Some are skeptical, some are cautious, and some others are extremely optimistic about the future of cryptocurrencies. It is hard to say who is right and who is wrong. Since, most of us do not have a very clear understanding of where this space is headed, we look up to the views of the people whom we trust to have a better idea. In that context, here are the most influential people in the world of cryptocurrencies.
Any discussion on important people in the world of cryptocurrencies cannot begin without a nod to this person. Why? He is the one who created Bitcoin. Well, if it is a person in the first place. The thing is that nobody has any clue who, or what Satoshi Nakamoto is. It could be a he, she, or a group of people. It is widely believed to be a single person, though.
In any case, he first published a white paper describing the Bitcoin digital currency, and how it can be implemented in October, 2008. Soon, he released the first Bitcoin software in January, 2009 and claimed that the coding on the software began as early as 2007.
However, he handed over all the source code, keys, and domains to other people involved in the development of Bitcoin, sometime in mid-2010. Since then, he has distanced himself from the cryptocurrency, and has not been contacted by anyone.
Even when he was involved in the development of Bitcoin, he never shared any personal information about himself with others. So, many people have been trying to guess his identity using different techniques. So far, the most probable candidates are Nich Szabo, Dorian Nakamoto, Hal Finney, and Craig Steven Wright. However, the evidence identifying them as Satoshi Nakamoto is circumstantial at best.
But, what makes Satoshi Nakamoto the most influential person in the crypto world? Is it just the fact that he invented Bitcoin? Well, that is a big achievement in itself. But, that’s not all. As the first developer to work on Bitcoin, Satoshi has been known to own a massive 1 million Bitcoins.
Considering that a single Bitcoin’s price is hovering around $19,000, Satoshi could well be sitting on a total wealth of $18 billion. With that kind of financial power, Satoshi could wreak havoc in the Bitcoin markets simply by releasing his Bitcoins into the market. Although, the chances of him doing anything to hurt the ecosystem that he created are quite slim.
As the influential people go, Vitalik Buterin stands tall among the most important of them all. He is singularly responsible for the success or failure of the entire ecosystem of Ethereum cryptocurrency and has proven his mettle on multiple instances that he is up for the responsibility.
Vitalik Buterin is Canadian of Russian origin. He is the co-founder and inventor of the Ethereum cryptocurrency. He proposed the Ethereum in a white paper way back in 2013. He was of the opinion that Bitcoin should support application development on blockchain, but was unable to get the consensus of the developer community. So, he set out to create his own cryptocurrency, and thus was born Ethereum.
Buterin spearheaded the crowdfunding campaign for the development of Ethereum, and released the second major release of Ethereum. He handled months of chaos and uncertainty surrounding the ethereum platform after the fall of DAO to a hack.
Despite all of this, Buterin has been successful in winning the support of some of the world’s biggest banks and tech companies, who are betting big on the success of Ethereum. He controls the fate of a crypto platform with market capitalization of a whopping $66 billion, second only to Bitcoin.
Andreas is one of the most vocal supporters of cryptocurrencies. Until 2016, Andreas was mainly focused on Bitcoin. Since then, he has branched out his activities and now discusses Ethereum as well. He is the author of the book, Mastering Bitcoin.
His travel itinerary includes trips to every corner of the planet for talks on Bitcoin and Ethereum. His audience ranges from Bitcoin enthusiasts to bankers. He also authored the book, Mastering Ethereum. He is one of the primary thought leaders in the cryptocurrency space and is often regarded by many to be the most important person in the crypto world.
Brad Garlinghouse is the CEO of the startup, Ripple, which invented the Ripple cryptocurrency. His top position in the company that controls the future of an entire cryptocurrency makes him one of the most influential people not just in the crypto world, but the technology world too.
That’s because Ripple is unlike any other cryptocurrency in the market. It was not created to be used as a currency for regular transactions. It was created to facilitate financial transactions by and between world’s financial institutions – banks, customers, and other parties – within a fraction of the time it takes at the moment.
Clearly, Ripple is a revolutionary platform. International financial transactions, especially large ones, can take anywhere between days to weeks to pass through. This causes extreme inconvenience to everyone from the customers to the banks.
With Ripple, these transactions can be executed in a matter of seconds. Naturally, this has attracted the attention of the biggest players in the financial and technology world. MIT itself has validated the platform. Global banks like UBS, Bank of America, Royal Bank of Canada, and the likes are lining up to adopt Ripple.
And, here’s the most crucial thing about Ripple. There are 100 billion Ripples in existence and 61% of them are owned by the inventor startup. So, Brad controls whatever happens to this currency. He has the power to flood the market with his startup’s stock of Ripples and send its prices on a downward spiral, or develop it into the most advanced financial platform in existence.
Don and Alex Tapscott
The father-son duo have become a formidable force in the world of blockchain. They have a vision for the blockchain that goes above and beyond just cryptocurrencies. They have authored the seminal book, Blockchain Revolution, and are the leading voices behind the blockchain’s potential as a disruptive technology. They have been most vocal about the blockchain’s applications in mainstream finance.
Through their latest initiative, the Muskoka Group, they are pursuing the applications of blockchain in governance solutions. What’s their impact on the cryptocurrency space? They are playing a vital role in convincing the world’s financial institutions and governments that blockchain is a powerful and revolutionary technology that has wide-ranging positive benefits for the society as a whole.
Governments around the globe who have been apprehensive about cryptocurrencies might change their stance on them, and even promote it. And if anyone can do this, then it’s the Don-Alex duo.
When you think about the most important people in the crypto space, Perianne Boring’s name hardly ever comes to your mind. Perianne is the head of Chamber of Digital Commerce and is sparking deeper and meaningful conversations on digital currencies and blockchain in general. Under her leadership, the department has made smart contracts a major topic of discussion.
The chamber has hosted a symposium that hosted figures from CFTC and FINRA. She is taking blockchain directly to the US representatives and other parties that have the power to nurture it. She is instrumental in the fight to make the blockchain and cryptocurrencies mainstream.
Jon Matonis is the Tony Stark of the cryptocurrency space. He is into everything crypto. He is the Founding Director of the Bitcoin Foundation, Chairman of Globitex, an Editorial Board member at Coindesk, and Board Director of First Global Credit.
And, we are just getting started. He is part of the startup team at RSA’s Verisign and also the CEO of Hushmail. He has been one of the staunchest supporters of cryptocurrencies. His word also carries a lot of weight in the world of cryptocurrencies. He is a true expert and many seasoned cryptocurrency investors follow the opinions and insights shared by Jon Matonis.
The DAO Hacker
This is an unusual member of this list. Just like the first entry, Satoshi Nakamoto, nobody knows anything about the person who hacked into the DAO last year. At this point, perhaps you are thinking,
“Wait! If nobody knows anything about this person, how do we know that it is a single person?”
Well, we don’t. It could as well have been multiple people. What we do know is that they managed to transfer 3.6 million ether away from DAO.
When the hack started, the price of the ether was $20. So, the hacker had effectively siphoned away $72 million. The hacker took advantage of a vulnerability that was later described as a “come-in-and-take-free-money sign built into the code”. The hacker, with his actions, proved that smart contracts can be tremendously dangerous if there is even a single flaw in the code.
The DAO Hacker shook the communities of all the cryptocurrencies that support smart contracts and underscored the importance of the need for a flawless platform for smart contracts.