Fortune magazine’s latest ’40 under 40′ list includes four people who work in the realm of cryptocurrency.
Fortune has been publishing its ’40 under 40 since 1999. Originally it was a ranking of wealth, but in 2009 it became a list of who the magazine’s editors consider to be the most powerful and/or influential. This can include people from areas such as finance, music, politics, fashion, business, and sport.
“The Google of crypto”
35-year-old Brian Armstrong is the founder of Coinbase, which is the company behind the US’ leading cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase Pro. Its numbers have been suffering lately because of the general cryptocurrency bear market, but it still handles $65.6 million dollars in daily trading volumes according to coinmarketcap.com.
Last week it made public a filing to set up a political action committee, which is an organisation set up to make money to promote a political aim. As American authorities are still working out how to deal with cryptocurrency, it is clear what the aim of that PAC will be.
“Stanford math whizzes”
Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, aged 31 and 33 respectively, are the founders of cryptocurrency exchange Robinhood, a New York-based company that offers a mobile phone-based application for financial trading.
In February 2018 the company initiated trading in a fairly wide selection of cryptocurrencies. This option is now available in eight US states.
Its novelty is that it is commission free – customers can buy and sell cryptocurrencies without paying a fee, while the company makes money by directing traders to certain venues which pay Robinhood for the service.
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It was founded in April 2013, and as of now has millions of users. In May 2018 the company raised $363 million in funding – the Wall Street Journal valued the company at $5.6 billion,
The “skinny visionary”
Vitalik Buterin is the 24-year-old founder of Ethereum, which is a blockchain-based computing platform which anyone can use to build smart contracts. In February 2018 it began allowing customers to trade. It has a market capitalisation of $46.9 billion according to coinmarketcap.com.
In December 2017, Buterin made it onto Bloomberg’s list of 50 most influential people – a list which included the US ambassador to the United Nations, a Saudi Crown Prince, and the founder and CEO of Amazon. He was included on that list because Ethereum had at that point helped startups raise more than $3 billion.
This year Buterin has been busy with proposed upgrades to the network. Plasma Cash is a system in which every transaction creates a unique coin with a unique ID. A user that conducts a transaction would only be concerned with that one coin and would be able to trace its entire history. This would have the effect of speeding up the system because people wouldn’t need to download entire blocks.
Another one of his ideas is called sharding – he published a proof of concept in May. It describes a system where the central blockchain is fragmented, which has the effect of splitting up the workload of validation nodes.
In June, he presented an upgrade called Casper v2, which itself is an upgrade of Casper FFG. Basically, it is a combination of sharding and proof of work; most transactions take place on a side-blockchain and are validated via the old-fashioned proof of work system on the central blockchain at regular intervals.
He also published a proposal to make ICOs safer by running them with a smart contract. His idea is to control the amount of money available to the project organisers with user votes.