Prior to the work of developers and industry pioneers, the idea of digital currencies as a multi-billion dollar industry seemed like a fairytale. Thanks to the work of some of the industry’s most influential people – and their supporters – the digital currency industry now boasts a market cap worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

As a result, it increasingly clear that digital currencies represent a significant new asset class. While its future is not yet certain, the industry’s brightest figures are adamant on using their platforms to promote the potential impact that digital currencies could have on the global economy.

Vitalik Buterin 

Vitalik Buterin is one of the most famous names in the digital currency industry due to his work as an Ethereum co-founder and current champion.

Last year, Buterin earned his place on Forbes’ list of the most influential 30 industry experts under 30 years old, and the 24 year old Russian-Canadian programmer has no intention of letting his influence go to waste.

On Twitter, Buterin informs his followers about everything from current issues that industry developers face, to making it clear that he has no intention of giving you free Ethereum.

Currently, Buterin is one of many working on solving the scaling issues that Ethereum – and most large digital currencies – currently face. Recently, Buterin spoke about his work with Plasma Cash, which hopes to serve as a scaling solution to bring down Ethereum’s transaction costs, and allow the platform to handle transactions in a quicker time frame.

Brad Garlinghouse

Brad Garlinghouse continues to serve as a divisive figure in the digital currency world due to Ripple’s differing opinion on what defines a digital currency. Garlinghouse serves as Ripple’s CEO, and the payments platform does not necessarily align with the rebellious nature of digital currencies like Bitcoin due to its cooperation with banks.

Further, Garlinghouse does not consider XRP and other digital currencies to be currencies, stating: “I don’t call this cryptocurrency. It’s not currency.” Garlinghouse instead views XRP as an asset tied to its function as a solution for issues in the real world.

Regardless, XRP boasts one of the largest market caps in the industry, and Garlignhouse’s success in the business world ensures that his reach is huge. He frequently features on news programs to promote and explain the Ripple platform, and is consistently vocal about his opinions on social media.

Gavin Andresen

Gavin Andresen was one of Bitcoin’s early developers, having discovered the platform in 2010. When the anonymous figure behind the invention of Bitcoin (Satoshi Nakamoto) stepped down, he handed the reigns to Andresen.

Andresen was extremely important to many of Bitcoin’s early developments. Now, he continues to remain highly influential in the digital currency landscape, despite no longer working as one of Bitcoin’s lead developers.

Adresen was also one of the founding members of the Bitcoin Foundation, which first launched in 2012 with the aim of developing Bitcoin for the purpose of global adoption. Andresen remains an advocate of Bitcoin’s broad applications and is quick to vocalize issues and problems that he identifies with the currency’s development.

Jun Hasegawa

Jun Hasegawa is the founder and CEO of Omise, an international payments gateway. OmiseGO, its subsidiary, is a project which aims to create a universal remittance platform. In doing so, OmiseGO (OMG) wants to bring banking services to those without access, and create interchangeability between assets.

OmiseGO also claims to be the first ever implementation of the Ethereum scaling solution, Plasma, developed by Lightning Network co-founder Joseph Poon and Vitalik Buterin.

In the past, Vitalik Buterin called OMG-style staking tokens his “favourite token model” and he serves as a current advisor to the project. Recently, Buterin and the Omise team joined Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a “fruitful” discussion that could have ramifications on how the country handles future regulation.

Charlie Lee

Charlie Lee, or @SatoshiLite on Twitter, started Litecoin as a fork of the Bitcoin Core client in 2011. Litecoin has since become one of the largest digital currencies in terms of market cap, and has its own approach to solving Bitcoin’s scaling issues.

Lee continues to make media appearances where he explains complicated issues in a digestible way. Further, on social media he uses his large platform to freely speak his mind and support similar projects and exciting developments within the space.

Lee recently became a financial backer of Lightning Labs, a startup which aims to further the development of the Lightning Network scaling solution. He is often the first to inform the public of breaking news, and keeps interested members of the public up-to-date on current developments regarding both Litecoin and the industry as a whole.

The role that these key figures play in the past, present, and future of the digital currency landscape is not to be taken lightly. Moving forward, they continue to use their outreach to promote important discussions about the state of the industry. 

 

Image credit: TechCrunch

 

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