Like it or not, the crypto-world is not as independent and nonconformist as some of us would like to think. Whilst yes, it is an innovative monetary system that grants a lot of fiscal autonomy to individuals and shows governments that there is another way of operating, it’s also highly regulated, subject to tax, and can be easily manipulated by the powerful.
Who are the powerful?
The powerful are those at the top, they are the owners, the developers, the CEOs, the CTOs, the innovators, the computer scientists, the journalists, the mouthpieces, the Twitter-enthusiasts, and the whale traders. We call them influencers because when they talk or take action, people notice, and that has a ripple effect throughout the markets. One seemingly insignificant comment can cause a huge domino effect as prices dip and raise, people make big investments or rush to sell, and others run to multiple sources to verify what they’re seeing.
Below, we’re looking at some individuals who hold a lot of influence in this world. Because this list is subjective, there is no particular order…
Chinese-Canadian ‘CZ’ is the founder and CEO of Binance, which many of you know as the biggest cryptocurrency exchange (based on trading volume). The exchange is popular, well-liked, and is constantly developing new products and services, most recently a decentralized exchange called Binance Dex which you can learn more about here.
In April 2020, Changpeng Zhao made a huge acquisition by spending around $400m to purchase CoinMarketCap, the most complete and popular website for information on the crypto-markets. With both of these qualifying him as one of the top cryptocurrency influencers, if not the biggest, it’s also his contribution to community and transparency that puts him there, with his admission that he spends 20% of his working time on Twitter.
Chinese billionaire Jihan Wu is just 34 years old, making him one of the world’s youngest and most successful people. He is the CEO and co-founder of Bitmain, the world’s largest computer chip company designed for bitcoin mining. He’s even building the world’s largest bitcoin mining plant! In 2011, Wu convinced his family to lend him the money to buy 900 bitcoin, which allowed him to get very wealthy when Bitcoin exploded back in 2017. He’s one of the 5 youngest billionaires in Asia.
David Marcus’ illustrious career has led him bravely through many high-flying positions, most notably as the former president of PayPal and the VP of Messaging Products at Facebook (being able to make purchases through FB Messenger is largely thanks to Marcus). His role at PayPal came after his start-up Zong was bought out by PayPal for a huge $240m. He’s also been a part of Coinbase’s Board of Directors for several years and has been involved in many exciting and innovative crypto-projects. Right now, he’s leading the Facebook Libra project, a blockchain digital currency that the popular social media company is looking to release in the near future.
With backing from Facebook and an audience of over 1 billion people, Libra and Novi (the accompanying wallet) are set to become household names, with David Marcus gaining a huge influx of influence at the same time. Remember this name.
Any cryptocurrency influencer list that overlooks Vitalik Buterin would be doing this pioneer a huge disservice. Buterin is the co-founder of Ethereum, the most popular smart contract platform in the world and one which allows the development of DAPPs (decentralized applications). Buterin’s work with Ethereum has netted him over $100m, just a shade of the market cap today (over $25bn). Before Ethereum he founded Bitcoin Magazine, which first saw him act as a mouthpiece to the cryptocurrency world. Now, he has almost 1 million Twitter followers who stop and listen when he tweets.
Some crypto-enthusiasts might put Brian at the top of their influencer list, but that’s not for us to decide. His achievements include:
- Being the co-founder and CEO of Coinbase
- Having a reported 966,230 Bitcoins in cold storage ($9bn)
- Used to work at Deloitte and Touche
We can thank Brian for reshaping the way in which consumers, investors, and merchants approach and interact with different cryptocurrencies. Because of the power of his change, his words resonate and thus give him a huge amount of influence. Fortunately for his audience (336k on Twitter), he loves to share news, opinions, and information on projects and events throughout the cryptosphere.
As the CEO and Chairman of Ripple Labs, you can be sure that Brad Garlinghouse has a lot of knowledge and insight into the exciting world of cryptocurrency. One of his major achievements has been to create a huge amount of partnerships for Ripple (including over 100 international banks), each one creating more legitimacy for the coin. Ripple has even partnered with well-known financial bodies like Moneygram, Western Union, and American Express.
Garlinghouse’s quarter of a million Twitter followers are often impressed by his honesty and transparency.
Many readers will instantly be familiar with Charlie Lee’s name, as he is the creator of Litecoin and the Managing Director of the Litecoin Foundation. Before his success with Litecoin, Charlie worked as a Google Engineer (helping to code Chrome OS) and as the Director of Engineering at Coinbase.
With over 800,000 followers on Twitter, he commands a large audience and has built up a great deal of trust and respect for his work. To build even further trust, he sold all of his own Litecoin holdings to avoid a conflict of interest, as he became aware that his tweets could be perceived as price manipulation.
Remember Brian Armstrong? Well, Fred Ehrsam is the other co-founder of Coinbase, however, since then he’s gone on to build Paradigm, a crypto-asset investment firm. Ehrsam is fiercely opinionated and shares his views and insights on the crypto world to almost 100,000 followers on Twitter. As a former Forbes 30 under 30 member, his net worth could be in the hundreds of millions.
Some see Antonopoulos as a sort of crypto-genius, tuning in to his content as he travels around the world sharing his knowledge. He is the author of Mastering Bitcoin, The Internet of Money, and Mastering Ethereum, incredibly insightful and revolutionary books about the future of currency and crypto. He holds public talks, speaks on podcasts, and runs a popular YouTube channel (approx 200k subs and 10m views). With over 500k followers on Twitter, you can join his intellectual stream and get easy-to-understand crypto-knowledge today.
You may also know him as Bitcoin Jesus for his selfless promotion of Bitcoin, but that moniker has probably become quite hard to shake for one of the most successful early-stage crypto investors. Ver bought into Bitcoin, Blockchain, BitPay, Zcash, ShapeShift, Kraken, Purse.io as well as others. At the moment, he’s working hard to promote Bitcoin Cash, but he’s also keen to share insights about the crypto world in general. He’s an expert on investment, blockchain integrity and ethics, and how cryptocurrency can be used to claim more power to the people. His 600,000 Twitter followers are always keen to learn more from this inspired crypto-mind.
Brandon Chez founded CoinMarketCap (recently acquired by Binance for $400m), the number one crypto-information portal on the web. This website is the go-to for information on the markets, prices, exchanges and the history of crypto. Being the central point of most of the data, it naturally holds a lot of power and influence. For a long time, Chez has been able to manage that influence himself.
Nick’s contribution is much different from some of the other people on this list, as rather than starting a crypto-company in some form and making himself wildly rich, he instead used his computer science education to create smart contracts. He designed the code that makes cryptocurrencies possible, and his first concept (BitGold) predates Bitcoin by around 10 years. The crypto-pioneer has over 240,000 followers on Twitter, despite not selling anything…
Jack Dorsey boasts 4.7 million Twitter followers, although it does help that he’s the CEO and co-founder. He’s been promoting Bitcoin since the early days and he even launched his own crypto-project (Cash App) as part of Square, which he also owns. He’s now keen working on a plan to encourage BTC and crypto usage in Africa. Recently he made a donation of $5m towards setting up Universal Basic Income in the US.
When the mysterious and anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto stepped down from Bitcoin into obscurity, Gavin Andresen took over as the lead developer. Now he’s a major part of the Bitcoin Foundation, working as the Chief Scientist. He’s very popular among his 150k followers on Twitter. Historically, you could say he’s one of the key pioneers.
The importance of subjectivity when considering influence
What’s vital to remember when considering the world of influencers is that you make a personal choice about whether to be influenced or not. You must remember that not only can you choose to be influenced or not, you also can measure the power of influence of an individual based on the merit of their achievements. A final consideration is that many influencers have secondary and tertiary agendas and that the things they say and do may be part of a greater mission of manipulation, as is common when dealing with financial markets. With all of that being said, the achievements and reputations of the people listed in this article cannot be overlooked.
Our very own CryptoMood app actually tracks the activity of these influencers Twitter as well as over 50 000+ other social media and news sources to analyze how the market feels about almost every cryptocurrency in existence. It’s free to download and try, get it now on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store!!