Mention being a bitcoin winner and a lot of minds will turn to those online gamblers who have made small fortunes playing games like MegaMoolah.com using bitcoin deposits.
And yet there is another way to win with bitcoin: investing. The world's biggest bitcoin winners have done just that. Some started when bitcoin was still in its infancy while others didn't begin investing until years later. The one thing they all have in common now is tremendous wealth.
What follows is a list of some of bitcoin's biggest winners and their stories. As you read, bear in mind that bitcoin is not a recognized currency in any country. It is not considered legal tender. We can only use it to transact business because senders and recipients agree to its value. In order to become a big bitcoin winner, you have to think outside the daily transaction box. You have to think investing.
Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss
Known among the media elites as a Winklevoss twins, Tyler and Cameron are best known for their prolific investments in cryptocurrency. You may remember that they are the same brothers who hired Mark Zuckerburg to build a social media website and then went on the sue Facebook for stealing their idea. That case never went to court as they settled for some $65 million.
At any rate, the brothers began investing in bitcoin in 2012. They saw the price run up fairly high until the 2013 crash that saw bitcoin lose some 80% of its value. That didn't stop them. The Winklevoss twins went on to establish their own exchange after gaining regulatory approval in the U.S. It is still one of only a small number of U.S.-based exchanges dealing in crypto. As of March 2018, their exchange was handling in the neighborhood of $300 million in daily transactions.
The brothers have also invested in other cryptocurrencies. Ethereum is one of them. Never content, they are working on establishing an exchange traded fund (ETF) for bitcoin, which has been rejected by the SEC a couple of times.
Their estimated net worth is roughly $1 billion each.
Barry Silbert's Digital Currency Group (DCG) is one of the most well-known companies in the cryptocurrency space. As CEO, Silbert is estimated to be worth billions. His company has invested in more than 75 cryptocurrency entities with the aim of accelerating the growth of crypto worldwide. Their ultimate goal is to see some form of cryptocurrency replace fiat currencies.
In addition to DCG, Silbert has his hands in a number of other companies. He is involved in the Genesis and Grayscale investment firms as well as the Bitcoin Investment Trust. Created by Silbert, the trust is an EFT that tracks the price of Bitcoin.
Like so many other big winners of bitcoin, Erik Finman got his foot in the door back in 2012 when bitcoin was still relatively affordable. As a 12-year-old, he used a $1,000 gift to begin investing. Seven years later, that $1,000 investment has grown to be worth more than $4 million thanks to several sales and subsequent purchases.
As an adult, Finman now manages cryptocurrency investments owned by his family. He also works with NASA. According to a Finman Twitter post, "Cryptocurrency represents the largest transfer of wealth our generation has ever seen. Never before have young people been able to change economic classes so quickly. This is bigger than bitcoin."
Charlie Schrem's story is somewhat unique among the biggest winners of bitcoin. It is one of meteoric rise followed by near disastrous crash, followed by another rise. It all began when Schrem was a college student in 2011. That is when he began investing in bitcoin.
In order to make his investments go further, Schrem teamed up with a friend to create a new exchange designed to speed up transaction times for buying and selling bitcoins. Schrem used some of his own wealth to establish temporary credit that would allow near instantaneous transactions. It wasn't long before his company was offering bitcoin investing in more than 700,000 locations.
He found himself in legal trouble after a customer used his exchange to launder money made in the illegal drug trade. Schrem spent most of his wealth on criminal defense but ultimately ended up in prison. Once out he began investing what money had left. Only this time, he treated bitcoin as a security. Now he tends to buy when the price is low and sell when it's high. His current net wealth is estimated at $45 million.
Schrem admits to having learned a lesson from his past failure. He now takes his bitcoin profits and puts them into real estate. His goal is to establish sound investments that will keep him off the street should bitcoin ever fully collapse. He knows there is always a chance of that happening, and he doesn't want to be left with nothing - as he was while in prison.
Our next big bitcoin winner is actually one of bitcoin's most controversial characters. We are speaking of none other than Roger Ver, one of the earliest bitcoin evangelists and Bitcoin Cash advocate.
Like Schrem, Ver has a checkered past. He spent 10 months in prison after being convicted of selling explosives on eBay. Upon his release from prison, Ver moved to Japan and eventually renounced his U.S. citizenship and became a citizen of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
He began building his wealth in bitcoin with his first investment in 2011. Interestingly enough, he made that investment by way of Schrem's company, Bitinstant. He also began investing in other bitcoin related startups including Ripple and Bitpay. He eventually went on to create Bitcoin Cash after a dust-up with bitcoin developers over scalability and transaction speed.
The most intriguing part of Ver's story is his claim of being an anarcho-capitalist. Anarcho-capitalism is an economic and political line of thought that believes in 100% in decentralization, private property ownership, and free markets.
Jeremy Gardner is one of those big winners of bitcoin who began investing almost by accident. He had a friend who needed cash and offered to purchase some bitcoin for him in exchange. Gardner didn't truly understand what he was doing at the time, but he was intrigued by the idea of cryptocurrency.
At some point, Gardner realized he could "exchange value with anyone in the world" with just an internet connection and a device to get online. He allowed his crypto holdings to grow for a while, then he sold some of it and put the profits into other crypto stock investments. From there he launched a number of crypto-based organizations including Augur and The Block Chain Education Network.
Gardner has done so well for himself that he is able to work for a venture capital firm without drawing a salary. He is also one of bitcoin's most well-known evangelists.
Kingsley Advani is a relatively late bloomer but a big winner of bitcoin nonetheless. He saw the potential of bitcoin a few years ago, then devised a plan where he would sell all his worldly possessions and put the money completely into bitcoin. That is exactly what he did. After investing $34,000 and waiting for the bull market to complete its run in 2017, Advani became a millionaire.
Advani continued to work during the bull market run, putting as much of his salary into crypto as he could. By last October, he was ready to retire and live on his earnings. He is now an angel investor and cryptocurrency adviser. He has active investments in a number of big-name crypto companies including ETH and NEO.
If you don't know enough about bitcoin and cryptocurrency to recognize any of the other names listed here, you will probably recognize a name popular in hip-hop music: 50 Cent. Born Curtis James Jackson III in 1975, 50 Cent began accepting bitcoin as payment for his music. News reports say eventually forgot that he owned any bitcoin.
50 Cent now knows he owns roughly 700 Bitcoin. That works out to holdings in excess of $4.4 million, even without the millions he has earned from his records. It just goes to show that you can get rich from investment without ever intending to do so. What began as a way to get his music into the hands of more fans turned out to reap a windfall.
The real money is in investing and just good old luck!
There are a lot of great stories out there detailing the lives of bitcoin's biggest winners. All of them have one thing in common: investing. That is the key to becoming one of the big winners of bitcoin.
It is great to play slot games like Mega Moolah. And in fact, we promote casino gambling here at Coinbet.com. But we don't promote it as a way to get rich. Gambling is for entertainment purposes only. Why? Because you win some and you lose some. That's the reality.
If you want a more realistic shot of making a fortune with bitcoin, you need to think in terms of investing. Cryptocurrency is more a security than legal tender, so you have to treat it like a security if you want to make big money from it.