The Top 10 Biggest Names in Bitcoin and Blockchain Industries

Members of the bitcoin community, including investors and executives, are having a huge impact on the future of the industry, promoting awareness and mainstream adoption.

  • 1. Marc Andreessen, Andreessen Horowitz
Andreessen Horowitz is one of the largest venture capital firms focused on bitcoin startups. Its investment portfolio includes such digital currency companies as 21 Inc, Coinbase and TradeBlock. Marc Andreessen is also a co-founder of Netscape and a board member at eBay and Facebook. Photo: JD Lasica/Flickr1. Marc Andreessen, Andreessen Horowitz Andreessen Horowitz is one of the largest venture capital firms focused on bitcoin startups. Its investment portfolio includes such digital currency companies as 21 Inc, Coinbase and TradeBlock. Marc Andreessen is also a co-founder of Netscape and a board member at eBay and Facebook. Photo: JD Lasica/Flickr
  • 2. Barry Silbert, Digital Currency Group
Started in 2015, Digital Currency Group has grown into the biggest bitcoin investor with over 70 investments across the world. Barry Silbert is known as the founder of an investment platform SecondMarket, which was acquired by Nasdaq last year. In 2013, he launched the Bitcoin Investment Trust, which became the first publicly traded bitcoin fund. Photo: Barry Silber/Twitter2. Barry Silbert, Digital Currency Group Started in 2015, Digital Currency Group has grown into the biggest bitcoin investor with over 70 investments across the world. Barry Silbert is known as the founder of an investment platform SecondMarket, which was acquired by Nasdaq last year. In 2013, he launched the Bitcoin Investment Trust, which became the first publicly traded bitcoin fund. Photo: Barry Silber/Twitter
  • 3. Blythe Masters, Digital Asset Holdings.
Former JP Morgan executive, Masters became a CEO of Digital Asset Holdings in 2015. The startup, which is aimed at bringing the blockchain technology to Wall Street, has obtained about $60 million in financing. Digital Asset Holdings has earlier partnered with JP Morgan to explore the use of the distributed ledger for financial transactions. Photo: xfinance/Flickr3. Blythe Masters, Digital Asset Holdings. Former JP Morgan executive, Masters became a CEO of Digital Asset Holdings in 2015. The startup, which is aimed at bringing the blockchain technology to Wall Street, has obtained about $60 million in financing. Digital Asset Holdings has earlier partnered with JP Morgan to explore the use of the distributed ledger for financial transactions. Photo: xfinance/Flickr
  • 4. Balaji Srinivasan, 21 Inc.
Although there was little information about the startup’s services, it managed to raise $121 million in funding. In 2015, the company introduced a small bitcoin personal computer that allows developing apps based on the distributed ledger.
Srinivasan is currently a board member at Andreessen Horowitz. Photo: Teleport4. Balaji Srinivasan, 21 Inc. Although there was little information about the startup’s services, it managed to raise $121 million in funding. In 2015, the company introduced a small bitcoin personal computer that allows developing apps based on the distributed ledger. Srinivasan is currently a board member at Andreessen Horowitz. Photo: Teleport
  • 5. Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum.
Ethereum is a P2P platform that enables users to trade its own currency, Ether, for traditional and virtual currencies. In 2014, Buterin launched a pre-sale of Ether digital tokens, which brought the company $18.4 million. The initiative turned into the most successful crowdsale of digital tokens.
At the age of 22, Buterin is one of the most notable members of the bitcoin community. He took part in a number of bitcoin projects, including the creation of Bitcoin Magazine. Photo: TechCrunch/Flickr5. Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum. Ethereum is a P2P platform that enables users to trade its own currency, Ether, for traditional and virtual currencies. In 2014, Buterin launched a pre-sale of Ether digital tokens, which brought the company $18.4 million. The initiative turned into the most successful crowdsale of digital tokens. At the age of 22, Buterin is one of the most notable members of the bitcoin community. He took part in a number of bitcoin projects, including the creation of Bitcoin Magazine. Photo: TechCrunch/Flickr
  • 6. David Rutter, R3.
R3 CEV is now leading a blockchain project started to investigate the potential applications of the technology. The company formed a consortium, which now includes over 40 banks, such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citi. Photo: R3 CEV6. David Rutter, R3. R3 CEV is now leading a blockchain project started to investigate the potential applications of the technology. The company formed a consortium, which now includes over 40 banks, such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citi. Photo: R3 CEV
  • 7. Adam Back, Blockstream.
Blockstream’s co-founder Adam Back is a developer of the hashcash proof-of-work and an early form of mining used in Bitcoin. He is an active participant of discussions over the block size limit in the bitcoin network.
LinkedIn co-founder, Reid Hoffman invested $21 million in Blockstream, raising its overall investment to $76 million. Photo: Adam Back/YouTube7. Adam Back, Blockstream. Blockstream’s co-founder Adam Back is a developer of the hashcash proof-of-work and an early form of mining used in Bitcoin. He is an active participant of discussions over the block size limit in the bitcoin network. LinkedIn co-founder, Reid Hoffman invested $21 million in Blockstream, raising its overall investment to $76 million. Photo: Adam Back/YouTube
  • 8. Brian Armstrong, Coinbase.
Coinbase is one of the most popular bitcoin wallets today. It was the first regulated bitcoin exchange platform in the United States. During the four fundraising rounds, the company gained $107 in investment. Photo: Brian Armstrong/Facebook.8. Brian Armstrong, Coinbase. Coinbase is one of the most popular bitcoin wallets today. It was the first regulated bitcoin exchange platform in the United States. During the four fundraising rounds, the company gained $107 in investment. Photo: Brian Armstrong/Facebook.
  • 9. Wences Casares, Xapo
Launched in 2014, Xapo was one of the earliest digital currency wallet providers. The startup has raised $40 million from a number of Silicon Valley investors. Photo: TechCrunch/Flickr
In January, Casares joined PayPal board of directors, what is a major milestone for a bitcoin entrepreneur given the fact that digital currency options are limited at PayPal.9. Wences Casares, Xapo Launched in 2014, Xapo was one of the earliest digital currency wallet providers. The startup has raised $40 million from a number of Silicon Valley investors. Photo: TechCrunch/Flickr In January, Casares joined PayPal board of directors, what is a major milestone for a bitcoin entrepreneur given the fact that digital currency options are limited at PayPal.
  • Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, Winklevoss Capital.
Harvard graduates Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss became famous after their long lawsuit against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The twins are the owners of the bitcoin exchange Gemini that was launched in 2015. They have also created the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, the bitcoin exchange-traded fund that will be listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker COIN. Photo: Brad Boad/FlickrCameron and Tyler Winklevoss, Winklevoss Capital. Harvard graduates Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss became famous after their long lawsuit against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The twins are the owners of the bitcoin exchange Gemini that was launched in 2015. They have also created the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, the bitcoin exchange-traded fund that will be listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker COIN. Photo: Brad Boad/Flickr

Interest in blockchain, the technology underpinning bitcoin, is quickly growing among the world’s leading financial industry players.

Investors provide large sums on the development of the technology, calling it a major breakthrough that could transform the future of the financial sector. Last year, VC investment in bitcoin and blockchain startups reached almost $1 billion.

Several major banks, such as Morgan Stanley, Commerzbank, Societe Generale, HSBC and Barclays, have recently joined forces to investigate blockchain applications as part of the project launched by fintech startup, called R3.  More than 40 banks have already signed up for the initiative.

By using the technology financial companies could not only increase the speed of payments, but also significantly reduce settlement costs. Besides, it facilitates instantaneous and secure international transactions, which can now take several days to complete. Meantime, the decentralized nature of the blockchain system makes it difficult for criminals to hack it.

Still, there are a number of issues that prevent companies from adopting the technology. According to the recent PwC report, 57% of companies are unlikely to integrate the distributed ledger system due to different factors. The main challenges, cited by respondents, include IT security, regulatory issues and differences in business models.

However, executives of the most successful bitcoin and blockchain companies, as well as investors in these firms, believe that the industry will continue expanding.

Here are (check the gallery above) some of the most influential figures from both bitcoin and blockchain sectors, who are seeking to further promote the adoption of cryptocurrency and the distributed ledger technology.

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