There’s no shortage of stories about smart or lucky investors making millions of dollars from well-timed crypto trades, particularly in the pre-winter boom years. The people who built the systems developed the software and founded the companies that those investors use, on the other hand, earned not millions, but billions.
The world of blockchain billionaires is a very small and exclusive fraternity. Not only aren’t there many of them, but their ranks include several partners who both got rich at the same time after co-founding the same company together.
Keep reading to meet the crypto billionaires who made a fortune building the blockchain world that many mainstream Americans are just learning about now.
- Fred Ehrsam
Fred Ehrsam first learned about digital currency as an avid “World of Warcraft” player. In 2012, he co-founded Coinbase with Brian Armstrong, who also appears on this list. Coinbase went on to become the biggest cryptocurrency brokerage in America.
According to Forbes, Ehrsam still owns 6% of the company and sits on the board despite leaving Coinbase in 2017. One year later in 2018, he founded the crypto investment firm Paradigm.
- Michael Saylor
Michael Saylor was a billionaire, then he wasn’t, and now he is again. The MIT grad and former rocket scientist founded the business analytics software firm MicroStrategy in 1989. He rode the dotcom wave to a 10-figure net worth until the dotcom bust ended his stint as a billionaire.
According to Forbes, he reclaimed membership in the three-comma club with a well-timed purchase of tens of thousands of bitcoins.
- Jed McCaleb
Few billionaire crypto pioneers go back as far as Jed McCaleb, who founded Mt. Gox in 2010 as the first legitimate cryptocurrency exchange. Mt. Gox has been a notorious part of crypto folklore since the exchange was hacked in the tumultuous early days of Bitcoin.
McCaleb sold Mt. Gox one year before the hack. Two years later in 2012, he co-founded Ripple with Chris Larsen — more on him shortly — and according to Forbes, that’s where he made his real money. McCaleb received 9 billion XRP as a Ripple founder, and it’s estimated that he still owns 3.4 billion, which represents the bulk of his wealth.
- Devin Finzer
Blockchain billionaire Devin Finzer made his fortune not in cryptocurrencies, but in NFTs. The CEO and co-founder of the NFT marketplace OpenSea, Finzer previously worked as a software engineer for Pinterest.
In 2021, when investors valued his company at $13.3 billion, Finzer and OpenSea co-founder Alex Atallah became the world’s first NFT billionaires, according to Forbes.
- Alex Atallah
OpenSea co-founder and CTO Alex Atallah share the title of the world’s first NFT billionaire with fellow co-founder Devin Finzer. Both he and Finzer own an estimated 18% of the $13.3 billion NFT marketplace, according to Forbes.
- Nikil Viswanathan
Nikil Viswanathan co-founded Alchemy with Joe Lau in 2020, and today, thousands of blockchain and Web3 companies rely on the company’s software. Before founding Alchemy, the duo — both Stanford grads — built Down to Lunch, a meetup app that at one point was No. 1 in the Apple Store.
What Happened To Billionaire Tech Mogul John McAfee?
Why was John McAfee on the run and what happened to him? All your questions about Netflix’s new documentary, Running With The Devil.
Running With The Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee is the latest fascinating true crime offering from Netflix. The documentary tells the mindboggling story of John McAfee, the founder of the $14 billion McAfee antivirus software company who went on the run after being accused of murdering his next-door neighbor.
When Gregory Faull died of a single gunshot wound to the head in his Belize beachside home in 2012, his eccentric neighbor John McAfee became the chief suspect in the crime. But despite maintaining his innocence, John went on the run from the police, convinced he was being hunted by multiple enemies including members of drug cartels and even the government.
Here we answer all your questions about John McAfee.
Who is John McAfee?
John McAfee was the founder of the McAfee antivirus software company, but after making millions in the 1980s the playboy inventor spent a lot of his cash on drugs and women.
In 2008 John moved to Belize, a Caribbean country on the northeastern coast of Central America, where many people move to spend their retirement. However, it is claimed by journalist Jose Sanchez in the Netflix documentary that the government doesn’t keep a close eye on those moving to the country making it the “perfect place for those wanting to escape something in North America”.
Why was John McAfee on the run?
When John moved to Belize in 2008 he moved in next door to a man called Gregory Faull, but the pair soon ended up in a dispute. So when Gregory was found shot dead in 2012, John unsurprisingly became the prime suspect. But rather than cooperate with the police and go in for questioning, he went on the run to Guatemala.
Soon a bizarre game of cat and mouse began, with John taking on various strange disguises and pretend disabilities to avoid people recognizing him. He also took a film crew along, as well as security guards and the various women in his life like his former girlfriend Sam Herrera and later his wife Janice Dyson. John spent most of his time on the run living on a boat as he traveled the world, as well as paying people off to avoid being caught.
What happened to John McAfee?
Eventually, John returned to the US and it seemed the game of chase was over when the authorities seemingly lost interest in him, leaving him to even run for the Libertarian Party nomination for president of the United States in 2016.
But by 2019 John was on the run again, this time from the US government for tax evasion and insider trading. He was facing 30 years in jail and in October 2020, he was arrested in Barcelona. However, in a turn of events that no one saw coming, John was found dead in his prison cell on June 23, 2021, in an apparent suicide, just hours after Spanish courts ruled he was to be sent back to the US to face his charges.
Despite the fact his death was ruled as suicide, as the documentary comes to a close it is revealed that John had always maintained he would never take his own life. In the years leading up to his death, he has maintained that if he ever died and it looked like suicide then he would have been murdered.
John’s wife Janice also released a statement after his death, saying she’d spoken to him hours prior to him being found dead, and that he’d told her he loved her and that they’d made arrangements to speak that same evening.
Four Ways AI Can Improve Your Next Meeting
It may not be noticeable to most, but AI is now rooted in many aspects of our lives. From voice assistants to the cars we drive, to social media and shopping – AI is integrated into a multitude of everyday processes.
It should be of little surprise that AI is also becoming heavily embedded in our businesses. And while some people feel uncomfortable about this intersection of human and machine, it truly offers an abundance of transformative opportunities.
Here are four reasons why AI will continue to be important today and in the future:
- Automated note-taking allows brainstorms to go full speed
The days of being the meeting scribe and not absorbing what’s been said around you are over. Automated note-taking and accurate meeting transcripts are one of the simplest ways AI can help free up meeting attendees to focus on the discussion taking place.
Using this software means that transcripts can be searched for important keywords and ideas, allowing participants to fully absorb details after the meeting has concluded. Giving everyone at the meeting the ability to participate without the burden of constant note-taking fosters a lively and uninhibited discussion, encouraging a seamless flow of ideas.
- AI-powered action items, agenda updates, and deadline management
AI technology is founded on rules-based responses to decisions, meaning it can be taught to recognize keywords. Organizers can plug in important words such as “follow up” or “action item” and the AI can recognize them and react for easier sharing and review after a meeting.
In addition, AI can help to record deadlines and, if programmed to do so, could send out reminders as deadlines approach. With something like Natural Language Processing (NLP) embedded, AI can also know which parts of the meeting are most important, based on vocal tones, and can automatically record and share those parts with attendees, ensuring that none of the actions are forgotten.
- Automated capture of nonverbal cues
We all know those golden moments during a meeting where ideas are born and everyone reacts in a positive way – but they can be hard to identify, particularly if you’re engaging with remote workers on the phone or via video conference.
Wouldn’t it be great if AI was able to more easily recognize and record those moments, because they are generally identified by nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, nods, laughter, or peaks in the audio when everyone has that aha moment? A human note-taker may not be able to accurately capture this, but AI may be able to.
- Improved overall efficiency prevents meetings from dragging on
Everyone has experienced a meeting that seems to drag on endlessly, or watched co-workers talk in circles. This can happen when people are not paying attention because they’re scribbling on notepads and typing on laptops, bringing up topics that were already discussed. This is what turns meetings into chores instead of the energizing moments of team collaboration they are meant to be.
When AI removes the more mundane aspects of a meeting like scheduling or taking attendance, attendees can move through administrative tasks and housekeeping items rapidly, knowing the AI will have it all recorded for later reference, and move into free-flowing exchanges of ideas.
And for those routine meetings that occur frequently and don’t always entail a major brainstorming, AI also facilitates effective and concise meetings, so everyone can get into the meeting quickly, be productive with the time set out, and then get back into more inspiring work.
Five Best Apps For Micro-Investing
Micro-investing is a way for people to get started with investing with a lower threshold. It lets you invest with a small balance, often as little as $1.
A few dollars here and there can add up. Even if you can’t make $500 mutual fund purchases monthly, you can build an investment portfolio from smaller deposits over time. Eventually, you could be in a position to invest using a more sophisticated platform than the micro-investing app you begin with. Here are the best apps for micro-investing.
Stash packs the most features into the leanest package, delivering the best overall value for micro-investors. It offers three reasonably priced subscription plans:
- Beginner. For $1/month, Beginner comes with a commission-free taxable brokerage account where you can purchase whole or fractional shares of individual stocks in increments of $1 or more. It also includes an FDIC-insured debit account with a debit card that earns stock rewards (Stock-Back) and two great automation features: Round-up (rounds up and invests the change on debit card purchases) and Smart-Stash (makes small automated investments whenever Stash thinks you can afford them).
- Growth. For $3/month, Growth adds a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA, and a managed investing option for your taxable and retirement accounts.
- Stash+. For $9/month, Stash+ adds up to two UTMA/UGMA custodial investing accounts, a metal debit card with 2x Stock-Back rewards, and $10,000 in no-cost life insurance coverage through Avibra.
Acorns is the best choice for micro-investors whose top priority is set-it-and-forget-it investing automation. It offers two powerful automation features:
- Round-ups, which rounds up and invest the change on every purchase with your connected debit card
- Found Money, which rewards you for shopping with partner companies (up to 10% back) and invests the reward.
- Round-up Multipliers, which multiply the value of each round-up by up to 10x.
- Custodial accounts.
- Retirement accounts.
- Fractional share investing starts at $0.01 per purchase.
- Mobile check deposit and digital wallet integration.
Robinhood is the best micro-investing app for more experienced investors who prefer an active, self-directed approach. Its user-friendly interface enables seamless buying and selling of stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies — with no commissions, ever.
- Invest in fractional shares with increments as low as $1.
- Access to additional market data with a Robinhood Gold subscription ($5/month).
- Margin trading with Robinhood Gold and a $2,000 minimum account balance.
- Ability to buy and sell options contracts.
The public does its best to demystify investing for beginners with low minimums, prohibitions on day trading, and clear, plain-English definitions of common investing terms wherever they appear. That’s enough to make Public the best micro-investing app for beginners.
- Invest with just $5
- Fractional share investing is available.
- Build multi-company portfolios with one click using Public’s thematic investing feature
- Drag and drop to separate short-term and long-term investments for tax optimization
- Follow other Public users and companies to get investing ideas
Greenlight is a financial education tool built around a kid-friendly debit card with full parental controls. Upgrade to Greenlight + Invest for $7.98/month ($3/month more than the base plan) to get access to a custodial micro-investing account too. It’s the perfect first brokerage account for tomorrow’s market-savvy investor.
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