The ever-growing cryptocurrency market globally over the past year — despite a 50 per cent price fall to below $4,000 over a two-day period in March 2020 to topping the $29,000 mark on December 31, 2020, — has remained a source of significant wealth creation for investors with a very high-risk appetite. Amid the seemingly inherent criticism, which it continues to draw from investors and businesses worldwide, the market has minted nine new cryptocurrency billionaires. Overall, according to the 2021 Forbes World’s Billionaires list, 12 crypto billionaires have made it to the ranking, up from four last year. Bitcoin had even briefly surpassed the $60,000 price mark in March this year even as other cryptos or altcoins witnessed similar gains.
As of March 5, 2021, Founder of quantitative trading firm Alameda Research and derivatives exchange FTX Sam Bankman-Fried was crypto’s wealthiest billionaire with $8.7 billion net worth followed by Coinbase CEO and co-founder Brian Armstrong with a net worth of $6.5 billion. Others in the list were Ripple co-founder and Chairman Chris Larsen ($3.4 billion), twin brothers and former Olympic rowers Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss ($3 billion each), CEO of software firm MicroStrategy Michael Saylor ($2.3 billion), another Ripple cofounder Jed McCaleb ($2 billion), another Coinbase cofounder Fred Ehrsam ($1.9 billion), Binance founder Changpeng Zhao ($1.9 billion), Digital Currency Group founder Barry Silbert ($1.6 billion), Chairman of blockchain infrastructure company Bloq and crypto evangelist Matthew Roszak ($1.5 billion), and noted Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper ($1.5 billion).
The annual listing released on Tuesday coincided with the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies topping the $2 trillion mark for the first time in just three months from $1 trillion as of January 7, 2021, as per CoinGecko. The market cap of 6,63 coins tracked stood at $2.03 trillion on Tuesday. Bitcoin has grown over 14x from $4,000 in March last year to over $58,000 as of April 7, 2021. The leading coins by market cap were Bitcoin ($1.06 trillion), Ethereum ($232 billion), Binance Coin ($59 billion), and XRP ($44 billion), and Tether ($43 billion), as per CoinMarketCap.
“Probably the biggest factor is the growing non-fungible token (NFT) market, which is largely powered by Ethereum. NFTs are getting a lot of mainstream attention. NFTs aren’t just for digital art and collectibles, they can store all forms of intellectual property and agreements, giving them huge potential. A lot of the other currencies are also associated with larger use cases, like decentralized finance, which has the potential to bring a lot of financial inclusion and opportunity. In short, the valuation is based on real value. These are use cases that go far beyond price speculation,” Vikram Rangala, CMO, ZebPay, had told Financial Express Online.
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