Winklevoss twins head the list of people getting very rich from bitcoin


Charlie Shrem was an early investor in bitcoin and reportedly bought thousands of coins when they were worth as little as $3 to $20 each. Even 5,000 coins would give Shrem $57.5 million. Shrem founded digital currency exchange BitInstant. It shut down after the U.S. government charged Shrem in 2014 with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to prison. He was released last year.

None of the individuals above have publicly stated how many bitcoins they own, or responded to CNBC’s request for comment. It’s possible they have already cashed in, or bought more of the digital currency since.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the anonymous founder of bitcoin known as “Satoshi Nakamoto” has 980,000 bitcoins, based on widely accepted analysis by Sergio Demian Lerner. That puts Nakamoto at the top of the bitcoin rich list, with about $11.3 billion.

Nakamoto also holds almost 4.7 percent of all the bitcoins that will ever exist, and nearly 6 percent of all bitcoins that have been created so far. The number of bitcoins is limited to 21 million, and 16.7 million bitcoins exist today, according to data from Blockchain.

Bitcoin rose about 1 percent to $11,700 Tuesday with a market value of around $197 billion, according to CoinDesk. At one point Tuesday, it hit a record above $11,800. The digital currency is up more than 1,100 percent this year.

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