7 Most Influential People in Crypto

These individuals are some of the most influential in crypto, and their words carry a lot of weight. If something is developing in the industry pipeline, these are the pipers to tell you about it.

A person playing a flute next to flying crypto coins with portraits of different people on.

Traditionally, on the 11th day of Christmas, there would be 11 pipers piping, but we at DailyCoin have never really been fans of flutes and other reed instruments. Instead, we would prefer to look at seven “pipers” of the crypto industry. These individuals are some of the most influential in crypto, and their words carry a lot of weight.

If something is developing in the industry pipeline, these are the pipers to tell you about it (see what we did there?).

1. Vitalik Buterin

Vitalik Buterin

As the Co-Founder of Ethereum, there’s only one person more important than Vitalik Buterin when it comes to crypto, and that person is Nakamoto Satoshi. However, unlike Satoshi, Buterin has decided to stay in the limelight and influence the growth of Web 3.0. 

Buterin’s Ethereum was a massive success that opened another route in the blockchain innovation roadmap and led to countless use cases for the blockchain, from its use as a currency system to a whole new ecosystem with thousands of moving parts. 

Sometimes referred to as the crypto “Philosopher King after countless seminars, blogs, and tweets, Buterin has helped shape the future of crypto by offering his knowledge on diverse topics. 

To name a few, Buterin has spoken about the dangers of wrapped tokens and NFTs and has spoken about DAOs and DACs as well. He also gave his opinion on the FTX fiasco. 

All in all, Buterin is an important resource for crypto, and his ability to single-handedly come up with profound blockchain principles is almost second to none. 

While Buterin has always been wary of being referred to as crypto’s “Philosopher King,” he has taken steps to be more involved in the future of crypto. In a Time interview earlier in 2022, Buterin argued that he would make moves to be less neutral about the future of crypto.

His reasoning was simple; it’s better to annoy a few people than to let crypto become something that stands for nothing. 

2. Changpeng “CZ” Zhao of Binance

Changpeng "CZ" Zhao

Changpeng Zhao, popularly known as CZ, is one of the most popular names in crypto—and for a good reason. CZ is the CEO of Binance, now the undisputed largest crypto exchange in the world. 

As the CEO of Binance, CZ has a lot of influence on what happens in crypto. People pay a lot of attention to what he says. And that was demonstrated the best when he influenced a bank run on FTX via a tweet thread.

While he claims to have meant no harm by the thread, it was ultimately the straw that broke the camel’s back for the house of cards that was FTX.

His thread was so influential that even Sam Bankman-Fried has alluded to the pivotal role that CZ played in revealing the FTX scam.

Aside from having opinions and ideas that move the crypto market extraordinarily, CZ, through Binance, has also built very influential products. The Binance suite of products has made trading easier for crypto investors and has drastically lowered the technical barrier of getting newbies into crypto or onboarding non-crypto natives.

3. Michael Saylor

Michael Saylor

Outside of CZ and Vitalik, Michael Saylor can be considered one of the most sizable influences in cryptocurrency. 

Michael Saylor was the CEO of MicroStrategy, a data analytics and tech company. In 2020, through MicroStrategy, Saylor decided to utilize part of the firm’s profits to bulk purchase Bitcoin since the company has continued to purchase Bitcoin as an investment strategy. As of September 2022, the company held more than 130,000 Bitcoins, while Saylor himself had 17,000. 

Saylor is a high-profile Bitcoin maximalist, and his actions have brought significant institutional attention to crypto. Through MicroStrategy, Saylor has also paved the way for Bitcoin purchases to be seen as a core business model. 

However, it hasn’t been all rosy for him. The winter bear market saw Saylor lose ⅔ of his Bitcoin value. The turbulent period resulted in his resignation as CEO of MicroStrategy; however, he retained his seat as Executive Chairman of the company. 

Despite this, Saylor still believes in Bitcoin and has doubled his commitment.

4. Gavin Woods

Gavin Woods

Gavin Woods was one of the founders of Ethereum alongside Buterin but has since gone on to found an Ethereum competitor.

Many people are listed as co-founders of Ethereum, so it’s often difficult to understand their role in the chain’s founding. However, Wood’s role is as clear as day. Alongside Vitalik, he played a huge part in writing Ethereum’s code and eventually became the Chief Technical Officer of the Ethereum Foundation. 

Woods was vital in the development of solidity—a programming language used for writing smart contracts. After doing that, he went on to find PolkaDot, a network that allows other users to create blockchains that can talk to other ledgers.

5. Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Elon Musk doesn’t work in the crypto ecosystem per se, and he has certainly never built a Web 3.0 product; however, he has still been extremely influential in the crypto space.

While, for the most part, Musk has stopped actively influencing crypto trends, his actions over the last 18 months have shown just how impactful the influence of a popular figure can be. In mid-2021, the Tesla CEO started posting about Dogecoin, drawing massive attention to the meme coin that had largely been created as a joke.

Within days, the value of Dogecoin began to rise, and before long, it found itself on the list of the best-performing assets of the year.

However, Musk’s influence went beyond just Dogecoin. He also influenced the entire crypto market as well. When he added “Bitcoin” to his Twitter bio, prices rose by around 20%, and then by a further 16% when it was revealed that his company, Tesla, had bought $1.5 billion worth of cryptocurrency and even intended to accept the leading asset as a payment method. 

6. Anatoly Yakovenko

Anatoly Yakovenko

Anatoly Yakovenko is the brain behind Proof-of-History (PoH), the consensus mechanism that runs the Solana blockchain. 

Yakovenko originally never wanted to build a blockchain. Instead, he wanted to build deep learning hardware and mine digital tokens to fund its development. But one day, Yakovenko stumbled upon using time as a consensus mechanism, which gave rise to Solana. 

After battling with the idea for a while, Yakovenko eventually built Solana and used the Proof-of-History (PoH) mechanism to build a much faster chain than Bitcoin and Ethereum. 

As co-founder of Solana Labs, Yakovenko has a tremendous influence on the crypto ecosystem. The Solana chain works a lot like Ethereum, and hundreds of dApps now live on it.

7. Nayib Bukele

Nayib Bukele

Like Elon Musk, Nayib Bukele is neither a CEO nor a developer on the blockchain. However, his actions have proven extraordinarily important to the crypto ecosystem. 

Many crypto assumptions are based on the idea that the crypto ecosystem can build a fairer society. Nayib Bukele is taking that assumption to task by literally creating a crypto state. 

Bukele is the president of El Salvador, and as president, he made Bitcoin a legal tender in the state in 2021. Asides from making Bitcoin legal tender, he’s also used state funds to purchase thousands of Bitcoins. Although the country has lost over $50 million since its mass purchase of Bitcoin, Bukele hasn’t relented in his Bitcoin philosophy. He’s continued to post about, talk about, and even purchase Bitcoin regardless

On the Flipside

  • If this article had been written earlier in the year, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) might have made it. That shows that lists like this aren’t an affirmation of the integrity of the actors in the blockchain industry but are rather a measure of their present influence.

Why You Should Care

These seven people know the crypto ecosystem and have routinely put their money where their mouths are. If you’re looking to keep up with recent trends and events in the market, these are the folks to keep an eye on.

Read more of our holiday feature series:
12 Days of Cryptomas

Find the previous iteration in the series here:
2022 Crypto Recap – Top 10 Cryptocurrencies

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Author
Victor Fabusola

Victor Fabusola is a Blockchain & Crypto Content Writer. He excels in crafting long-form educational guides, opinion pieces, and reviews in niches such as DeFi, NFTs, and Web 3.0. Outside of his work at DailyCoin, he loves conscious hip-hop and classical music and engaging in intellectually stimulating conversations with his friends.