Cryptocurrency Mints Britain’s Youngest Billionaire

Cryptocurrency–Things are looking good for the co-founder of BitMex.

In addition to becoming Britain’s youngest self-made billionaire, Ben Delo holds the distinction of being the United Kingdom’s first “Bitcoin billionaire.” The 34-year-old first launched cryptocurrency exchange BitMex in 2014 along with co-founder and vocal Bitcoin bull Arthur Hayes. In that time BitMex has climbed to the top of the exchange charts, becoming one of the most popular trading platforms for cryptocurrency, with a daily volume around 2 billion USD. Despite the flagging price of cryptocurrency throughout 2018, exchanges such as BitMex have reported significantly higher trade volumes over the previous year, with new user acquisitions reaching double-digit percent increases. Rival Coinbase, the popular cryptocurrency platform for Western customers, has been in the news for its recently revamped Coinbase Pro service, in addition to the launch of Coinbase Custody. However, just two weeks ago it made headlines for allegations of growth outpacing resources, to which the exchange replied that it was being inundated with new users at an unprecedented rate.

In the profile by Daily Mail, Delo cuts an uncharacteristically low-key figure in comparison to the ostentatious perception of the young and wealthy. While Delo has benefited from the exponential growth of cryptocurrency and the boom in adoption that occurred throughout this year and last, he describes the uncertain road he had to joining the ultra-rich, stating the project had consumed most of his life over the preceding four years,

“I have had my nose down in a start-up for the past four years. I was doing 18-hour days at one point.”

Since graduating from Oxford with a degree in mathematics and computer science, Delo has had stints with IBM and JP Morgan before founding the exchange. While hailed as a billionaire out of the U.K., Delo has been living in Hong Kong with his wife. The young entrepreneur cites Warren Buffett (unironically) and Bill Gates as role models in his conception of wealth, being characterized as living a relatively frugal life, as well as pursuing philanthropic efforts with his newly acquired affluence.

BitMex has been valued at 3.6 billion USD, with a reported 35 other “bitcoin billionaires” across the globe—although BitInfo reports that number could be as high as 200.

News of Delo’s ascension into the ranks of billionaire status comes on the heels of his co-founder making bold predictions for cryptocurrency this past week. Speaking with CNBC, Arthur Hayes speculated that Bitcoin would reach 50,000 USD by year’s end, despite the falling price that has accompanied the first six months of the year. Citing increased regulation and the possibility of Bitcoin ETFs, Hayes posited that the currency was in prime position for adoption by institutional and professional investors—it just suffers from the murky waters of lack of clear regulation.

“We could definitely find a bottom in the $3,000 to $5,000 range,” he said. “But we’re one positive regulatory decision away, many an ETF approved by the SEC, to climbing through $20,000 and even to $50,000 by the end of the year.”

If Hayes’ prediction proves to be right, sending the market cap of Bitcoin over 850 billion USD, there could be several more crypto-minted billionaires joining the likes of Ben Delo.