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5 People Who Made Millions off Bitcoin

January 29th, 2021Joey PrebysJoey Prebys

When Bitcoin is having a slow growth period, it is nice to remind ourselves of its success stories. After all, the cryptocurrency has increased its value by 260% in the past year. If you look at Bitcoin's lifetime gains, the increase in value is so large that it is sometimes hard to fathom. 

Bitcoin was invented as a way to provide financial freedom for all, not just wealthy elites. It levels the playing field and makes money more equitable through decentralization. With Bitcoin, anyone has the potential to make millions of dollars. Many have lifted themselves out of the middle and lower classes simply by buying or being given bitcoin at the right time.

How many bitcoins does it take to be a millionaire?

Since its inception in 2009, Bitcoin has made many millionaires. In fact, there are 76,326 wallets with more than one million dollars worth of BTC in the world, according to data from BitInfoCharts

Currently, the value of one BTC is sitting around $32,000. Meaning, that to be a bitcoin millionaire, you must have around 30 BTC in your wallet. 

Who are the Bitcoin millionaires of the world? The majority of BTC millionaires have not shared their identity with the public - which makes sense. But, there are a few who have. Today we are looking at five (okay, six) individuals who have made millions of dollars from BTC. 

Who are Bitcoin Millionaires?

Let's start with perhaps the most famous Bitcoin millionaires; the Winklevoss Twins. If you have seen the Social Network, the 2010 biographical drama about Facebook, you've heard of the Winklevoss twins; Cameron and Tyler. They are known for their lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg as they claim that he stole their idea when he created Facebook. That lawsuit ended in a $65 million settlement.

In 2012, the Winklevoss twins used that settlement money to heavily invest in Bitcoin when the crypto was valued at $8 per coin. Rumor has it that they own 1% of bitcoin in circulation. If that is true, then their bitcoin wallet is worth more than $5.95 billion today. 

In the crypto space, the twins are also known for building the crypto exchange Gemini, the first regulated exchange for cryptocurrency. Their careers have focused on making cryptocurrency more accessible and creating an inviting ecosystem for institutional investors.

Erik Finman is the self-proclaimed youngest Bitcoin millionaire. In 2011, when he was just 12 years old, he was given $1,000 by his grandmother, which he used entirely to buy BTC. In 2017, Finnman became a millionaire at the age of 18. Today, it is reported that he has more than 431 bitcoins, valued at more than $13.7 million. 

Finman, who dropped out of high school when he was 15, became an investor in Metal, a Silicon Valley crypto startup with its own coin (MTL) and accompanying crypto-wallet. 

Alan Glanse first bought Bitcoin while he was working on Wall Street. In 2012, a colleague of his that desperately needed money sold him 100 BTC. After that, he forgot about his coins until bitcoin's massive price increases in 2017. After Bitcoin's second halving event, which occurred that year, he became an instant millionaire. Today, 100 BTC is worth $3.2 million. 

Glanse is now the CEO of JuicyFields, a cannabis company based in Berlin that connects investors with medicinal cannabis companies in need of financing. 

John Ratcliff, a video game developer from Colorado, first received bitcoin in 2012. At the time, one BTC was worth $13. When he looked again in 2013, he found that it had increased to $72. After cashing out his original Bitcoin to take his wife to dinner, he bought 150 more coins for $15,000.

Now, those coins are worth $4.8 million. Ratcliff recently used 6 of those coins to buy a new Tesla Roadster and is overseeing the construction of a new $1.4 million dream house. Ratcliff has been generous with his riches; purchasing a home for his nephew, paying off his children's student loans, and setting aside some crypto money for charity. 

You may have seen the recent headlines about the guy who can't remember the password to the hard drive that stores 7,002 BTC, worth more than $224 million. That guy is Stefan Thomas, a German-born programmer living in San Francisco. 

In 2011, Thomas was given 7,002 bitcoins for making a video explaining how Bitcoin works. Around the same time, he lost the digital keys to his wallet. After trying eight of his usual password combinations, Thomas has only two more tries before the harddrive, called IronKey, wipes clean. He has been racking his brain trying to figure out how to re-access the hard drive, even requesting the public's help. 

However, it is not a sad ending for Mr. Thomas. He has additional BTC stored in a wallet he remembers the password for and has "more riches than he knows what to do with."

Stefan Thomas's story shows how important it is to be very careful with your crypto wallet. To learn some best practices, check out our article on Crypto Wallets and our Beginners Guide to Buying Bitcoin

Will you be the next Bitcoin millionaire?

While not everyone will become a Bitcoin millionaire, cryptocurrency does eliminate some of the barriers to entry to participating in financial markets. People like the Winklevoss twins began with millions of dollars to invest. But, stories like that of Erik Finman and John Ratcliff prove that getting rich off Bitcoin is just a matter of right timing.

Even though bitcoin's growth has slowed down in recent weeks, many investors are still confident that its value will continue to increase in the long run. Some estimations expect the coin to hit $50k in the next three to five years, while others see its value soaring as high as $400,000 per coin.

Only time will tell who the next class of Bitcoin millionaires will be. If you're looking to add some BTC to your wallet in hopes that it could be you - you can do so easily, safely, and fast at your closest CoinFlip ATM.

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