There are plenty of well-known critics of Bitcoin in the banking and business worlds.
But not everyone’s so dismissive.
The value of Bitcoin increased sharply in 2017, rising from $966 at the start of the year to a record high of around $20,000 by the end of the year.
Some major holders of the currency are no doubt cashing in on its value.
While Bitcoin allows for anonymity, not all of Bitcoin’s biggest winners choose to remain anonymous.
Certain people have publicly revealed that they’re enthusiastic users who have become very rich from buying Bitcoin.
Let’s take a look at some of those winners and their amazing stories and reveal their secret tricks…
1. Steven Smith
Steven now travels the world in luxury thanks to bitcoin.
Mr. Smith, a former software engineer, has been traveling the world in ultra-luxurious style for the past four years.
He only flies first class, stays exclusively in 5-star suites, and hasn’t cooked since Thanksgiving.
He is now a multi-millionaire and was able to retire in his early 30s.
How did he do it? He used the same technique as Erik Finman (number 17 in this list)…
2. Kristoffer Koch
Norwegian engineer Kristoffer Koch bought about $24 worth of Bitcoin on a whim, in 2009.
For years, Koch’s Bitcoins sat forgotten in his online account.
Then, in 2013, he started hearing about the increasing value of bitcoins in the media and remembered he’d bought some. One catch — he’d forgotten his password.
Luckily, after hours of concentration, it “finally came back to him.”
When he logged in to his account, he was blown away to find his investment was worth nearly $886,000.
Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in value came as a shock to Koch, who first heard about the currency while working on a master’s thesis in electrical engineering.
He sold off some at the time and held onto the rest.
Thankfully he kept most of his coins as the cryptocurrency he kept is now worth several million dollars.
3. The Winklevoss Twins
You likely know Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, who tried and failed to gain control of Facebook after alleging that it had been appropriated from them, thanks to Armie Hammer’s satirical portrayal of both siblings in The Social Network.
But the Winklevii have a second act in their enormous Bitcoin investment.
In 2013 they invested in $11 million worth of Bitcoin (which reportedly amounted to one percent of all the currency in circulation).
Their investment in cryptocurrency paid off and now looks extremely rosy, and has risen to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
At the end of 2017, the rising values of Bitcoin made the brothers billionaires.
4. Barry Silbert
Silbert was an early investor in Bitcoin.
He reportedly bought 48,000 Bitcoins in an auction held by the U.S. Marshals Service in 2014.
The government had seized much of the currency from Silk Road, an online marketplace it said was used for illegal drugs, and sold it off cheaply to the highest bidder.
Bitcoin was then worth $350 each, although Silbert reportedly picked it up at a much lower price.
Silbert’s haul has climbed massively since then.
His investment has put him well on his way to becoming a billionaire at today’s price.
5. Edward Skupien
Edward Skupien saw a friend ask about bitcoin in a Facebook post a few years ago.
He researched it and began buying a few coins per month, at prices ranging from $225 to $800, until he accumulated about 80 bitcoins.
Skupien had always wanted to buy an Audi A8L, and in 2016 he saw a slightly used model advertised for $50,000.
Since bitcoin had fallen to around $600, that was almost exactly how much bitcoin he had. He sold all his coins to finance the car.
The owner, however, refused to make any concession on price, which scorched the deal.
Skupien decided to lease a much cheaper car instead. So, what to do with the $50,000?
He decided to put it back into bitcoin, even though the price had risen to $900 by then.
At that price, he ended up with just 60 bitcoins — but that’s now worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
6. Tim Draper
Draper, a venture capitalist worth billions thanks in part to his early investment in cryptocurrency.
He made headlines for his purchase of 30,000 Bitcoins in 2014 from that same Silk Road government auction Barry Silbert made his fortune.
Then worth about $19 million, that stash is now worth hundreds of millions.
Draper is clearly feeling optimistic about the digital currency market, as he’s invested a large chunk of his wealth back into new cryptocurrencies.
7. Charlie Shrem
Shrem is an early Bitcoin adopter who is more infamous than famous.
The entrepreneur got in on the early days of Bitcoin and was a member of the Bitcoin Foundation, which was supposed to protect the use of Bitcoin but has seen several of its leaders under criminal investigation.
During his trial, the government decided to make a public example of Shrem.
Shrem himself received a two-year prison sentence for charges related to money laundering.
But he’s now back with a crypto-investment startup, and while he hasn’t disclosed exactly how much he owns in Bitcoins, he reportedly bought a few thousand back when they worth were little, and those would be worth several million now.
8. Dylan Fine
Dylan Fine is 24 years old and a recent college graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University.
He recalls being broke and homeless for 6 months after graduating college with $33,000 in debt.
“I had a Mitsubishi Eclipse. The windows didn’t work. My AC didn’t work. I had to open my door just to get food out of the drive-through,” Fine said.
But he says everything changed when a friend introduced him to Bitcoin 2 years ago.
“I would sit there and watch him play on his phone. An hour and a half would go by, he made $200. Four hours would go by, he made $700.”
Before long, Fine sold his Xbox and other belongings to invest his first $350 in the coin.
3 months later, Fine says the $350 turned into $12,000. A year later, the $12,000 turned into 6 figures, becoming a millionaire at 24 years old.
“I can put in a trade, wait a few hours, let the exchange rate fluctuate and I’m able to profit from the largest financial market in the world,” Fine said.
9. Eddy Zillan
For Eddy Zillan’s bar mitzvah in 2012, his parents gave him $5,000 to start an investment fund. They expected him to start dabbling in stocks. Instead, he began buying cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Eddy saved up another $7,000 from summers spent working at a tennis club and other jobs, adding that to his investment fund for a total $12,000 in principal.
Anybody who has been following cryptocurrencies knows where this story is going: Eddy’s $12,000 investment is now worth well over $1 million, a return exceeding 8,000% in just a few years.
“I don’t know if he’s a prodigy, but he’s close,” says Eddy’s father, Gary Zillan. Eddy, now 18, is a high school senior in Orange, Ohio, near Cleveland.
He has just launched a company that provides tutorials and insights on cryptocurrencies and now earns millions giving financial advice to investors.
“Hopefully he’ll be a multimillionaire by the time he’s my age,” says his father, who is 46.
10. Kate Stuart
Kate Stuart left school with no qualifications and had a baby at 17.
She’s now a wealthy businesswoman with ’empire’ of beauty salons, thanks to Bitcoin.
Ms. Stuart spends £1,000 a night on hotel suites for business trips and uses ‘designer wardrobe room service’ so she doesn’t have to pack.
She says she loves to spend her money on diamonds as a show of wealth.
When her husband left her alone with their three children in 2013, he left her with nothing but some “worthless” computer equipment.
In 2016 she tried to get one of the computers working again, only to discover a stash of Bitcoins that had been untouched for years.
She sold a portion of the cryptocurrency to start her own business and held on to the rest.
Her cryptocurrency holdings and her business investments have now made her a multi-millionaire.
11. Jered Kenna
Jered Kenna started to invest in cryptocurrency when the value of one Bitcoin was only 20 cents.
He started out by investing all of the money he had, and he saw the result in several years.
Mr. Kenna launched several ventures since using his Bitcoin fortune as investment funding.
He now owns a craft brewery in Colombia and 20 mission collaborative workspaces for entrepreneurs in San Francisco.
His estimated net worth now stands at around $100 million.
12. Tony Gallippi
Tony Gallippi says he is “living the dream” thanks to Bitcoin.
Gallippi is the co-founder and chairman of Bitpay, currently the leading Bitcoin processor, and is said to be among the largest holders of the currency.
He invested heavily in Bitcoin around the time he founded BitPay in early 2011.
At the time, Bitcoin cost just a few dollars each.
While he hasn’t disclosed the exact value of his cryptocurrency investments, at today’s price, it’s estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars.
13. Peter Saddington
Peter Saddington of Atlanta first read about bitcoin in 2011 and bought thousands of them for less than $3 per coin.
Peter’s investment has now made him a multi-millionaire.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” says Saddington, 35, an entrepreneur who has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and three master’s degrees.
“What solidified my confidence that this is worth investing in is that the code is based on math. It can’t really be turned off.”
In October, Saddington cashed out 45 bitcoins to buy a Lamborghini Huracán, for the equivalent of about $238,000.
Saddington deliberately sought a supercar he could purchase with bitcoin in order to tout the credibility of the currency.
“Buying the Lambo with bitcoin is proof it can be used for real transactions, buying really cool stuff,” he says. “It’s not only used by criminals.”
As for how much bitcoin he still holds, he says: “That’s for me to know and you to wonder about.”
14. Michael Jonas
Michael Jonas started mining Bitcoin when the cryptocurrency was still in its infancy.
He collected 1000s of Bitcoins using his computer to mine for coins around the clock.
When he parents saw their energy bills, Michael was grounded when they realized how much electricity his computers had been using.
Thankfully, the 21-year-old’s parents have now forgiven him since the cryptocurrency he collected have now made him a multi-millionaire.
He thanked his parents for covering the bills by paying off their mortgage and buying them a brand new Mercedes Benz.
15. Satoshi Nakamoto
Nakamoto is the unknown, shadowy figure sitting at the heart of Bitcoin.
After inventing Bitcoin with a 2008 white paper describing a software tied to digital currency, Nakamoto retreated from public life.
People aren’t even sure if that is his (or her) real name.
Theories abound as to who Nakamoto really is, but it’s clear they have a whole lot of Bitcoins at their disposal.
A cryptocurrency developer estimated in 2013 that Nakamoto had around 1 million Bitcoins.
At today’s values, it’d make Nakamoto a billionaire many times over.
A huge caveat here, though: If Nakamoto were to start selling off their entire supply of Bitcoin, it would rapidly drive down demand for the currency, and therefore the value of the holding.
One thing we know is that Nakamoto has never touched the stash of cryptocurrency, as his/her/their Bitcoin wallet is public, and can be viewed by anyone.
16. Jade Stevens
Single mom Jade Stevens says she became a multi-millionaire through Bitcoin and now lives a “celebrity” lifestyle.
She said she discovered a “trading hack” after a friend suggested trying investing in Bitcoin as a way to make money.
After struggling to find money to raise her daughter, she quickly earned thousands from cryptocurrency in 2015.
She is now worth millions after the rise in values of cryptocurrency.
Ms. Stevens says she is now able to give her daughter things they could only dream about before.
She says she is working on a book in which she will reveal her secret that can make “anyone rich from Bitcoin.”
17. Erik Finman
Teenager Erik Finman has had some luck with the cryptocurrency growing up: At age 12, Finman used a $1,000 gift from his grandmother to buy his first bitcoin and by 18, he became a millionaire.
He currently owns 401 bitcoins, which is worth millions of dollars at today’s price.
In an interview with CNBC Make It, he offers this advice to other young people looking to join the crypto-craze: Invest 10 percent of your income into the top cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin.
“I’d just put it into bitcoin,” he says. “I think bitcoin is the safest cryptocurrency right now.”
Finman has previously stated that investing in cryptocurrency is one of the fastest ways for young people to attain wealth.
“Cryptocurrency represents the largest transfer of wealth our generation has ever seen,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Never before have young people been able to change economic classes so quickly.”
18. Yifu Guo
NYU student Yifu Guo created the first Bitcoin miner.
In 2012 he founded Avalon, the first Bitcoin mining company.
The miners produced by Avalon got so popular that they were being sold as soon as they were released at a much higher price.
Soon Guo left Avalon, and many companies started to build and sell mining rigs, but effectively he was the first one to do it and was the first one to become a millionaire by building these miners.
He also made millions from the Bitcoin he mined in the early days and held onto as prices increased over the years.
Mr. Guo remains tight-lipped on the total he’s made from cryptocurrency, but it’s estimated to be around $50 million.
19. Uncle Sam
Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that Bitcoin, a software-based currency that’s supposed to be free of traditional currency restrictions, has already provided a lucrative payout for the federal government.
As previously noted, the FBI seized 144,000 Bitcoins while shutting down the Silk Road marketplace in 2013, which back then made it the owner of the biggest Bitcoin wallet (though not necessarily the entity with the most Bitcoins, as they can be spread across many wallets).
The government then auctioned off the cryptocurrency, collecting $48 million.
It could’ve made a lot more money if it had waited on the sale, but Uncle Sam is still trying to get a piece of the cryptocurrency action.
20. Roger Ver
Roger Ver is known as “Bitcoin Jesus”.
He is the wealthiest of cryptocurrency millionaires(not counting FBI and Satoshi Nakamoto).
Roger was already a millionaire when he got involved with cryptocurrency.
He makes donations to charity, and he was the first one to invest in Bitcoin Startup.
He also invested in Charlie Shrem’s BitInstant. Charlie and Roger are very close friends.
Ver is thought to own 300,000 Bitcoins which make him a multi-billionaire at today’s prices.
21. Blythe Masters
Blythe Masters previously worked in a bank before she discovered Bitcoin.
After realizing that banks feared cryptocurrencies for a reason, she started to research for her self and began investing in Bitcoin in 2013.
She quickly amassed an extremely large fortune, allowing her to quit her day job.
She has gone on to build an empire as is currently the CEO of Digital Asset Holdings.
The company builds tools that improve the speed and security of cryptocurrency trading, specifically Bitcoin.
Her company now has six offices on three continents.
Is it too late to invest in Bitcoin?
You may have read these amazing stories of how real people got rich through Bitcoin and are thinking “they just got lucky” or “I’m too late now.”
Well, you’d be wrong.
Sure, many of these people made their money by investing when Bitcoin’s value is much lower than it is now, but it has a very long way to go until it reaches its true value.
There will only ever be 21 million Bitcoins in existence, and no more will ever be made.
This limited supply makes it extremely valuable.
Some of the world’s leading money experts predict even bigger things for bitcoin, with some suggesting it will be worth $1 million per coin by 2020.
Before we look at how to get started with Bitcoin, let’s take a look at some of those Bitcoin price predictions…
Winklevoss Twins – $340,000
Bitcoin billionaires, the Winklevoss Twins, say Bitcoin hasn’t even scratched the surface yet.
Cameron Winklevoss describes the leading digital currency as “better than gold.”
“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,”
According to the Winklevoss’s forecast, Bitcoin’s price will someday grow to as much as $340,000 for a single coin.
John McAfee – $1 million
John McAfee rose to fame as the creator of McAfee Anti-Virus software which he created in the 1980s.
Since then, McAfee has become one of the major figures in the Bitcoin movement and has amassed an extremely large fortune from cryptocurrency investments.
With his background in software development, McAfee now creates tools to predict future values of Bitcoin.
In July 2017, McAfee predicted that the price for one Bitcoin will reach $500,000 by 2020.
So confident of his prediction, McAfee vowed that if he was wrong, he would eat his own penis on national TV.
Incredibly, in November, without prompting, he upgraded his prediction to $1 million by 2020.
He said that his promise to go on live TV remains intact.
Kay Van-Petersen – $100,000
Kay Van-Petersen is an analyst at Saxo Bank.
He is best known for accurately predicting all of Bitcoin’s previous highs and lows.
Van-Peterson says that Bitcoin will easily hit $100,000 by the end of this year.
He describes values of Bitcoin as “anything below $50,000 is the bargain of a lifetime.”
“We will never see values this low ever again and we have still not seen the full effect of Bitcoin,” he said in a prediction, adding:
“Those who missed out will one day look back at today’s prices and say, ‘why didn’t I invest?!'”
Thomas Lee – $125,000
Finacial advisor Thomas Lee, founder of Fundstrat Global, says he expects the price of one Bitcoin will surge to $125,000.
Lee says his firm’s best advice is, “if you want to get rich, buy Bitcoin.”
Mr. Lee says you only have to look at Bitcoin’s history to see the possible gains.
Bitcoin started at less than 1 cent each, but now they’re worth ten of thousands.
Lee says we have still yet to see Bitcoin’s biggest price surges, which he says will happen in the next couple of years.
How to invest in Bitcoin
So we’ve looked at some real people who have got rich from Bitcoin, and heard predictions from the world’s leading experts.
Now you’re probably asking, “how can I invest in Bitcoin?”
You’re not alone.
Bitcoin mania doesn’t seem to be waning.
People are even mortgaging their homes to pour money into the cryptocurrency.
Perhaps you too want to invest in Bitcoin—but you’re not really sure how.
Let’s take a look at where to get started with a simple guide (it’s much easier than you think)…
What Is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that can be bought, sold, or traded like a commodity. It can also be used to buy goods—pizza, cars, beer, whatever you’d like.
Many people describe Bitcoin as being “digital gold.”
Bitcoin is different from U.S. dollars because it uses peer-to-peer technology to operate.
That means there is no central authority—in this example, the U.S. Treasury—to issue new money or track transactions. Those functions are built into Bitcoin itself—specifically, the so-called blockchain technology that powers Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies—which is one reason it’s such an attractive concept as it cuts out the need for a “middleman” such as a bank.
What is the blockchain, you ask? Think of it as a digital version of a public ledger, in which all transactions are recorded for everyone to see.
It serves as the primary mechanism for trust in this financial system.
The term “cryptocurrency,” by the way, applies to any digital currency that uses cryptography to make secure transactions between two people instantly anywhere in the world. Created in 2009, Bitcoin is the oldest cryptocurrency. Other cryptocurrencies have since emerged, including Ripple and Ethereum.
Bitcoins, which are also called BTC for short, are the units of currency of the Bitcoin system.
How Is Bitcoin Generated?
Bitcoins are created or generated by the network as a reward for the “mining” process.
Mining is the term for a computer’s effort to help process transactions.
People, called “miners,” use software on their computers to solve math problems of varying difficulty.
Miners are rewarded with Bitcoin in return for the power of their computer.
All of these computers around the world join forces to become one big supercomputer.
All you need to know is that every time a mathematical solution is found, a new “block” on the chain is created. Blocks cannot be removed or altered once they’ve been accepted by the network.
The Bitcoin system allows six blocks to be mined every hour. Because it gets more difficult over time, the system is expected to generate fewer Bitcoins over time. (It is structured such that, for every four years the network is in operation, half the amount of Bitcoins that were created in the previous four years are generated.)
The bitcoin supply is capped at just under 21 million coins. More than 16.7 million coins have been mined as of Dec. 30, 2017.
So How Do I Buy Bitcoins?
You can buy Bitcoins directly from other people using online marketplaces, no different than any other product or service. Alternately, you can also use a digital currency exchange or brokers such as Coinbase, Bitstamp, Kraken, and Gatehub. Coinbase is one of the biggest U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges. For a beginner, it’s best and easiest to use one of these exchanges.
You’ll also need a “wallet,” a place to store the digital currency. (You’ll need one of these no matter which exchange you might use.) The wallet stores your private key, a secret number—a long number that only you know—that gives you access to your Bitcoins. Your private key also allows you the freedom to move across marketplaces. Just because you purchased Bitcoin on a particular exchange doesn’t mean you have to stick with it; your private key ensures that you can always access your wallet, whichever marketplace you use.
There different kinds of wallets, including software and hardware wallets. Software wallets are in essence applications, or apps, that you connect with your traditional bank account. There are several to choose from: Coinbase offers a wallet, which is convenient because it is tied directly to its exchange service.
Picked your wallet and your marketplace of choice? Good. Now that you have all the ingredients ready, here’s how to complete the recipe.
Follow these steps
Step one. Create your wallet. The easiest way to do this is through a third-party like Coinbase, Exodus, MyCelium, or blockchain.info. Go to the site of the wallet provider you’ve chosen and sign up. This step requires name, email address, and password.
Step Two. If you’ve chosen a software wallet, you will be asked to download the app. Download it from the Apple app store or Google Play, depending on whether you have the iOS or Android operating system. Some wallets are designed for desktops; others are better for mobile devices.
Step Three. Visit the exchange you’ve picked out. Maybe it’s Coinbase, Poloniex, CEX.io, Kraken, Bitfinex, BitPanda, or BitStamp. Register with the exchange. Again, you’ll need your name, email address, password. Most exchanges require you to connect with your bank account to pay for your Bitcoin purchase.
Some exchanges like Coinbase offer an app that acts as an exchange and a wallet. Through the app, you can both buy and trade Bitcoins as well as store them. That’s fine, but remember that just because you use the Coinbase exchange doesn’t mean you have to use the Coinbase digital wallet. There are many other digital wallets out there. (And exchanges, for that matter.)
Step four: Go to the exchange’s “buy” section. Select the amount of bitcoin you want to buy. Given the recent high price of Bitcoin, you can buy less than one Bitcoin on these exchanges. Bitcoin can be divided up into eight decimal points. This means you can buy 0.5 Bitcoins, 0.02 Bitcoins, or even 0.00000001 Bitcoin if it suits your budget. Depending on the exchange, you can buy Bitcoins with a credit card, bank transfer, or even cash.
How Can I Learn More About Bitcoin?
There are plenty of resources that are dedicated to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
Try learning more through a high-quality specialist cryptocurrency news website such as Coin Thud.
Coin Thud has all the latest news for Bitcoin with up to the minute prices.
Coin Market Cap is also a great resource for keeping track of the ever-changing values.
It also includes historical data so you can see how much the price has changed in the last hour, or over the last few years.
Happy Bitcoin trading!