Who’s Who in Crypto: 2017

Oct 31, 2017 · 6 min read

In previous ‘Faces of Crypto’ articles, we’ve chosen to highlight under-represented voices in the cryptocurrency community to explore the diverse ways people have become involved. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the heavy hitters.

These pioneers are making huge contributions to shape the direction the digital currency and blockchain world as we speak.

Brian Kelly

From his post as a CNBC anchor, Kelly had been one of crypto’s strongest advocates. This past year, he started a crypto asset fund — BKCapital.

Richard Kastelein

Kastelein is one of the most widely-read journalists in the crypto world. He has written over 1,200 articles for his crypto news site, Blockchain News. He’s been published in Harvard Business Review, Wired, The Guardian, and Venturebeat and speaks about blockchain tech at conferences all over the world.

Niklas Nikolajsen

A Danish FinTech executive and software engineer, Nikolajsen founded Bitcoin Suisse, a Bitcoin financial services provider, in 2013. He is also the founder of the Digital Finance Compliance Association, and is considered one of the leaders of the ‘Crypto Valley’ concept based in Zug, Switzerland, which is working toward a friendly regulatory environment for digital finance.

Ian Balina

Balina previously worked in analytics at IBM and has become a leading advisor and investor and social media guru in the ICO space. He runs a crypto investor syndicate that takes a data-driven approach to investing in token sales.

Kathleen Breitman

Breitman is the Founder and COO of Tezos, a company building a self-amending cryptographic ledger that raised a record $232 million in an ICO in early 2017.

Mike Novogratz

A former hedge fund manager, Novogratz announced a plan to create a $500 million digital asset fund this September.

Chamath Palihapitiya

An early employee of Facebook, Palihapitiya has been one of the loudest voices of support for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies coming out of the mainstream Silicon Valley venture community.

Emma Channing

Channing, a graduate of Stanford Law School, is the general counsel for Argon Group, the first investment bank for the crypto industry

Joe Blackburn

From his perch as the creator of one of the industry’s largest Facebook groups, Crypto Coin Trader, Blackburn has become an influential voice on the merit of various token sales and the entire blockchain industry.

Olaf Carlson-Wee

An early employee at Coinbase, Carlson-Wee was one of the first Bitcoin evangelists, even writing his undergraduate thesis at Vassar on Bitcoin, when the currency was still in its nascency in 2011. He now heads up Polychain Capital, a blockchain asset hedge fund with over $15 million under management.

Timothy Ruff

Ruff is the founder of Evernym, the creator of Sovrin, aglobal public utility for the decentralized exchange of verifiable claims. Ruff is considered by many to be a visionary in the digital identity space.

Andy Bromberg

Bromberg, 22, is the founder and CEO of CoinList, a spin-off of AngelList which serves as an end-to-end platform for running token sales. Previously he co-founded the Stanford Bitcoin Group.

Dr. Andreas Glarner

Glarner is a partner at MME, a leading law firm for the digital assets industry based out of Zug, Switzerland. He most recently served as an advisor to blockchain startup Melonport.

Joey Krug

Krug is a Thiel Fellow and Founder of Augur, a decentralized platform for prediction markets. He is also a partner at Pantera Capital.

Brian Armstrong

As CEO of Coinbase, the blockchain industry’s first unicorn start-up, valued at $1.6 billion, Armstrong is responsible in many ways for bringing cryptocurrency to the masses through his company’s easy to use bitcoin wallet.

Laura Shin

A FinTech journalist who writes regularly for Forbes and other publications, Shin also produces ‘Unchained’ the blockchain industry’s most-downloaded podcast.

Naval Rivikant

The founder of AngelList has quietly backed crypto hedge fund MetaStable capital, which has seen returns of over 500% since 2014.

Vinny Lingham

A South African-born entrepreneur, Lingham is co-founder and CEO of Civic, the company leading the charge to build a global decentralized identity platform. He also is a prominent blogger and thought leader in the blockchain community.

Andreas Antonopoulos

An early investor in Bitcoin, over the past 7 years he has been a well-known public speaker and advocate of cryptocurrency. He has written two books and is an advisor to many crypto ventures.

Jun Hasegawa

Hasegawa is a Japanese entrepreneur who leads Omise, a startup based in Bangkok that is leading the mobile payments movement in Asia. Omise raised $25 million in an ICO earlier this year.

Gavin Wood

Co-founder and former CTO of Ethereum, Gavin Wood created much of the Solidity language that is now used to code Ethereum-backed projects and also has advised a number of high-profile ICOs and crypto-asset funds.

Juan Benet

Benet is the Founder and CEO of Protocol Labs, which has created a number of innovative web protocols including the InterPlanetary File System and Filecoin.

J.R. Willet

Willet created the fundraising mechanism that we now know as the ICO when he built Mastercoin on the Bitcoin blockchain in 2012.

Vitalik Buterin

Buterin was a mere 19 years old when he wrote the white paper for Ethereum, which became the industry’s leading protocol token. Unlike the creators of Bitcoin, Buterin remains heavily involved in the cryptocurrency world as a thought leader.

Satoshi Nakamoto

The mysterious individual or group of people who wrote the original whitepaper for Bitcoin in October 2008, this entity still holds a 5% stake in Bitcoin (worth about $6 billion today). Some worry that Bitcoin can never become fully mainstream with one entity maintaining this much control.

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Stayawhile Presents: Faces of Crypto

Over the next few weeks, Stayawhile will be interviewing…


Written by

Furnished apartments designed to inspire.

Stayawhile Presents: Faces of Crypto

Over the next few weeks, Stayawhile will be interviewing members of the cryptocurrency community to hear the revealing and fascinating stories of how they got involved, and which coming innovations they’re most excited about.


Written by

Furnished apartments designed to inspire.

Stayawhile Presents: Faces of Crypto

Over the next few weeks, Stayawhile will be interviewing members of the cryptocurrency community to hear the revealing and fascinating stories of how they got involved, and which coming innovations they’re most excited about.

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