Yesterday we named AgriDigital’s Emma Weston, Finder’s Fred Schebesta, YouTuber Naomi Brockwell, Prismatik’s Rob Morris and alleged drug trafficker Sam Karagiozis as five of the most influential Aussies in blockchain.
Today, we count down the top five, and reveal our controversial – but undeniable – choice for number one…
5. Alex Saunders
Anyone who’s had more than a fleeting brush with crypto in Australia will recognise the name ‘Nugget’s News’. That’s Alex Saunders’ YouTube channel, which has more than 42,000 subscribers. Saunders has the ability to explain complicated crypto concepts in everyday language to noobs and old hands alike and he’s a frequent presenter at blockchain events.
Saunders has been involved with Bitcoin since 2012 and left his job as a head pharmacist in 2017 to focus on crypto education and communication. When we polled our Twitter followers about which Aussie blockchain educator they found most helpful, Saunders topped the list with 65%. “He has done so much for the space in education and realisation,” said Craig Cobb (AKA Trader Cobb).
4. Dr. Jemma Green
Last year’s top pick, Green co-founded Power Ledger, one of Australia’s most successful and internationally renowned blockchain based projects. Launched in 2016 the company enables peer to peer trading of renewable electricity. It will soon launch ‘Asset Generation Events’ that allow people to invest and co-own energy projects. Power Ledger’s unique and groundbreaking application of blockchain won business magnate Sir Richard Branson’s Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) last year, after a highly competitive nine-month long judging period. The win came with millions of dollars and mentorship from companies including IBM and Amazon – but more importantly, gave the company huge cachet on the international stage.
Green is a total overachiever, being a former investment banker and deputy lord mayor of Perth. She was also named EY Fintech Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018 and topped our Twitter poll for most influential company leader with 55%. “Power Ledger has made some unreal progress this in Japan, and won the Necker Island (XTC) award, and they’re on track to launch Asset Germination soon,” said Alex Saunders, who also paid tribute to Power Ledger’s co-founder Dave Martin.
3. Kain Warwick
Back in 2015, Warwick founded BlueShyft, a network of 1300 retailers that accept cash and card payments for crypto exchanges. Since then the company has processed more than $100 million for exchanges including Binance Lite, CoinSpot and CoinJar. Warwick then founded Havven, which became Australia’s most successful ICO in February last year, raising $39 million, mostly from institutional investors.
The stablecoin project has now morphed into Synthetix – an innovative exchange dealing in ‘synthetic’ cryptocurrencies and derivatives, such as the soon to be launched ‘Inverse Bitcoin’, which increases in value as the price of BTC goes down.
2. Steven Marshall
The South Australian Premier is a rare politician in that not only has he heard of blockchain, but he actually understands it and has become an enthusiastic and influential advocate. Marshall has spoken of his desire to see SA become the “blockchain capital of the country” .
He’s pushed for the establishment of a ‘blockchain hive’ at an old hospital site in SA, his government trialled blockchain based voting for the Recreational Fishing Advisory Council (hey, it’s a start) and supported the ADC Global Blockchain Summit in Adelaide last month. They also stumped up $100,000 for the Blockchain Innovation Challenge to support startups getting off the ground.
1. Dr. Craig S. Wright
You know how Time Magazine named both Stalin and Hitler as its ‘Man of the Year’ back in the day? The title was not so much an endorsement as recognition of their huge impact on the world stage. It’s hard to think of any other Australian who’s created such reverberations in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry worldwide as Wright. He was instrumental in last year’s Bitcoin Cash hard fork and the subsequent hash war between Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV that tanked the entire crypto market to lows from which it has only just begun to recover. And of course, his extraordinary claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto – a claim for which he is yet to provide the required extraordinary evidence – has turned an already polarising figure into the most controversial man in crypto.
His legal threats to Hodlonaut led to Bitcoin SV being delisted from Binance and Kraken in the past week. Despite this, his supporters truly believe he really is Bitcoin’s main man. If nothing else, Wright certainly seems to have been involved in the very early days of Bitcoin. He does actually have a doctorate too, despite reports to the contrary.