As blockchain and cryptocurrency move from obscurity to celebrity, a number of the industry’s rogue talents join the league of legends.
Several cryptocurrency figures stud Fortune’s latest 40 Under 40 list — namely Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin, and Robinhood Co-CEOs Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt.
An annual ranking of the most influential figures in business, Fortune’s 2018 list is an eclectic mix of what the American media giant would describe as “disruptors, innovators, rebels, and artists”.
Weighing in above pop icon Rihanna’s 21st place, 35-year old Armstrong at position 20 has the edge over Buterin and the Robinhood founders — in 22nd and 24th places respectively. While the Ethereum Co-Founder may have slipped in the ranks, Buterin would presumably find solace in making it onto the list for his third consecutive year.
Armstrong has presided over Coinbase since 2012 alongside co-founder Fred Ehrsam — the pair growing the San Francisco-based exchange to more than 20 million users, and expecting a revenue of more than $1 billion in 2018.
As the USA’s leading cryptocurrency brokerage, Coinbase has arguably been instrumental in garnering mass adoption of the asset class. Earlier in January 2018, the exchange was one of five to gain authorization to operate in the State of New York and has more recently gained approval to list security tokens.
In celebration of what invariably represents mass recognition of the cryptocurrency industry, Boost VC founder Adam Draper tweeted:
#21 is @rihanna!
— Adam Draper ? ? ? (@AdamDraper) July 19, 2018
While a remarkable milestone, Fortune’s selection may highlight the American-centric lens through which the world views cryptocurrency. As many await with bated breath the outcome of the SEC’s Bitcoin ETF ruling, one might find the USA’s sway over a supposedly-decentralized economy to be a little ironic.