How Did 34-Year-Old Ben Delo Become UK’s Youngest Crypto Billionaire in Just 4 Years?

Siamak Masnavi

Ben Delo has become the UK's first crypto billionaire as a result of the incredible success of BitMEX, which he co-founded in 2014, currently estimated to be worth around $3.6 billion (based on a trading volume of over $600 billion for the past year); Delo owns 30% of BitMEX.

Because BitMEX makes its money from futures products in Bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies, price volatility is good for business, and BitMEX makes plenty of profits in both bull and bear markets. As another BitMEX co-founder and its current CEO, Arthur Hayes, pointed out on Friday (29 June 2018) on CNBC's Fast Money, BitMEX does "good volume on up days and even better volume on aggressive down days." Hayes went on to say that so far in 2018, BitMEX had actually managed to achieve triple the trading volume it had in 2017. 

When asked about his wealth, Delo told The Sunday Times:

“It feels mad... I have just had my nose down in a start-up for the past four years. It has been non-stop. I was doing 18-hour days at one point. We have all had to make enormous sacrifices to build BitMex.”

Delo, who lives with his wife Pan Pan Wong in Hong Kong (where BitMEX is based), interestingly, is a follower of crypto bear billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who famously called Bitcoin "probably rat poison squared" on 5 May 2018, when it comes to frugal living, telling the British newspaper that he "owns only three pairs of shoes — trainers, a pair of “sensible” leather brogues and flip-flops" and that he and his wife "use special offer vouchers when they buy meals in McDonald’s." Also, apparently, like Buffett, he intends to use the majority of his fortune for philanthropy.

Delo studied mathematics and computer science at Worcester College, University of Oxford, from where he graduated with a "first class honours" Master's degree (U.S. equivalent is graduating "Summa Cum Laude", or a GPA of 3.7–4.0).

After finishing university, he worked as a software engineer at IBM and for a stockbroking firm in "the City" (one of London's two financial districts and the home of UK's central bank) before being hired by JPMorgan Chase in Hong Kong. There, he met American derivatives trader Arthur Hayes (now chief executive of BitMex), when he bought bitcoin from him. The pair, together with American programmer Samuel Reed, later came together to build the software for the BitMEX trading platform and went on to co-found the company, with each one holding 30% of the shares.

 

Featured Image Credit: Photo ("Live Trading View") via the BitMEX website