Crypto influencers are individuals who wield substantial influence over market participants, and their statements can have a significant impact on the valuation of digital assets. Some focus on the technical aspects of cryptocurrencies, such as development, security, and mining, among others. Others concentrate on financial matters, such as trading, investing, market analysis, and forecasts. There are also crypto influencers who work to popularize cryptocurrencies among the general public and educate novice users.
Of course, within this cadre of experts, there are those who are more famous and authoritative, as well as those who are less well-known. Below, we will discuss a few of the most influential and popular among them: those wizards who can move cryptocurrency valuations with a single word.
Elon Musk is a Canadian American engineer, inventor, entrepreneur, and investor. Born in South Africa in 1971, he began programming at the age of 10. At 17, he moved to Canada and later to the United States, where he earned degrees in physics and economics. He is the founder and/or co-owner of companies including SpaceX, Tesla, PayPal, SolarCity, Neuralink, and Twitter. As of August 22, 2023, according to Forbes, Elon Musk is the wealthiest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $287 billion. Musk states that his objective is to make humanity interplanetary and to improve the quality of life on Earth.
In July 2023, Musk announced that he is rebranding Twitter as X. Why X? Simply because he has a fondness for the letter. Back in 1999, he founded X.com, a finance-related company. Currently, he leads SpaceX, is raising a son named X Æ A-12 and is also developing a Model X at Tesla.
As for Musk's relationship with cryptocurrencies, it's rather complicated. On the one hand, he has invested in bitcoin and Ethereum, and at one point allowed Tesla electric cars to be purchased using bitcoin. On the other hand, the billionaire has criticized the leading cryptocurrency for its high energy consumption and volatility. He has also influenced cryptocurrency prices, not always positively, through his tweets.
In this context, it's worth mentioning Dogecoin: a cryptocurrency created in 2013 as a joke based on a popular Shiba Inu dog meme. Musk has promoted this coin, endorsing it in his tweets. He has also invested in Dogecoin and announced plans to use it to finance a satellite launch to the Moon. However, he has acknowledged that he does not control Dogecoin's developers and warned that investing in this and other cryptocurrencies carries risks.
Vitalik Buterin is a Russian Canadian programmer and co-founder of Ethereum, the second largest and most popular cryptocurrency following bitcoin. Born in 1994 in Kolomna, a small town near Moscow, Buterin moved to Canada at the age of six. He showed an early interest in mathematics, programming, and cryptography. In 2011, he became one of the co-founders and the chief editor of Bitcoin Magazine: one of the earliest and most authoritative sources of information on cryptocurrencies.
In 2013, Buterin published a white paper titled "Ethereum: A Platform for Decentralized Applications Based on Smart Contracts," proposing a more versatile and flexible alternative to bitcoin capable of supporting various types of decentralized applications (DApps). In 2014, he assembled a team of developers and conducted a crowd sale to finance his project. Ethereum's inaugural blockchain was launched in 2015. Since then, Vitalik Buterin has been one of the key leaders and prominent figures in the crypto community.
He also participates in various charitable initiatives related to cryptocurrencies, such as the Giving Pledge and Crypto Relief.
Changpeng Zhao is a Chinese Canadian entrepreneur, programmer, and founder of Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. Born in 1977 in Jiangsu, China, Zhao moved to Canada at the age of 12. He studied computer science at McGill University and worked for various technology and finance companies, including Bloomberg, Fusion Systems, and OKCoin.
In 2017, Zhao founded Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange known for its high-speed trading, low fees, and extensive selection of cryptocurrency pairs. Binance has also developed its own smart contract-based platform for decentralized applications (DApps), called Binance Smart Chain, as well as its own cryptocurrency, Binance Coin (BNB). The latter is used for fee payments on the exchange and for accessing various perks.
Changpeng Zhao is also known for his active social media presence, where he frequently shares his opinions and news about cryptocurrencies.
Andrew Ng is a British Chinese American scientist specializing in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Born in 1976 in London, Ng moved to Hong Kong at the age of four. He studied computer science, electrical engineering, and mathematics in the United States, attending both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University.
Ng has worked for various academic and industrial organizations, including Google, Baidu, Coursera, and Deeplearning.ai. He has also founded and led several AI research and development labs and centres, such as Google Brain, Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Baidu Research AI Group, and Stanford AI for Human Impact Lab.
Recognized as a leading expert and educator in the fields of AI, machine learning, and deep learning, Andrew Ng is also an active advocate for the application of AI in addressing global challenges such as healthcare, education, and environmental issues.
Elizabeth Stark is an American entrepreneur, lawyer, and the co-founder and CEO of Lightning Labs. Born in 1986 in New York, USA, Stark studied law at Yale University and developed a strong interest in technology, the internet, and cyberspace. After her studies, she worked for various organizations related to human rights, freedom of speech, and digital security, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons, Mozilla Foundation, and Stanford Center for Internet and Society.
In addition to her professional experience, Stark has taught courses on cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and technological entrepreneurship at Stanford University, Yale University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In 2016, Stark founded Lightning Labs, a company that develops the Lightning Network—a protocol designed to scale and speed up bitcoin transactions. The Lightning Network enables the creation of a decentralized network of payment channels between bitcoin users, allowing for instantaneous and low-cost transactions without the need to record each one on the blockchain. Elizabeth Stark is one of the most prominent and influential women in the crypto industry, earning her the title of "Superwoman."
Andreas Antonopoulos is a Greek-British writer, speaker, technology entrepreneur, and an ardent advocate for bitcoin. Born in 1972 in London, Antonopoulos moved to Greece at the age of ten, later returning to the UK to study computer sciences, networking, and distributed systems at the University of London and the University of Southampton. He has worked in a variety of technology, security, and cloud computing roles for companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Accenture, RSA Security, and Nemertes Research.
Additionally, Antonopoulos is a co-founder and partner in several startups, including Third Key Solutions, Decentralized Applications Fund, and Blockchain Capital. He first learned about bitcoin in 2012 and quickly became one of its most active and respected proponents. Antonopoulos is the author of multiple books dedicated to digital assets, including "Mastering Bitcoin," "The Internet of Money," and "Mastering Ethereum."
Not only is he a subject matter expert, but Antonopoulos is also a compelling communicator known for his ability to explain complex topics in simple, understandable terms. He is an active lecturer who conducts numerous seminars, podcasts, and videos on bitcoin, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies, gaining popularity for both his expertise and his capacity for clear communication.
Laura Shin is an American journalist, writer, and podcaster specializing in cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and fintech. Born in 1979 in San Francisco, USA, she studied English literature at Harvard University and journalism at Columbia University. Shin has contributed to various esteemed publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Fortune.
She was among the first journalists to focus on cryptocurrencies and blockchain, with her initial pieces on the subject appearing in 2013. She is also the author of "The Cryptopians: Idealism, Greed and the Future of Money," a book that explores the early enthusiasts of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
In addition to her writing, Shin hosts two popular podcasts on relevant topics, where she interviews a diverse range of experts, entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders from the crypto community.
Michael Saylor is an American entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist, best known as the founder and former CEO of MicroStrategy, a company specializing in business analytics and mobile applications. Although he stepped down from his CEO role in 2023, he continues to serve as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Born in 1965 in Lincoln, USA, Saylor studied aerospace engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and also explored astronomy at Harvard University.
In 1989, Saylor founded MicroStrategy and transformed it into a leading company in the realms of business analytics and mobile applications. He is also the founder and president of the Saylor Foundation, a charitable organization that supports educational initiatives such as the Saylor Academy, a free online platform for various academic disciplines.
In 2020, Michael Saylor became one of the most high-profile bitcoin enthusiasts. At that time, MicroStrategy invested over a billion dollars in bitcoin, making the cryptocurrency the company's primary reserve asset. Saylor frequently gives interviews explaining his philosophy, strategy, and vision of bitcoin as a global store of value and digital gold. As of the end of August 2023, MicroStrategy owns 152,800 BTC coins, representing the largest corporate cryptocurrency reserve in the world.
Charles Hoskinson is an American entrepreneur, mathematician, and programmer who co-founded Ethereum and founded Cardano, a top-10 cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Born in 1987 in Colorado, USA, Hoskinson studied mathematics, analytics, and cryptography at the Metropolitan State University of Denver, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the University of Wyoming. He has worked on various cryptocurrency-related projects such as the Bitcoin Education Project, BitShares, Ethereum Classic, and IOHK.
In 2015, Hoskinson founded Cardano, a cryptocurrency platform aimed at creating a more secure, scalable, and stable environment for decentralized applications (DApps) based on smart contracts. Cardano also employs a unique consensus algorithm called Ouroboros, which is grounded in scientific principles and formal verification. Charles Hoskinson is one of the most respected and authoritative figures in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space.
Cathy Wood is an analyst and the founder of ARK Invest, an investment firm specializing in innovative technologies with the potential to radically transform the world. Born in 1955 in the United States, Wood studied economics and finance at the University of Southern California before working at various financial institutions such as Capital Group, Jennison Associates, Tupelo Capital Management, and AllianceBernstein.
In 2014, she founded ARK Invest, where she also serves as the Chief Investment Officer and Portfolio Manager. As of the end of July 2021, ARK Invest managed assets totalling $52.6 billion. Cathy Wood also oversees multiple investment funds that include stocks of companies involved in cryptocurrencies, blockchain, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, among others. Additionally, she is one of the most prominent and successful investors in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Wood frequently appears at various conferences, podcasts, and videos, where she shares her vision and investment strategy in the realm of cryptocurrencies.
This article has examined the biographies of just a few well-known influencers, analysts, and experts in the cryptocurrency field. In reality, there are many more specialists and experts who have a significant impact on public opinion and behaviour within the cryptocurrency sector. Of course, any discussion about these individuals would be incomplete without mentioning Satoshi Nakamoto: the mysterious creator (or creators) of bitcoin, the first and most popular cryptocurrency in the world. Nakamoto's identity remains unknown to this day, and there is a dedicated article about who might be behind this pseudonym, which you can find in the "Useful Articles" section on the NordFX website.