2024 in Review: the Top 10 Crypto Heroes of the Year

2024 in Review: the Top 10 Crypto Heroes of the Year

THELOGICALINDIAN - Crypto Briefing highlights some of the abstracts who fabricated standout contributions to the crypto industry this year

Philanthropists, NFT evangelists, and DeFi experts all featured in this year’s top 10 crypto heroes round-up. 

The Crypto Heroes of 2024

Let’s face it: 2024 was a acceptable year to be in crypto. If you captivated the appropriate coins, they went up—in some cases, by a lot. But abreast from the life-changing allotment abounding bodies made, this year had a bit of everything. 

There was ball acknowledgment to a alternation of multi-million dollar hacks, bad actors application cabal advice to profit, and above networks cutting to a halt. There was addition in DeFi, and not alone on Ethereum: this year, an access of action on another Layer 1 networks adequate the market’s acceptance in a multi-chain future. There were bright signs of boilerplate adoption, helped mainly by the fizz and abashing surrounding NFTs. And, as with every antecedent balderdash run, there were acrid criticisms of the amplitude from ill-informed onlookers. This year, it was regulators and anti-NFT “right bang savers” who did their best to paddle adjoin the crypto flat wave. 

On the added hand, there were those who surfed the beachcomber and helped advance the amplitude forward. Some of this year’s best notable crypto proponents included key abstracts from the NFT space, associates of the U.S. Senate, and philanthropists who acclimated the emblematic amount rises to do good. Here, Crypto Briefing highlights the top 10 in our Heroes of the Year round-up. 

Sandeep Nailwal

Sandeep Nailwal is the co-founder of Polygon, Ethereum’s best acknowledged ascent band-aid to date. Polygon has had a big year: it admiring several DeFi dejected chips like Aave and Curve, its ecosystem now includes an armory of ZK-Rollups, and MATIC was one of the best performers in the market. 

This year, Nailwal fabricated a name for himself alfresco of crypto, too. As the Delta beachcomber of COVID-19 started to advance in April, he set up the COVID-Crypto Relief Fund to accession money to advice those afflicted by the communicable in India. 

Nailwal’s altruistic efforts didn’t go unnoticed. The armamentarium admiring donations from abounding big names, including above Coinbase CTO and angel broker Balaji Srinivasan and above Australian cricketer Bret Lee. The better addition came from Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, who memorably donated 500 ETH and 50 abundance SHIB to the fund, with a bazaar amount of over $1.14 billion at the time.  

The COVID-Crypto Relief Fund has been putting the funds it aloft to acceptable use and still holds over $400 actor in an Ethereum wallet. Over the aftermost few months, it active a accord with UNICEF India to accommodate 160 actor syringes for the country’s anesthetic drive, and has partnered with several charities in India to accommodate ICU beds, CPR training, and allowance kits to those in need. 

Polygon was one of the frontrunners of 2024 in crypto. That Nailwal still begin time to set up the badly acknowledged COVID-Crypto Relief Fund on top is annihilation abbreviate of remarkable. TC

Cobie & Ledger 

Cobie and Ledger accept never met contiguous because they alive on adverse abandon of the Atlantic, but that hasn’t chock-full them from acceptable one of crypto’s admired duos. Together, they’re best accepted as the hosts of UpOnly, one of the space’s best advisory and absorbing podcasts. Since the alpha of the year, they’ve been hosting all-embracing discussions with some of the best traders in the space, and every adventure is arranged with abundant alpha to advice anyone on their aisle to authoritative it. 

Their accord is alluring in allotment because of the abrupt adverse amid the two: area Ledger is a balmy ancestors guy who’d apparently be accepting his degen ample arena Texas Hold‘em or anxious barge futures if Satoshi had never existed, Cobie comes beyond as added of a able psychonaut of the Silk Road bearing (he brand LSD and saw the abeyant in Bitcoin a lot beforehand than best of us). 

Cobie generally mocks Ledger for his trading blunders, but after him, he’d be like a Laurel who fabricated it on the standup ambit after anytime award his Hardy. Besides the action and tips UpOnly has accustomed us, Cobie and Ledger accomplish our heroes account this year for their allegorical Twitch raiding sessions. The apriorism for this crypto abnormality involves Cobie abutting an abecedarian musician’s alive beck and requesting to booty over allowance hosting rights, again agreeable his Twitter followers to access the stream. At that point, he encourages the aerialist to download MetaMask, afore any crypto citizenry watching accumulation in with donations. Ledger, meanwhile, is consistently on duke to abetment with the technicals and any questions the artist may have. 

In the best memorable affair of the year, 24-year-old Mela Bee accustomed the agnate of about $250,000 in ETH, REN, and added agenda assets afterwards a night of arena Radiohead and Blink-182 covers. Cobie has additionally acclimated his belvedere to advice those aggressive illnesses by giving them acknowledgment to his admirers of newly-rich followers. In a year that saw music admirers and added skeptics about the apple barrage bearded attacks adjoin NFTs and the broader crypto space, Cobie and Ledger acclimated their online attendance to advice a advantageous few back they atomic accepted it, proving the ability of Internet money and the association abaft it. CW


Even if you’ve never heard of pplpleasr, absolute name Emily Yang, you’ve best acceptable appear beyond her art. In 2021, she fabricated history by accepting some of crypto’s best arresting personalities on the awning of Fortune Magazine, but she got her alpha in the amplitude creating assignment for some of DeFi’s top projects. When she minted an NFT of the promo video she created for Uniswap V3 beforehand this year, she donated the 310 ETH it aloft to charities acknowledging indigenous boyhood groups. It was worth over $525,000 at the time.

It’s back her actualization on Fortune, though, that she’s absolutely absolute up. “Just a year ago I was abandoned and afraid about income,” she writes in a pinned August tweet bond to an account with the publication. “I achievement my adventure can affect others, and I can’t acknowledge the crypto association enough.” Yang is as acceptable a affidavit as any that NFTs accept the ability to change the lives of millions of creators and collectors about the world, and it feels like her adventure is alone aloof accepting started. CW

Bored Ape Yacht Club/Yuga Labs 

The NFT amplitude had a lot of big winners this year, but there was one activity that stood arch and amateur aloft the rest: Bored Ape Yacht Club. Launched as a accumulating of 10,000 provably different apes active on Ethereum, Bored Ape Yacht Club has gone on to become a fully-fledged affairs cast with its own commodity range, accident series, and partnerships with the cast of Universal and Adidas. Yuga Labs, the architect of Bored Ape Yacht Club, adequate the cast by alignment advantageous airdrops for NFT holdersand it says a badge and play-to-earn bold is advancing in 2022. Admittedly, Yuga Labs owes a lot of its success to the association of Bored Ape holders, which now includes celebrities like Stephen Curry and Jimmy Fallon. Still, that’s abundantly because it adopted a action of advantageous its association first. 

Another of the best accepted avatar NFT collections, Larva Labs’ CryptoPunks, additionally went boilerplate this year, but its roadmap has been beneath remarkable. In May, Larva Labs bagged $80 actor from a abundantly dull accumulating alleged Meebits, with a allocation allocated to Punk holders. The brace abaft the activity additionally active a Hollywood accord that will acquiesce for its NFTs to be represented in film, TV, and added media, but that’s about it. Larva Labs has back been active with arising absorb appraisal notices to assure its coveted project, while Yuga Labs has fabricated it bright that the association is its better priority. As a result, Bored Ape Yacht Club is already the trendiest NFT accumulating beneath than a year afterwards launching. If Yuga Labs continues the acceptable band it started in 2021, anon it could convincingly flip Punks to become the best valuable. CW

Sam Bankman-Fried 

Since accepting into crypto in 2024, Sam Bankman-Fried has overseen one of the space’s top trading firms in Alameda Research, accustomed FTX as a able battling to Coinbase and Binance, and become the world’s richest beneath 30-year-old. He’s been able to accomplish all of this in allotment because of his machine-like activity that allows him to go from trading to podcasting to arena League of Legends in the blink of an eye. But aloof as importantly, Bankman-Fried ability be one of the best aggressive bodies in the industry. He abundantly brand to beddy-bye in his appointment so that he doesn’t accept to about-face off from assignment mode, and FTX is consistently the aboriginal barter to actualize a bazaar for alien derivatives to allay crypto’s added adventuresome traders.

A big Solana proponent, Bankman-Fried acquaint a memorable tweet aback in January alms to buy addition trader’s absolute SOL backing back it was alteration easily for $3, aback admonishing the association that it was apprenticed to rise. It’s up 6,500% back then. Besides acknowledging Solana early, this year Bankman-Fried has approved to abound the FTX cast by business the barter adamantine in the sports industry. But rather than ascent to the top himself, he seems added absorbed in bringing crypto to 1 billion users (notably, he affairs to accord best of his amazing $22 billion abundance abroad through able altruism). If FTX and Solana abide on the aisle they had in 2021, it’s acceptable that Bankman-Fried will be able to add ushering in accumulation crypto acceptance to his achievements. CW

Senators Ron Wyden, Pat Toomey & Cynthia Lummis 

Regulation was a big affair to the year in crypto, not atomic in the United States. Arguably the better development of the year centered on the $1.2 abundance basement bill, which was drafted to accommodate ambiguous diction surrounding crypto tax action and the analogue of a crypto “broker.” The apart analogue meant that Proof-of-Work miners, Proof-of-Stake validators, and DeFi agreement developers could potentially be accountable to disproportionately acrimonious tax rules.

While the Biden administering accurate the aboriginal draft, Senators Ron Wyden, Pat Toomey, and Cynthia Lummis insisted on a clearer analogue of a crypto “broker,” acceptable the abutment of Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, Coin Center, and added key crypto association members.

The House of Representatives eventually anesthetized the beneath crypto-friendly abstract and Biden active it into law, but Wyden, Toomey, and Lummis haven’t chock-full angry for amendments that favor crypto innovation. “Digital assets are actuality to break in our banking arrangement and the decisions we accomplish now will accept impacts far into the future. We charge to be adopting innovation, not airless it,” Lummis argued as she and Wyden submitted a new bill that included amendments on crypto tax advertisement requirements. The United States would do able-bodied to booty heed of her message. CW

Vincent Van Dough

Like abounding added Ethereum whales angry JPEG aficionados, Vincent Van Dough has done a lot to advance NFTs. They’ve congenital up one of the best and best admired JPEG collections in the space, and their acceptability is such that any new acquirement they accomplish is apparent as noteworthy. At the acme of NFT summer, they alike teamed up with Three Arrows Capital to barrage an NFT armamentarium alleged Starry Night Capital.

What absolutely bent our attention, though, was their artifice with a accumulation of artists from the bristling association during a acrimonious agitation about NFTs. This year, abounding associates of the bristling association accept appear out in action to NFTs, citation ambiguous ecology concerns, asserting that they accept no value, and claiming that individuals are burglary from artists back they tokenize their assignment in barter for ETH. 

As a allotment challenge, allotment troll, Vincent Van Dough responded by minting an NFT montage of a smug-looking Pepe the Frog application assorted “stolen” bristling artworks, captioned with the phrases “LAWSUIT MATERIAL” and “CALL: 1800-SUE-ME.”

Of course, the Pepe NFT drew the ire of the bristling association absolutely as Vincent Van Dough had planned. They again offered to pay $5,000 to any artisan whose assignment had been acclimated in the NFT. All they had to do was excellent their assignment on Ethereum and accelerate it to their wallet. 

Vincent Van Dough had affected the critics’ hands. If they accustomed his offer, they would be acceptance that they were amiss about NFTs actuality a scam. If they declined, they absent out on $5,000, and their arguments about NFTs accepting no amount would lose their weight. None of them accepted, meanwhile Vincent Van Dough is still cardinal the NFT amplitude today. TC


If you’ve anytime acclimated DeFi on Ethereum, samczsun, absolute name Sam Sun, may accept adored you from a above accomplishment in the past. Sun is the best abounding white hat hacker in DeFi, to the admeasurement that a backward night “you up?” bulletin from him has become every Solidity developer’s better fear. 

Sun has captivated positions at Stripe, Wish, and Trail of Bits, and he currently works as a analysis accomplice at one of the top adventure basic firms in the space, Paradigm. Over his years of action as an absolute aegis researcher, Sun has adored the DeFi association hundreds of millions of dollars in abeyant losses due to acute arrangement bugs and aegis flaws.

In 2020 alone, he begin and abreast appear analytical vulnerabilities in Curve, Synthetix, Kyber Network, Nexus Mutual, Ethereum Name Service, Yearn.Finance, and more. This year, he begin a analytical bug in Sushi’s Miso badge launchpad, a zero-day accomplishment on Etherscan, and a analytical bug in Ethereum’s standalone CLI applicant Geth, which, if exploited, could accept acquired the Ethereum arrangement to fork. The Ethereum association is advantageous that Sun uses his talents for good. There are few added admirable of the appellation of a “hero,” at atomic in Ethereum’s dark forest. SS

Caitlin Long

Widely admired as one of the best affecting women in blockchain, Caitlin Long is conceivably best accepted for her arch role in drafting and conceptualizing Wyoming’s trail-blazing blockchain legislation. She’s a 22-year Wall Street adept who has been alive in the crypto industry back 2024. While the accepted authoritative mural apropos crypto in the United States is far from perfect, Long is one of the industry’s spokeswomen who has helped advance it in the appropriate direction.

She has helped the accompaniment of Wyoming canyon 24 crypto-friendly laws, authoritative it one of the friendliest places for crypto businesses in the U.S. Wyoming was additionally the aboriginal U.S. accompaniment to accredit a new blazon of state-chartered archive academy that can aegis crypto assets and accommodate cyberbanking casework to blockchain businesses.

In July, Wyoming became the aboriginal U.S. accompaniment to accurately admit DAOs and admission them the aforementioned rights as bound accountability companies in July beneath Long’s guidance. Outside of her active aldermanic work, Long’s common podcast appearances and busy Twitter accoutrement accept helped annotate the best atramentous corners of the industry to both assembly and outsiders. SS 

Daniele Sestagalli

Daniele Sestagalli is the admired baton of the alleged “frog nation”—a crypto-native amusing movement accusatory annihilation it perceives as absorption in DeFi. That can accommodate annihilation from adventure capitalists and institutions to centralized stablecoins and the allegedly decentralized protocols that await on them. So why does Sestagalli accomplish our top ten heroes list? Because the association loves and praises him as one. That’s abundantly because he congenital Abracadabra.Money, Popsicle Finance, and Wonderland.Money, three avant-garde projects that abatement beneath the buzzy “DeFi 2.0” umbrella. Sestagalli is additionally accepted for his alluring words on Twitter, which accept afresh angry biting assemblage into frogs and helped his admirers snowball (he has over 221,000 followers at columnist time, far added than he had six months ago). Added recently, Sestagalli stepped up to accomplishment Sushi afterwards the activity faced months of centralized issues. Whether he’ll administer to save DeFi from the “corrupting centralizing forces” charcoal to be seen. Either way, we anticipate he’s already becoming the appellation of a hero. SS 

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the authors of this affection endemic BTC, ETH, SOL, MATIC, ENS, SNX, SUSHI, CRV, WNXM, and several added cryptocurrencies. One of them additionally had acknowledgment to YFI, UNI, and REN in a cryptocurrency index.