The cryptocurrency market cap towered over $600 Billion in 2017. There are thousands of altcoins available to purchase and trade today. As the cryptocurrency market rises, whether in valuation or innovation, a core group of people stand out as leaders in the industry, as it wouldn’t exist without their contributions.
The Champions Of Cryptocurrency
There is no doubt that the cryptocurrency market is expanding, with new developments on the rise in altcoins and blockchain technology alike. As more people learn about the industry and the possibility of an alternative, math-based currency, more invest in the market. But this growth would not exist were it not for the masterminds behind the innovations of the industry. While there are thousands of cryptocurrency leaders in the crypto realm, only a few have truly affected a large majority of users and the watchful world beyond. The following 5 individuals are a select group of cryptocurrency leaders who have had some of the greatest influence on the industry.
A Russian transplant to Canada, Vitalik Buterin founded one the world’s top cryptocurrencies and a new blockchain infrastructure, one that didn’t rival Bitcoin in speed alone. At just 19 years old, Buterin co-founded the Ethereum network in 2013. Ethereum is an open-source platform built on a blockchain that features a smart contract functionality. Developers have been flocking to Ethereum, as its smart contracts allow them to build decentralized apps (DApps) on top of it. It is conducive to more innovation in that it enables new tokens to be issued on its blockchain along with DApps. It’s native coin, the Ether has held the second spot in the top cryptocurrencies of the world. Prior to the dawning of Ethereum, Vitalik founded Bitcoin magazine, a webzine print magazine that centers on Bitcoin and crypto topics.
Brian Armstrong is the Co-Founder and CEO of Coinbase, one of the largest and most renowned exchanges in the world. Coinbase is a platform that facilitates the trade of fiat money for five cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and Litecoin. The fiat-to-crypto and reverse service is open to 32 countries, while the platform offers Bitcoin storage and transaction to a wider net of 190 countries. Besides the exchange, Coinbase also offers a crypto payments solution for businesses through its API, which developers and merchants can implement on their applications to accept crypto payments. Armstrong co-founded Coinbase in June 2012 and has been largely responsible for unearthing the crypto world to Americans. Armstrong has spearheaded Coinbase to cater to over 10 million customers worldwide. The exchange and wallet have provided custody for over $10 Billion in crypto assets. Armstrong was included in Fortune 40 under 40 2017.
Born in West Africa’s Ivory Coast and having emigrated to the United States in his youth, Charlie Lee has been involved in a number of major cryptocurrency endeavors. Most prominently, he is the creator of Litecoin, one of the earliest altcoins and consistently among the top ten altcoins in the past few years. Lee created Litecoin in 2011 and it hit the $1 Billion market capitalization in November 2013. As opposed to Bitcoin’s 10-minute block processing time, Litecoin offers a quicker processing time, having processed a block every 2.5 minutes. Lee started working for Coinbase in 2013, and he is now the Engineering Manager of the company. He also currently serves as the Chairman and Managing Director of the Litecoin Foundation. Lee continues to work on a number of Bitcoin-related projects as well. Before leading in the world of crypto, he worked as an engineer at Google.
Roger Ver has helped found a number of successful Bitcoin projects in Silicon Valley. Ver is indisputably the biggest name in crypto investing, if not the biggest investor in the industry, having financed Bitcoin’s first generation of Bitcoin businesses. One of these is ShafeShift AG, a web and API platform he formed in August 2014 that provides instant altcoin conversions. Ver also helped fund BitPay in 2011, a Bitcoin payment processor. Another successful startup he helped launch, alongside a few others, has been one of the biggest exchanges of the present — Kraken — which launched in 2011. Ver holds a number of board and advisory titles, including the Founding Board Member of the Bitcoin Foundation and the Advisor at Satoshi Studios. He has also been featured in the 2014 movie, “The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin.”
Andreas M. Antonopoulos
A Greek-British Bitcoin spokesman, Andreas Antonopoulos has become a best-selling author, speaker and educator on the subject of Bitcoin and blockchain. Antonopoulos is often invited to speak at Bitcoin events, in which he delves into the technical side of the industry as well as interspersing the topics of economics, psychology, current events, historical precedents and personal anecdotes. His 2014 book “Mastering Bitcoin” is regarded as one of the foremost technical guides on cryptocurrency. His sophomore book, “The Internet of Money,” which featured on the why aspect of Bitcoin became a bestseller. Antonopoulos is presently a teaching fellow with the University of Nicosia; he also serves in the Oversight Committee for the Bitcoin Reference Rate at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. As a crypto and blockchain advocate, he has spoken as an expert in hearings around the world, such as in the Australian Senate Banking Committee and the Canadian Senate Commerce, Banking and Finance Committee.
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