of Tally Capital a crypto-focused private investment firm and has a net worth of $1.5 billion.
Tim Draper – Newcomer
Draper is a crypto evangelist with a net worth of $1.5 billion. He bought $18.7 million worth of Bitcoin in 2014 after it was confiscated from the Silk Road black market. Draper was also one of the primary investors in the Tezos project and co-founded Draper Fisher Jurvetson, a leading investment firm in early-stage tech startups.
Barry Silbert – Newcomer
Silbert founded the crypto conglomerate Digital Currency Group in 2015 and has a net worth of $1.6 billion. The DCG owns asset management firm Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, which currently has $46 billion worth of assets under management.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong Urges for Fair Crypto Regulations
Ahead of the long-anticipated public listing for his company, Coinbase’s CEO Brian Armstrong asserted that US regulators are wrong in believing cryptocurrencies are primarily used for illicit transactions. He added that the industry wants to be treated on the same playing field as traditional finance when it comes down to legislative frameworks.
Armstrong on Crypto Misconceptions
The belief that digital assets are mainly used for illegal transactions has been going on for years, perhaps since bitcoin’s usage in some dark web marketplaces starting almost a decade ago. Regulators have used it as a good bashing point, and US-based watchdogs have been at the forefront of those attacks.
US Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, has repeatedly outlined the alleged massive usage of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for terrorist financing, Ponzi schemes, buying illegal goods, and everything in between. Naturally, the Treasury’s FinCEN department proposed quite restrictive legislation, which, however, has been indefinitely postponed.
Brian Armstrong, the CEO of the largest US-based crypto exchange preparing for its direct listing today, touched upon these concerns during a CNBC interview. However, he asserted that cash and even the highly-regulated banking sector are more frequently utilized in illegal transactions than crypto.
He referred to a report published today by the recently launched Crypto Council for Innovation indicating that “less than 1%” of all digital asset transactions have illicit roots. Simultaneously, PwC estimations showed that the percentage is more than 4x higher with the traditional economy, and more specifically cash.
“The data we have just indicates that crypto is really not uniquely crime written. In fact, the data suggests it’s better than cash in that regard.”
Treat us Equally
Armstrong further outlined the significance of adequate regulation for his company, especially now that it will become public, but also for the entire industry. He suggested that the US should treat the crypto space as other financial sectors.
“We want to be treated on the level playing field with traditional financial services at the very least and not have any kind of punishment for being in the crypto space.”
He also joined Kraken’s CEO, Jesse Powell, saying that the world’s largest country by nominal GDP risks falling further behind other nations, such as China, in terms of crypto and blockchain adoption.
“China has really embraced cryptocurrency and blockchain in a big way – starting from about six years ago. They are substantially far ahead.” – Armstrong added.
MakiSwap Raises $1.4M to Build AMM Platform on Huobi Eco Chain
[Press Release – St, John’s Antigua, Barbuda, 14th April, 2021]
MakiSwap, the number one decentralized exchange on Huobi Eco Chain (Heco), has raised $1.4 million in seed and private funding to build the most robust and feature-rich automated market maker exchange and yield farming platform on Huobi Eco Chain.
The oversubscribed round was led by Inclusion Capital, which incubated and supported MakiSwap in its development efforts. Other participants include Kenetic Capital, LD Capital, NGC Ventures, Polygon Network, DAO Maker, Momentum 6, AU21 Capital, Xend Finance and others. Jawad Ashraf, Founder of Terra Virtua, also joined the round as an individual investor.
MakiSwap is the leading AMM on Huobi Eco Chain, a high-performance blockchain supporting the Ethereum Virtual Machine. Heco was launched by the Huobi Global exchange and was met with formidable community support in China and the Asia-Pacific region. Heco projects are now shifting their focus to the global market, looking to bring in DeFi users from other regions and other blockchains.
MakiSwap was developed by Unilayer, a cross-chain DEX aggregator and DeFi ecosystem. The exchange offers unique features for an AMM designed with the professional trader in mind, including limit orders, advanced charting tools, analytics, and more. MakiSwap also features lucrative yield farming opportunities designed to incentivize users to make the jump into the new protocol and blockchain.
“We’re extremely excited to launch MakiSwap on Huobi Eco Chain and to the public, we do see a big potential for HECO to capture a lot of market share compared to other blockchains in the near future,” said Geo, Founder of Unilayer and MakiSwap.
“Makiswap is leading a new wave of Defi by empowering Huobi’s ECO chain community with key tools and infrastructure. We are excited to support Makiswap in helping to transform global finance through Defi.” Jehan Chu, Founder and Managing Partner, Kenetic
MakiSwap is powered by the MAKI governance token, which will be airdropped to holders of Unilayer’s LAYER token on Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain.
MakiSwap is the leading AMM exchange on Huobi Eco Chain, developed and launched by Unilayer, a cross-chain liquidity aggregator and unified interface for decentralized exchanges. MakiSwap’s governance token is MAKI, distributed fairly to all holders of Unilayer’s LAYER token. MakiSwap includes an advanced set of features like limit orders and advance charting to offer the best experience for professional DeFi traders.
The Message Coinbase Embedded in Bitcoin’s Blockchain on Listing Day
Paying homage to Satoshi Nakamoto and his message embedded in the Bitcoin Genesis Block in 2009, Coinbase has done the same today. On the day they’re set to become a publicly traded company, the exchange asked a large Bitcoin mining pool to embed a note in the Bitcoin blockchain in regards to the latest stimulus bill.
- When launching the Genesis Block of the first-ever cryptocurrency in January 2009, the anonymous creator(s) embedded the following message referring to the financial crisis at the time:
“The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.”
- More than twelve years later, Coinbase has followed the example set by Bitcoin’s creator. The exchange announced they had asked the mining pool F2pool to code the following text:
“TNYTimes 10/Mar/2021 House Gives Final Approval to Biden’s $1.9T Pandemic Relief Bill.”
- The commonalities between the two messages spread more than being embedded on the Bitcoin blockchain. Both have referred to the economic struggles in 2009 and 2021 led by the aforementioned banking crisis and the COVID-19-induced crisis.
- More specifically, both messages have touched upon the governments’ somewhat controversial measures in trying to fight the consequences of the fallouts. Coinbase’s note cites this article published by the New York Times, which outlined the latest stimulus package aimed to alleviate some of the financial pain from the pandemic.
- The largest US-based crypto exchange has chosen today to pay homage to Nakamoto because of the significance of this day. As previously reported, Coinbase is set to become a publicly traded company on August 14th, 2021, through a direct listing.
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