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The richest man in crypto, an art world player, someone who took a chance, and a pair of infamous twins—here’s a selection of players in crypto.
Founder of cryptocurrency platform TRON, CEO of Rainberry, Inc, and founder and CEO of mobile social app Peiwo, Justin Sun made news in art world circles in April 2021 after it was revealed that he bid and won on a $20m Picasso painting at a Christie’s sale.
The piece is called Femme nue couchée au collier (Marie-Thérèse), and was painted in 1932. This was the second most expensive painting on offer.
Sun had bid on an NFT by digital artist Beeple in an online sale at Christie’s but lost out to Vignesh Sundaresan, another crypto-investor. Christie’s, sensing a potential buyer for their modern and contemporary art sales, introduced Sun to an available lot of art in the April sale.
Giovanna Bertazzoni, the vice-chairman of Christie’s 20th and 21st centuries department, said he was particularly taken with “the Picassos, Basquiats, Warhols, and Renoirs. Those were relevant to him.” Along with the Picasso, he bid $2m on Warhol’s Three Self Portraits (1986).
According to Forbes Magazine, founder and CEO of FTX (a cryptocurrency exchange) Sam Bankman-Fried is the richest person in crypto, with a real-time net worth of $26.5B. The son of Stanford University law professors Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, Bankman-Fried studied physics at MIT.
He then started trading EFTs, donating a bunch of salary to charity and then moved to trade in 2017, after seeing a lucrative opportunity. FTX, launched in 2019 is a firm that is considered one of the leading exchanges for buying and selling crypto. It raised $900m at an $18B valuation, which then made Bankman-Fried one of the richest people in his age group. He wants to eventually donate most of his wealth to charity.
A 2021 study said that just over 15 percent of Bitcoin traders are women, but as an article published in Vice recently said, more and more of them are joining in. Rachel Siegel is one of them. Once a substitute teacher in New York, she is now a self-described millionaire.
“This all happened over years of me sitting at my computer in my pajamas,” she told Vice. “I just spent a lot of time learning and I think anyone could achieve it.”
Women in crypto tend to be more cautious: social media tends to be rife with photos of male traders showing off their gains, and offering tips on how to strike it even bigger. Sexism is also a problem. Siegel minted a selfie of herself in a robe as an NFT and a cryptocurrency news site published a story calling her a “thirst trap.”
She has also had experiences sharing her opinions on Twitter, and being told to “shut up, [expletive.]” For now, the aim for Siegel is not to splash out on fancy cars, but to continue staying financially independent.
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss
Remember the Winkleveii, the early investors at Facebook who eventually sued and settled with Mark Zuckerberg for $65B in a mix of shares and cash, and were immortalized on The Social Network by a potential vampire? Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss made sure to get in early on Bitcoin, and this time stay ahead of the game.
In 2013, Winklevoss Capital (a company that provides start-up investments) owned around $11M in Bitcoin. It was suggested that they bought some of their holdings for the price of $10 per coin. They were even rumored to hold one percent of all Bitcoin in circulation.
Thanks to their early embrace of the digital economy, that $65m settlement has now turned into fortunes at $3B for each brother. They also launched Gemini, a crypto exchange, and a digital art auction platform Nifty Gateway. While it is unclear what their exact holdings are, according to Forbes, they currently own 70,000 Bitcoins and other digital assets.