“Taking bitcoin in isolation… we believe bitcoin disrupts gold. We think it’s a better gold, if you look at the properties of money. And what makes gold gold? Scarcity. Bitcoin is actually fixed in supply so it’s better than scarce… it’s more portable, its fungible, it’s more durable. It sort of equals a better gold across the board,” Winklevoss told CNBC.
“So, if you look at a $100 billion market cap today, now last week it might have been more like 200, so it’s actually a buying opportunity, we think that there’s a potential appreciation of 30 to 40 times, because you look at the gold market today, it’s a $7-trillion market. And so a lot of people are starting to see that, they recognize the store of value properties. So, we think regardless of the price moves in the last few weeks, it’s still a very under-appreciated asset,” he said.
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As of Thursday, bitcoin’s market capitalization was almost $150 billion. So, according to Cameron Winklevoss’s forecast, bitcoin’s price could someday grow from its current $8,500 to as much as $340,000 with a market cap of $6 trillion.
Cameron Winklevoss is one of the Winkelvoss twins, who are famous for their settlement with Mark Zuckerberg, who they accused of stealing their idea for Facebook. It has been reported that the twins were the world’s first bitcoin billionaires.
“You know the criticisms are just a failure of the imagination,” Tyler Winklevoss told the media. “Cryptocurrencies aren’t really important for human-to-human transactions… but when machines-to-machines trade economic value, they are going to plug into protocols like bitcoin and ethereum. They are not going to open bank accounts at JPMorgan… those were invented by bankers before the internet existed. Trying to use them as payments or money on the internet is a square peg in a round hole at best.”
The list consists of 19 people, all of whom have an estimated net worth of more than $350 million.
“Our first-ever Crypto Rich list provides a snapshot of a pivotal moment, part of the transparency needed to pull crypto away from its provenance as an unknown currency,” Forbes Media Chief Content Officer Randall Lane said.
According to Forbes, former Goldman Sachs executive Joseph Lubin, who funded blockchain platform Ethereum, is the second-richest crypto man. He’s worth an estimated $1 to $5 billion.
The CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Changpeng Zhao, who’s known as CZ, came in third. He created Binance, which is the world’s largest crypto exchange, in less than seven months. While building up six million users, CZ has moved his operations to three different countries to stay ahead of regulations that might jeopardize business. His estimated crypto net worth is $1.1 to $2 billion.
Fourth place went to Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who are worth anywhere from $900 million to $1.1 billion and are known, among other things, for buying into bitcoin back in 2012.
The 24-year-old creator of blockchain platform Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, who’s worth between $400 and $500 million, also made the list.
Forbes did not include bitcoin’s mysterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto on the list. Nakamoto is believed to hold nearly 1 million bitcoins, although he’s never spent a single one of them, according to media reports. He is reportedly sitting on a fortune of $17 billion.
The identity of Nakamoto, a pseudonym for the author of the research paper that conceived bitcoin about nine years ago, remains a mystery. The name appears on the original document which proposed a peer-to-peer electronic cash system, although to date, no one knows who he is.
“It’s a near certainty that we’ve missed some people and that some of our estimates are wide of the mark,” Forbes said in a disclaimer above its list, which, according to the magazine, shines a light on the “invisible rich” and that “fortunes of this magnitude should never be allowed to lurk in the shadows.”
Forbes said that given the opacity and hyper volatility of cryptocurrencies, it presented the net worth estimates in ranges. The numbers are based on estimated holdings of cryptocurrencies, with some providing proof, post-tax profits from trading crypto-assets, and stakes in crypto-related businesses.
There are currently around 1,500 crypto-assets in existence, valued at an aggregate of $550 billion, up 31 times since the beginning of 2017.