1. Dan Larimer
Many curious people reached out to Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009 to discuss Bitcoin after its launch. One was Dan Larimer, a young computer science graduate from the University of New York. Larimer’s many questions seemed to rattle the Bitcoin founder.
In one of their online conversations, Satoshi is quoted as saying to him, “If you don’t believe me or don’t get it, I don’t have time to try to convince you, sorry.” Today, the quote is often repeated during debates with critics who demand that someone convince them of the practical value of cryptocurrencies.
Dan Larimer has gone on to be one of the few individuals who can boast of having launched several open-source blockchain projects. His first project was BitShares, which allows users to tokenize and exchange all kinds of assets, including real-world ones. The project was launched in July 2014.
2. Charles Hoskinson
Among the co-founders of Ethereum was Charles Hoskinson, who served as the chief executive officer of the project between December 2013 and May 2014. He left in 2015 to work on other projects with his startup Input Output, which is registered as business entity in Hong Kong.
He has also served as the director of the Bitcoin Education Project, a body he founded in 2013 alongside Nikos Bentinitis and Brian Goss, to inform and educate the public about cryptocurrencies and decentralized applications.
What makes him a great person to follow is his new project Cardano, which he is building through the Input Output entity. Cardano is another blockchain designed, like Ethereum and EOS, to support smart contracts and decentralized applications.
3. Da Hongfei
In January 2014,Da Hongfei launched Onchain, which builds blockchain solutions. Through this startup, he helped build NEO, a blockchain that supports the creation, deployment and running of smart contracts and decentralized applications.
Follow Hongfei in 2018 to watch the growth in anticipation and popularity of NEO as an alternative to Ethereum and EOS. NEO native coins have seen continued growth in value and have reached a market capitalization of over US$2 billion.
4. Nicholas Merten
As cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology go mainstream, the need for content covering them grows. Several YouTubers are filling this gap, and the crypto video space is becoming competitive.
One person who has built his name on YouTube is Nicholas Merten. His channel, DataDash, covers topics ranging from market analysis, technical trends and community news. As the host, he also interviews various members of the crypto community.
Follow Merten’s detailed and wide coverage of the blockchain space. He is especially relevant to buyers and traders of cryptocurrencies who want to generate revenue.
5. Rupert Hackett
A native of Australia, Rupert Hackett attended and finished the first available master’s program for cryptocurrencies and blockchain at the University of Nicosia.
He is a board member of the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA), a body that promotes, protects and guides the adoption of cryptocurrencies. It raises awareness of the blockchain as a technology that will drive innovation in delivery of services both in government and in the private sector.
Through being a member of the ADCA, Hackett is the only Australian representative of the International Decentralized Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain (IDACB), an international nonprofit organization working to safeguard the industry from unfriendly policies, regulations and players.
Hackett is working to mainstream digital currencies by developing an exchange infrastructure. He heads BTC Corp, a company that currently serves the UK (Bitcoin.co.uk), Canada (Bitcoin.ca) and Australia (Bitcoin Canada and Blockchain.com.au).
6. Andreas Antonopoulos
Andreas Antonopoulos is one of the most visible evangelists of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. He is credited with writing Mastering Bitcoin, the first technical book on Bitcoin. He has also published Bitcoin-related The Internet of Money, which are a great source to understand cryptocurrencies beyond the basics.
Antonopoulos is also a host of the podcast Let’s Talk Bitcoin and a guest on other podcasts, livestreams and YouTube channels. He also maintains his own YouTube channel, on which he publishes portions of his speeches given at events, where he explains the fundamentals of blockchain in an accessible way.
7. Emin Gün Sirer
Emin Gün Sirer is a professor of computer science at Cornell University. He was among the first members of academia to show an interest in Bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
In 2017, he predicted the security breach of the Decentralized Anonymous Organization (DAO) on the Ethereum blockchain. During the hack, an anonymous attacker compromised a loophole in the project’s code and stole nearly US$50 million in ether.
Professor Gün Sirer offers detailed and technically sound analyses of blockchain projects. You can find them on his blog.
8. Nick Szabo
Nick Szabo is credited with coming up with the concept of smart contracts. He is also known for designing a digital currency known as BitGold, which is considered to be a direct precursor to Bitcoin. Due to his previous work in cryptography and digital currencies, he is one of the individuals suspected to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the founder of Bitcoin.
He has denied being Satoshi. However, he has joined the community as an enthusiast and evangelist of Bitcoin and other decentralized applications.
Szabo is one of the only remaining members still active in the cryptocurrency space from the original group of scientists who started work on digital currencies as early as the 1990s. He maintains a blog where he shares his knowledge and opinions about the technology.
9. Clif High
Computer expert Clif High has an interest in how the use of language can be applied to predict future events, a discipline known as predictive linguistics. In 1995, he developed web bots that scrape the internet to collect data on the use of keywords that express certain emotions.
According to him, the internet is a repository of human psychic visions of the future. By using the right tools, he believes we can decipher what may happen in the future from the data collected online through the use of keywords and the emotions attached to them. Using his web bot applications and linguistic algorithms, High has predicted events such as the 2008 housing market collapse.
Cliff has developed models for predicting cryptocurrency markets, especially the movements of digital asset prices. He releases reports in which he predicts future events every few months.
10. Jeff Berwick
Jeff Berwick is an online entrepreneur of many years, starting in the 1990s. He lost money in the dot-com bubble. He podcasts and blogs through his Dollar Vigilante platform. He is a libertarian who holds strong anti-government and anti-tax positions.
A strong evangelizer of using cryptocurrencies as an antidote to government overreach on individual rights, Berwick is the founder of Anarchapulco, an annual anarcho-capitalist conference held in Acapulco, Mexico. He is a common guest on mainstream media when Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are discussion topics.
Berwick is one of the loudest voices of the libertarian movement, which gave Bitcoin a base of core support in its early days.
11. Vitalik Buterin
Vitalik Buterin came up with the idea of Ethereum and wrote the white paper that explained it. Before Ethereum, Buterin worked as a writer for a Bitcoin news site, and during that time he studied Bitcoin and identified gaps in its structure.
He realized, however, that it was difficult to implement in Bitcoin the changes he wanted to see. He resorted to building a completely new blockchain. With the help of others, he built Ethereum and launched it as a platform that would support more applications beyond digital currency.
Ethereum is the second largest blockchain in terms of market capitalization after Bitcoin. However, it is the most used platform for launching third-party applications, tokens and initial coin offerings (ICOs).
You’ll want to follow the changes Buterin is spearheading for Ethereum. These include moving the blockchain from a proof-of-work (PoW) to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus protocol. He is also a common speaker at crypto events and conferences around the world.
12. Laura Shin
Laura Shin is a reporter for Forbes magazine and the senior editor who manages the magazine’s crypto and blockchain technology coverage.
Aside from overseeing text content published by the news site about blockchain, cryptocurrencies and decentralized applications, Shin is also the host of the podcast Unchained: Big Ideas from the Worlds of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain, where she interviews industry players and also educates the public on new trends in the space.
Shin is one of the few mainstream media journalists who holds an in-depth and unbiased understanding of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
13. Jameson Lopp
A computer science graduate from the University of North Carolina who has been an enthusiast of cryptocurrency and blockchain protocols since 2012, Jameson Lopp joined the multisignature wallet service provider BitGo in 2015 and helped design and develop its model.
Lopp left BitGo in early 2018 to join Casa as an infrastructure engineer. Casa is a startup designing and building the next generation of crypto wallets. In December 2013, Lopp founded Bitcoin SIG, a central hub of educational information with a well-curated library of Bitcoin resources.
Lopp uses platforms such as Bitcoin SIG, Satoshi.io and his 150,000-follower Twitter account to share and other resources about cryptocurrencies.
14. Aaron van Wirdum
Aaron van Wirdum is a freelance journalist who began focusing on cryptocurrencies as early as 2013. He is a graduate of Utrecht University, where he studied politics and society from a historical perspective. While in college, he also studied the influence of freedom of speech and communication technologies on social structures.
News sites to which Van Wirdum has contributed include Cointelegraph, yBitcoin and Bitcoin Magazine. He is currently the technical editor at Bitcoin Magazine and writes most of the highly technical content.
Van Wirdum is one of the few journalists who can explain low-level blockchain technological concepts with high-level accuracy.
15. Jimmy Song
Bitcoin Core developer Jimmy Song has been in the space since late 2013 and has written code for the improvement of Bitcoin. He maintains a YouTube channel where he discusses and explains technical aspects of Bitcoin and trends with other cryptocurrencies.
He also blogs on Medium where he covers similar topics.
Song is one of the few Bitcoin Core developers who explains technical aspects of cryptocurrencies in a way that people who are not developers can find accessible.