14 Most Successful Bitcoin Miners, How They Did It and What They Earned
Bitcoin mining is not a newcomers game. The first people to get into mining had to use their personal computers to mine the coins. Today, there are giant warehouses full of ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuits) that are purpose-built for mining and nothing else.
Some of these miners have made a fortune doing so. Here are 14 of the most successful bitcoin miners and how they did it.
- Satoshi Nakamoto –
The creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, is estimated to hold around 1 million bitcoins. No one knows for sure who Nakamoto is, but what we do know is that he was the first person to mine Bitcoin. He mined the first block of Bitcoin, called the genesis block, on January 3rd, 2009. He is estimated to be sitting on around $450 million worth of Bitcoin.
He has not touched his coins in years, which causes some people to believe he is dead. Others believe that he is simply letting the coins appreciate without selling any of them. Until Satoshi comes forward, nobody will know for sure if he is still alive or how much of a fortune his early mining activities have created for him.
- Hal Finney –
In 2009, Hal Finney began mining Bitcoin. He was the first person to receive a Bitcoin transaction from Satoshi. When Satoshi disappeared, Finney took over the development of Bitcoin. Unfortunately, Finney passed away in 2014 after a long battle with ALS.
He is estimated to have mined around 100,000 bitcoins before passing away. His family made the decision to sell those coins in an effort to support ALS research. They sold them through an auction in 2014 and netted around $10 million worth of bitcoins for the cause. They donated $3 million total before closing out their wallet and ending the auction early due to overwhelming demand for the coins.
- Laszlo Hanyecz –
Laszlo Hanyecz is most famous for the first Bitcoin transaction in 2009. He made a trade for 10,000 BTC (worth about $25 at the time) for two pizzas. He made his exchange at a local Florida grocery store called The Pineapple Exchange.
The pizza was delivered through the mail, but it was still in a box and unpacked. On May 22nd, 2010, Hanyecz sold all of his 10,000 BTC to someone else who used them to help fund the creation of Bitcoin Magazine. This transaction is what set off the exchange that would lead to Bitcoin becoming an actual currency instead of simply being used as a vehicle for trading.
- Jeff Garzik –
Jeff Garzik has been a big part of Bitcoin for quite some time. He was one of the founding members of Blockstream. In 2014, he created a company called Dunvegan Space Systems that accepted Bitcoin payments for the purchase of space on rockets that were going to be launched into orbit.
Garzik is currently a member of the Board of Directors at Bitpay and the CEO and co-founder at Bloq, which is a blockchain technology company. He has also written several books on blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.
- Gavin Andresen –
Gavin Andresen was also one of the founding members of Blockstream, along with Garzik. He became the chief scientist of the Bitcoin Foundation and later became its executive director. He is currently working on a project called Bitcoin Core, which is open-source software that helps to govern the network of nodes and sync them to the network.
Andresen has been a big influence in the advancement of cryptocurrency since he first introduced BIP 16, which went on to become a core concept at the heart of how blockchains work today. He is also very involved with bitcoin development. Recently he stepped down as lead maintainer for bitcoin after leaving Blockstream for a new startup called Rootstock that he co-founded with Charles Lee.
- Peter Todd –
Peter Todd is a British-Canadian developer who is currently working on Bitcoin Core. He has been involved with bitcoin since 2012 and is one of the community’s most prolific developers. Previously, he was also a cryptocurrency consultant, but he then took on a full-time role as a developer, which was his true passion. He currently splits his time between Blockstream and the Lightning Network, which he is also working on.
Todd has been in the news recently because it was announced that he would be joining Blockstream full-time after having worked for them part-time for two years.
- Wences Casares –
Wences Casares is one of the most famous and influential figures in the crypto space. He is the founder and CEO of XAPO, which is a financial services company based out of Argentina. He was one of the main founders behind a new blockchain-based platform called Ethereum, which was created to allow for decentralized applications to be built on top of its network. The platform went live in 2015 after Casares had been helping developers create those applications for over a year before launching it himself. Since then, it has become one of the most influential platforms in the crypto space today.
Casares is also the founder of another platform called Lemon, which is a cryptocurrency pegged to the U.S. dollar that he helped to create as well in 2015. Casares has been involved with Bitcoin since very early on, and during 2013 and 2014, he was one of its biggest investors. He believes that Bitcoin has the potential to replace fiat currencies around the world, but because it is not yet stable enough, he thinks there will be a long road ahead before it can become a real currency used throughout the world. His participation in Bitcoin has made XAPO one of the most reputable companies in Argentina and helped put his country on the map for crypto investment opportunities.
- Nick Szabo –
Nick Szabo is a crypto pioneer and is credited with coining the term smart contracts. He was also one of the first people to create a digital currency known as Bitgold. It isn’t clear how much money he made from his work on Bitgold, but he is believed to have mined around $200,000 worth of bitcoins before it went online, and he has been involved with Bitcoin since its early days. There are also some who believe that he actually is Satoshi Nakamoto, but that has not been proven.
Szabo is currently working for a company called Global Financial Access LLC, where he develops financial services systems and products based on blockchains.
- Roger Ver –
Roger Ver is one of the most well-known figures in Bitcoin. He is also a co-founder of the Bitcoin Foundation but recently resigned from that position after he was banned from both the bitcoin and BTC subreddits on Reddit for engaging in political debate. Ver advocates for big blocks to be used on the bitcoin blockchain, which is why he helped create bitcoin cash. He believes we will see big blocks become the standard of Bitcoin over time, arguing that they are necessary if it wants to become a true store of value and digital currency.
Ver has also been involved with other coins via investments, such as Ripple and Ethereum, both companies where he has encouraged people to invest in their ICOs.
- John McAfee –
John McAfee has been an influential figure in cryptocurrency over the years, even though he doesn’t believe in Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies themselves. His company MGT Capital Investments has become one of the biggest holders of Bitcoin and runs a mining operation on behalf of its customers. He also recently bought another mining farm in Iceland that will be used to mine Bitcoin. In other news, he took to Twitter on Christmas Day to make fun of people who had lost their bitcoins as a result of trading them for altcoins. He also famously called bitcoin “stupid money” after it briefly plummeted because of the Mt Gox bankruptcy back in 2014.
- Andreas M. Antonopoulos –
Andreas M. Antonopolous is a well-known figure in the cryptocurrency world, and he is one of the most active figures in making sure that people understand how blockchains work. He has been involved with Bitcoin since 2011 and even wrote a book about it called “Mastering Bitcoin,” which was published by O’Reilly Media in 2014. Since then, he has started writing books on other cryptocurrencies as well, and he also writes articles on Medium, where he educates people on blockchains and what they are capable of doing.
Antonopoulos is currently the chief security officer at Blockchain, which is one of the biggest companies working in Bitcoin development. He also serves on the board of directors for Coin Center, which is an advocacy group that educates lawmakers on cryptocurrency in Washington, D.C.
- Bram Cohen –
Bram Cohen is the founder of BitTorrent, which is a peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol that was created in 2001 and went live in 2004. It was one of the first really successful BitTorrent protocols and helped to make it easier for people to share large files with each other without having to worry about slow download speeds or network congestion issues during peak hours. He sold his share of the Bittorent protocol back in 2005, so he could focus more on other projects, one of which was BitTorrent DNA.
- Alan Ellis –
Alan Ellis is a very well-known figure in the cryptocurrency space, and he is one of the original founders of the CoinLab venture capital firm. He is also known for his work with BitGo, a blockchain security services firm that he founded back in 2015. Ellis has been involved with Bitcoin since early on and helped jumpstart BitGo when it was just an idea. BitGo uses both cold and hot wallets to store clients’ funds so they are protected against hacks, and they also integrate with exchanges to make them easier to use for crypto enthusiasts.
- Erik Voorhees –
Erik Voorhees is a well-known figure in the bitcoin and cryptocurrency world, mostly for his involvement with companies such as Satoshi Dice and Coinapult. He is also one of the most outspoken people about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency today, which is why he has encountered a lot of criticism from people who don’t believe in it. He still runs several businesses that are connected to cryptocurrencies, including Coinapult, which helps to facilitate Bitcoin transactions because of its easy-to-use interface. He also founded Satoshi Dice, which is an online dice game where you can play via your bitcoin address instead of having to enter their bitcoin address into the website.