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Who are these people? And why you should care? Well, they keep things running smoothly around here, from the cryptocurrencies to the related services. So, yeah, you should probably care about such leaders in the cryptocurrency world.

They’re not only the founders of certain cryptocurrencies, like Satoshi Nakamoto. They’re also leading companies, foundations, and organizations that work with digital assets and blockchain technology. Let’s know a bit about them and what they’re up to, shall we?

Jihan Wu

Jihan Wu. Image from @JihanWu / Twitter

Along with Micree Zhan, he founded Bitmain in 2013. This is a giant and billionaire crypto-mining Chinese company, known as the world’s largest computer chip company for bitcoin mining. He stayed there as co-CEO till 2019, when he left for founding Matrixport, a financial services company for cryptocurrencies. He’s barely in his thirties now, and he was a vocal supporter of Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

Vitalik Buterin

Vitalik Buterin. Image from @VitalikButerin / Twitter

He’s the mastermind behind Ethereum (ETH). Before that, he also co-founded Bitcoin Magazine, and he didn’t even graduate from college. He’s Russian-Canadian, still in his twenties and, as you may imagine, he’s considered some kind of genius. Vitalik is still leading the Ethereum development, he advocates for decentralization, and his manners are always compared to someone with Asperger.

Roger Ver

Roger Ver. Image from @rogerkver / Twitter

This controversial character is the CEO of, a portal that provides Bitcoin Cash services like exchange, wallet, mining pool, and news. He used to be known as “Bitcoin Jesus” since he was an early evangelist for this currency. Since 2017 he’s a fervent supporter of Bitcoin Cash (BCH), though. And why controversial? Well, among other things, he was 10 months in prison around 2002 for selling explosives and he relinquished his U.S. nationality.

Charlie Lee

Charlie Lee. Public Domain.

He’s an ex-software engineer at Google, and the founder of Litecoin (LTC), the 5th cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Lee was born in Ivory Coast (Africa), but his family and he moved to the United States when he was 13 years old. Now he’s in his thirties and he’s working full-time on Litecoin development.

Perianne Boring

Perianne Boring. Image from CDC.

Yes, we also have women here. Ms. Boring is the founder of the Chamber of Digital Commerce (CDC), considered now the world’s largest trade association representing the blockchain industry. She’s American, in her thirties, and has a Bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics. She’s also a blockchain adviser on the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD’s) and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

Peter Smith

Peter Smith. Image from

Maybe you remember the famous domain, in which we can find one of the most popular blockchain explorers and online crypto-wallets. Well, the company behind these services is Blockchain Luxembourg, co-founded by Peter Smith in 2011. He’s an American who got a degree at the University of London, and he has lived, studied, and worked all around the world. He’s the current CEO of Blockchain, and he believes Bitcoin will hit $500k by 2030.

Riccardo Spagni

Riccardo Spagni. Image from Crunchbase

We still don’t know for sure who created Monero (XMR), but a group of seven developers forked the coin we know today. Most of them decided to remain anonymous. One of the two who chose to reveal their identities is Riccardo Spagni, who also was the Lead Maintainer of Monero till 2019. He’s from South Africa and it’s better known as “fluffypony”. In 2018 he co-founded Tari, a sidechain of Monero to support non-fungible tokens (NFT).

Adam Back

Adam Back. Image from Blockstream.

He’s a known British (and cypherpunk) cryptographer and businessman who created the Proof-of-Work (PoW) system Hashcash before Bitcoin. That’s one of the reasons why he’s also a suspect of being Satoshi Nakamoto himself. Back is co-founder and CEO of Blockstream, which develops products and services for the use of Bitcoin, and it’s very related to Bitcoin Core.

Elizabeth Stark

Elizabeth Stark. Image from Lightning Labs.

She’s co-founder and CEO of Lightning Labs, a company founded in 2016 to develop “software that powers the Lightning Network (LN)”. This is a decentralized protocol on top of Bitcoin and Litecoin; which works to make instant and cheaper payments with these currencies by using their own “channels”, outside the main blockchain. She’s also a fellow at the cryptocurrency nonprofit Coin Center, and an advisor at Chia Network.

Daniel Larimer

Daniel Larimer. Image from LinkedIn.

He’s an American computer scientist, an essential part of the founder teams of the decentralized exchange BitShares, the blockchain social network Steemit and the company Block.One, which created EOS and its protocol.  He also created BitUSD, considered the first stablecoin pegged to the dollar. Until now, Larimer was Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in Block.One, where he was the lead architect behind the EOSIO software.

Chris Larsen

Chris Larsen. Image from Ripple Labs.

Business executive an angel investor very active in Silicon Valley, Larsen is best known to date for being co-founder and ex-CEO of Ripple Labs, and now its Executive Chairman. He’s a privacy activist and founded as well some P2P startups before Ripple. He’s been included since December in the lawsuit by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Ripple Labs.

Jed McCaleb

Jed McCaleb. Image from Stellar Foundation

The first thing we can mention about him is that he was the original creator of the (in)famous Mt. Gox, once the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange. He sold the platform to Mark Karpelès in 2011, though. Later, Jed developed the payment protocol of Ripple, but he left to founding Stellar with Joyce Kim in 2014. He’s now CTO of Stellar Foundation.  

Brandom Chez

We barely know his name, since he’s managed all these years to stay low-key in the ecosystem. And that’s almost a feat since he’s the founder of CoinMarketCap (CMC), one of the core sites in the crypto-world. When he delisted from there without warning the South Korean exchanges in January 2018, we saw a $100b drop in the total cryptocurrency market capitalization. However, Chez sold CMC to Binance last year.

Barry Silbert

Barry Silbert. Image from @BarrySilbert / Twitter

He’s the founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group (DCG), a giant company that includes the media outlet CoinDesk, the crypto brokerage firm Genesis Trading, and the crypto investment firm Grayscale. This one is, by the way, probably the largest investor in Bitcoin (BTC). Besides, DCG has invested as well in several crypto startups, like Blockstream, Ledger, Lightning Network, and Ripple.

Charles Hoskinson

Charles Hoskinson. Image from IOHK.

He’s an American mathematician who co-founded Ethereum and later the blockchain company IOHK, for which he now serves as CEO. The main product of IOHK is the protocol Cardano and its native cryptocurrency ADA. Besides, Hoskinson has sponsored worldwide several research projects focused on blockchain technology.

Justin Sun

Justin Sun. Image from @justinsuntron / Twitter

He’s a young native Chinese mainly known as the founder of TRON blockchain and CEO for its foundation. However, he’s also the founder and CEO of Peiwo, considered the largest voice live streaming app in China; and CEO of BitTorrent (now Rainberry Inc.) since it was acquired by TRON in 2018.

Nick Szabo

Nick Szabo. Image from Korea Blockchain Week / Medium

Known as the father of smart contracts (your Yield Farming wouldn’t be possible without him), he is a 56-years-old American computer scientist, cryptographer, and pioneer in digital currency. He’s one of the most likely suspects of being Satoshi Nakamoto. Even if he wasn’t, his work as a cryptographer sat down the foundations for cryptocurrencies.

Zooko Wilcox

Zooko Wilcox. Image from Electric Coin Company.

American, computer security specialist and cypherpunk, Wilcox is the founder and CEO of Electric Coin Company, which responsible for the creation and maintenance of Zcash (ZEC), the privacy coin. He’s also founder and adviser for Least Authority Enterprises, a firm that develops products and services for secure online storage and advocates for privacy protection.

Connie Gallippi

Connie Gallippi. Image from The Resource Alliance.

Ms. Gallippi is maybe one of the earliest and more relevant women in crypto. She’s the founder and current Executive Director of BitGive, considered the first Bitcoin non-profit organization since May 2013. Before BitGive, she got a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Management and gathered 14 years of experience working with non-profit organizations, especially related to environmental care.

Wladimir van der Laan

W. van deer Lan. Source Wiki

Although he’s taking a break from his duties, he’s still the lead maintainer of Bitcoin Core, the main software client for using Bitcoin. He lives in the Netherlands and is developing for Bitcoin Core since 2011. He’s done 1,711 checks to the code (commits), and known pseudonyms of him are laanwj, wumpus, and orionwl.

There’s a lot of people missing here, but at least we hope this can be a nice start to meet all the key people and important leaders in the cryptocurrency world.

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I'm a literature professional in the crypto world since 2016. It doesn't sound very compatible, but I've been learning and teaching about blockchain and cryptos for international portals since then. After hundreds of articles and diverse content about the topic, now you can find me here on Alfacash, working for more decentralization.

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