Influencers: 30 Figures to Guide You Through the Blockchain Landscape
The blockchain movement is largely coupled with the prevalence of social media, allowing the industry’s leading figures to communicate messages to their followers and engage in discourse designed to shape the landscape. While doing your own research should always take precedence over listening to the words of others, there are many blockchain influencers worth following to help you engage in the industry’s most important discussions.
However, it is no secret that the digital currency landscape is somewhat of a modern-day ‘Wild West.’ With the barrier for entry now lower than ever for innovators and consumers, it can be hard to know where to begin and who to listen to.
Vitalik Buterin is arguably the most famous name in the digital currency industry. This young Russian-Canadian programer is credited as the co-founder of Ethereum, and is involved in just about all of the industry’s pressing topics.
Buterin uses his presence to trade thoughts and ideas with fellow developers, and is quick to engage with the community.
One thing that needs to be a major priority of the crypto community is increasing usability and security of self-sovereign authentication models.
That is, we need to work much harder to design wallets that are secure for regular users without introducing centralized keyholders.
— Vitalik "Not giving away ETH" Buterin (@VitalikButerin) April 17, 2018
Don Tapscott is one of Canada’s leading blockchain influencers. He serves as the co-founder and CEO of the Blockchain Research Institute, a Toronto-based organization dedicated to developing real-world applications for blockchain technology.
The blockchain is a highly processed product. Hacking it would be like turning a chicken nugget back into a chicken…which you shouldn't do. https://t.co/nKTEnbQ8aL
— Don Tapscott (@dtapscott) March 12, 2018
The son of Don Tapscott, Alex co-founded the Blockchain Research Institute and collaborated with Don to co-author one of the industry’s most famous books, Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World.
Like his father, the younger Tapscott uses his platform to discuss the things that make blockchain technology worth thinking about. The pair have been extremely vocal in the past about blockchain’s merit as a ‘second internet,’ praising the technology’s ability to grant intrinsic value to digital assets through the Internet of Value.
— Alexander Tapscott (@alextapscott) April 19, 2018
Brad Garlinghouse serves as Ripple’s CEO, and is currently one of the industry’s most influential figures. However, Garlinghouse often stands outside of the ‘rebellious nature’ of many digital currency advocates, instead working with existing institutions in order to improve financial services.
— Brad Garlinghouse (@bgarlinghouse) April 12, 2018
Gavin Andresen was one of Bitcoin’s early developers and was extremely foundational in its early days of development. Now, Andresen continues to remain highly influential in the digital currency landscape, despite no longer working as one of Bitcoin’s core developers.
I’m surprised the IRS tax return databases haven’t been hacked/leaked yet. Maybe a hidden benefit of using ancient, outdated tech?
— Gavin Andresen (@gavinandresen) April 2, 2018
— JUNΞ (@JUN_Omise) April 21, 2018
Charlie Lee started Litecoin as a fork of the Bitcoin Core client in 2011. Litecoin has since amassed one of the industry’s largest market caps, and has its own approach to scaling.
On Twitter, Lee uses his large platform to freely speak his mind on topics relating to digital currencies, and often support similar projects and movements within the space.
This is why I was so against the DAO hardfork. I'm confident that there will never be any bailouts in Bitcoin or Litecoin. https://t.co/zifNtNrukV
— Charlie Lee [LTC⚡] (@SatoshiLite) April 17, 2018
Nicholas Cary is the CEO of Blockchain.info. In 2014 he led the biggest round of venture capital financing in the digital currency sector at the time, raising $30.5 million USD (nearly $40 million CAD). In 2017, he raised a further $40 million USD (around $52 million CAD) in another wave of financing.
— Nicolas Cary (@niccary) April 20, 2018
Joseph Lubin is a significant figure in Canada’s blockchain movement. Lubin is famous for his work as an Ethereum co-founder and for helping to establish the Ethereum Foundation in Toronto.
Now, Lubin’s primary focus is with ConsenSys, project which aims to build a decentralized Web 3.0 on the Ethereum platform.
— RobTG4 (@RobTG4) April 19, 2018
No, we do only ad/tracker/fingerprinting blocking unless the user opts into BAT ads, which are low frequency and high quality in private tabs – at user discretion, ecommerce channels per brand. Netzero was not bad per se, but we require consent for ads & pay users 70% who opt in.
— BrendanEich (@BrendanEich) April 20, 2018
Originally, Szabo wanted to create the world’s first decentralized digital currency with his idea for “Bit Gold.” Bit Gold was never formally released but is believed to be the direct predecessor to Bitcoin.
Today, Szabo’s work as a cryptographer and as an active blockchain expert attract many to follow him on social media.
Bitcoin is the most secure financial network on the planet. But its centralized peripheral companies are among the most insecure. pic.twitter.com/0rxLtXscNJ
— Nick Szabo⚡️ (@NickSzabo4) June 18, 2017
Aside from his work as a co-founder of Ethereum, Diiorio is the CEO and founder of Jaxx, a digital currency wallet that allows users to store their digital assets on their computer or mobile device.
Jaxx is the child of another of Diiorio’s projects, Decentral, of which he is also the founder and CEO. Decentral is a Toronto-based project which aims to be a hub for blockchain innovation.
— Anthony Diiorio (@diiorioanthony) February 26, 2018
Chris Burniske is a partner with the venture capital firm, Placeholder. He’s also the co-author of Cryptoassets and formerly led ARK Invest’s cryptoassets initiative.
On Twitter, Burniske currently has almost 100,000 followers, and uses a lot of his time on the platform engaging in discussions related to the digital currency industry.
2/ #Cryptoeconomies can be studied through the lens of technology (think S-curves), and also, as the economy of a nation-state specializing in a select number of goods & services, with its own constitution, monetary policy, constituents, etc.
— Chris Burniske (@cburniske) April 22, 2018
Adam Back is the inventor of Hashcash, a proof-of-work system used in many anti-spam measures. Back is a cryptographer and self-professed ‘cypherpunk’. On Twitter, he is often vocal about his digital currency advocacy and promotes others in the space.
That's the point of Bitcoin: be your own bank, receive your own payments so there is no intermediary to say "no". A hosted account is just a Bitcoin denominated bank account with mid term the same problems as PayPal and banks. https://t.co/scZTAgWnIZ
— Adam Back (@adam3us) April 21, 2018
Andreas Antonopoulos calls himself the “open blockchain expert,” and is one of the most prevalent blockchain figures on Twitter. You can find Antonopoulos at the heart of most discussions on the platform, and he is rarely silent when it comes to discussing his views on emerging technology.
While I'm disappointed with Coinbase shutting access to Wikileaks, I'm not hating them or proposing any boycott.
Coinbase is the most bitcoin-friendly bank there is. Once you accept that they are a bank, it becomes easier to understand. If you need to use a bank, they're it.
— Andreas M. Antonopoulos (@aantonop) April 21, 2018
Adam Ludwin is the CEO of Chain, a technology company that says its mission is to create a “smarter and more connected economy.” Across his accounts, Ludwin is a good source for blockchain discussion, as he rarely shys away from engaging in long-winded Twitter rants.
Amazing work coming out of Chain's cryptography team. Our Bulletproofs implementation can verify a 64-bit range proof in only 1.15ms 🚄 https://t.co/jHb4RBqDh0
— Adam Ludwin (@adamludwin) April 13, 2018
Naval Ravikant is the CEO & Founder of AngelList, a site which aims to ‘democratize’ the investment process.
Ravikant has one of the largest followings in the blockchain space, and is often cited as one of the industry’s brightest thinkers. Aside from his personal account, individuals can also follow his curated feed of blockchain proponents.
Most coins wouldn’t exist if Bitcoin and Ethereum had incentives for future development built into the core protocol.
— Naval (@naval) April 14, 2018
Max Keiser hosts the Keiser Report, a show which he claims has the world’s largest global cryptocurrency audience. Keiser is a digital currency advocate and a prominent source of discussion within the industry.
Govts are failing trying to ban anything encrypted. We are witnessing the end of the nation-state era.
— Max Keiser (@maxkeiser) April 22, 2018
Adryenn Ashley is a blockchain innovator who often discusses the landscape and promotes her projects to her sizeable Twitter audience. Ashley is not only an advocate of blockchain’s potential to disrupt the tech world, but also its potential to help the international community.
This is why I’m so excited about blockchain. https://t.co/DJNjJpt7jE
— Adryenn Ashley (@adryenn) April 22, 2018
Vinny Lingham’s tweets come with a disclaimer warning his audience that he is often tweeting sarcastically. In reality, Lingham is an emerging technology and digital currency advocate that serves as the CEO of Civic, a project which aims to build a global ID platform using blockchain.
How long until a public company appoints a Chief Blockchain Officer?
— Vinny Lingham (@VinnyLingham) April 20, 2018
Stacy Herbert works on the Keiser Report with her husband Max, and is a television presenter that turned her primary attention to digital currencies over the last few years. Herbert’s large following makes her a significant commentator in the industry.
When grandpa starts talking about stuff he doesn't actually understand. 🙄😂😂🙄😂🙄 https://t.co/6BoribjeCf
— Stacy Herbert (@stacyherbert) April 19, 2018
Jimmy Song is a self-professed bitcoin developer and entrepreneur. With over 100,000 followers on Twitter, Song uses his platform to promote blockchain education for both tech enthusiasts and members of the general public.
Sad that a journey of a thousand miles these days starts with a white paper, marketing, multiple "advisors" and $100 million.
— Jimmy Song (송재준) (@jimmysong) April 20, 2018
Sebastien Meunier is a highly-active blockchain and financial technology enthusiast. On his Twitter, interested parties can find a wealth of resources that Meunier promotes. This includes everything from articles about the fintech industry, to statistics that serve to illustrate how blockchain is changing the world of finance.
— Sebastien Meunier (@sbmeunier) April 22, 2018
Vlad Zamfir is most famous for his work as the founder of Casper, a scaling solution designed to allow digital currencies like Ethereum to handle their surge in popularity without facing longer transaction times or higher transaction fees.
Despite serving as a prominent Ethereum developer, Zamfir is quick to criticize the Ethereum platform when necessary, hoping to promote discussions about the industry’s ability to sustain itself moving forward.
It's a volatile financial asset, for sure, but I'm actually 100% sure that coin holders do not own the Bitcoin or Ethereum blockchain
Maybe they own Tezos, Dfinity, Cosmos and Polkadot, tho. Not totally clear, but coin voting based on-chain governance seems a bit like ownership
— Vlad Zamfir (@VladZamfir) March 22, 2018
Tuur Demeester is an economist and investor who focuses on Bitcoin. Further, Demesteer is somewhat of a prominent blockchain thought leader on Twitter, engaging in various discussions of both practical and philosophical nature.
I just published “Critique of Buterin’s ‘A Proof of Stake Design Philosophy’” https://t.co/nzBlPFpOfJ
— Tuur Demeester (@TuurDemeester) July 12, 2017
Tim Draper is a venture capital investor that founded DFJ Venture Capital, as well as Draper Associates. Draper is not only a financial backer of blockchain projects, he is a vocal supporter of blockchain technology, speaking at-length about its potential for mass adoption.
Happy to be investors in Ledger…. https://t.co/tRJZejSU7m
— Tim Draper (@TimDraper) January 18, 2018
Fred Wilson is a venture capitalist who serves as the founder of Union Square Ventures, a firm which recently backed CryptoKitties in its $12 million dollar wave of recent funding.
Elaborating on the investment decision of his firm, Wilson called digital collectibles a concept previously impossible prior to blockchain. Wilson is vocal in his belief that providing value to digital assets will serve as one of the industry’s mainstream use cases.
"We think digital collectibles, and all of the games they enable, will be one of the, if not the first, big consumer use cases for blockchain technologies." https://t.co/aEEA5iLLXt
— Fred Wilson (@fredwilson) March 20, 2018
Barry Silbert is the founder and CEO of the Digital Currency Group, a venture capital company that focuses on the digital currency industry. DCG remains an active investor in the digital currency industry with over 50 prominent industry investments to-date.
This would be catastrophic https://t.co/GoCgMwbuIR
— Barry Silbert (@barrysilbert) April 19, 2018
Gavin Wood is the founder and CTO of Parity Technologies. Further, Wood is credited as an Ethereum co-founder and contributed largely to the technical blueprint that outlined Ethereum and its virtual machine. His Twitter is focused on “all things Web 3.0.”
Presented substrate at @eventhorizonx – Substrate is a technology stack with which you can build blockchains. It is the technology that we are using to build Polkadot, but anyone that would like to experiment with blockchain, can get their project up and running with it. pic.twitter.com/vK7EjgZZds
— Gav “No Giveaways” Wood (@gavofyork) April 19, 2018
Hoskinson served as an Ethereum co-founder before leaving the project following an internal dispute in June 2014. He later founded IOHK, a company that builds blockchains and digital currencies on behalf of other entities. In 2017, Hoskinson led IOHK to release the digital currency Cardano.
Just landed in Toronto. Very excited to meet with the community here https://t.co/Ja4oBTleTO
— Charles Hoskinson (@IOHK_Charles) April 20, 2018
Hundreds of pioneers lead the industry forward
While the figures on this list hold various significant achievements and lead their followers to engage in important digital currency discussions, this list barely scratches the surface of all the blockchain influencers working to build up the space.
Hundreds of ordinary developers, investors, and pioneers are driving the digital currency industry as the decentralization movement continues forward. The rapidly evolving landscape is constantly accommodating new pioneers looking to promote discussion and leave their mark on the world as it exists today.
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