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The Top 30 Cryptocurrency Innovators

These are the top 30 people pioneering the next wave of cryptocurrency innovation.*

This list is a compilation of the past, present, and future pioneers at the fore of cryptocurrency innovation.

*Satashi Nakamoto is not on list because his existence cannot be proven.

1. J.R. Willet, the father of ICO, Mastercoin
2. Juan Benet, Protocol Labs, .IPFS, .ENS
3. Gavin Wood, Ethereum Foundation
4. Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum Foundation
5. Jun Hasgawa, Omise
6. Nader Al-Naji, BaseCoin
7. Josh Chen, BaseCoin
8. Lawerence Dio, BaseCoin
9. Naval Ravikant, Metastable, Angelist
10. Joey Krug, Augur, Pantera
11. Gil Penchina, Pryze
12. Patrick Dai, Qtum Foundation
13. Josh Seims, Metastable
14. Lucas Ryan, Metastable
15. Emma Channing, The Argon Group
16. Chamath Palihapitiya, Early Bitcoin investor
17. Mike Jones, Science Inc.
18. Laura Shin, Forbes Crypto writer
19. Tim Draper, legendary Bitcoin investor
20. Brian Armstrong, Coinbase
21. Alex Dahan, Crypto Hedgefund
22. Crystal Rose, Sense Token
23. Brian Kelly, Bitcoin author, CNBC contributor
24. Emmie Chang, Y Combinator Alum, Superbloom Network
25. Amanda Gutterman, Consensys
26. Timothy Ruff, Blockchain innovator
27. Jason Goldberg, Simple Token
28. Kat Kuzmeskas, Health Nexus
29. Mike Novogratz, Galaxy Investment Partners (crypto hedge fund)
30. Janine Yorio, Stayawhile (crypto real estate)

Honorable Mentions

Brock Pierce, Blockchain Capital

Andrew Yang, Authenticiti

Patrick Byrne,

A little more about the top five:

J.R. Willet

Before the the term ICO became popular the very first crowdsale quietly took place in the crypto community. The Mastercoin project officially launched in July of 2013, and it was a little known month-long fundraiser in which anyone could buy Mastercoins – the digital tokens that the protocol uses to conduct transactions – by sending bitcoins to a special “Exodus Address” .

Legend has it that a Foundation was formed to handle the funds and 500 participants sent a total of about 5000 Bitcoins to the address.

Juan Benet

The founder of Protocol Labs, a Y-Combinator and top-tier venture backed company. He is also a founder of the IPFS decentralized internet and a founding member of the .ENS. Recently, his company Filecoin completed one of the most successful crowdsales in history with on Coinlist.

Gavin wood

Parity founder and CTO, co-designer of the ethereum protocol, designer of solidity and chief architect of the Polkadot project.

Vitalik Buterin

Legendary co-founder of the Ethereum Foundation, blockchain expert and advisor to top projects building dApps on the Ethereum platform.

Jun Hasgawa

Founder of Omise a payment management platform connecting millions of customers to businesses across the world.

No discussion of crypto innovation would be complete without a mention of Satoshi Nakamoto.

Satoshi Nakamoto

This man, myth, and legend is the founder of all things crypto.  It began when he published a nine-page white paper about a peer-to-peer electronic cash system in October 2008. Nakamoto created a website with the domain name and continued to collaborate with other developers (via open source network) on the bitcoin software until mid-2010. Legend has it that Nakamoto made all modifications to the source code himself.

In conclusion no one knows where the future of this game-changing and disruptive technology will lead.

These crypto-pioneers are sure to play a vital role in the future of technology!

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute investment advice or a recommendation to participate in any crowd sales or initial coin offerings and is for informational purposes only.

Disclosures: The author may have a relationship with some of the people on the list.

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James Sowers is a Korean-American businessman and philanthropist. He is a former singer/songwriter who was abandoned at birth who had his music career tragically ended by a reckless driver in a car accident. He is currently Co-host of Exploring The Block.