Cryptocurrency Winners and Losers 2023

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2023 has been a year where the crypto space has booted out its bad eggs and enjoyed a rebirth, rising from the ashes of its greed-induced fire like an over-leveraged phoenix. But who has ridden to glory and who has been unceremoniously dismounted in 2023?

Let’s find out.


Jack Mallers

Many people laughed at Strike CEO Jack Mallers when he said in February 2022 that his company, which enables Bitcoin Lightning Network payments, would operate in 50 countries imminently. Fast forward to today and Mallers is the one laughing: Strike has been signing deals with all and sundry which expanded the company’s reach to South Africa and the Philipines before he revealed a huge expansion at Bitcoin Miami in May that would see its services available to over 65 countries worldwide.

This deal was finally unveiled in November when Strike announced a deal with, a collaboration that introduced a new payment rail for Strike, allowing more users to buy and sell Bitcoin through the app, and also enabling users outside the US to initiate payments between currencies via its Send Globally feature.


In 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Ripple and its co-founders, Chris Larsen and Brad Garlinghouse over accusations that XRP was a security. Not many people gave Ripple a prayer, but in July they pulled a victory out of the bag; not just a victory for them, but the whole of crypto.

Meanwhile, in a galaxy not too far away…


When the SEC rejected Grayscale’s Bitcoin ETF application, the investment fund didn’t take it lying down. It sued the SEC, arguing that its rejection was unfair, and, in August, the courts agreed, calling the SEC’s rejection “arbitrary and capricious.” The judge vacated the SEC’s decision, leading to the agency having no choice but to talk to Grayscale and other funds about how to launch a Bitcoin ETF.

Michael Saylor

Microstrategy CEO Saylor isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but his incessant buying of boatloads of bitcoin at least shows that he puts his money where his mouth is. Having been billions in the red with his company’s six-figure haul since 2021, and facing mockery and belittlement from every angle, Bitcoin’s rise from $15,000 to $50,000 this year saw Microstrategy break even on its investment in April; it currently sits on a $2 billion+ paper profit.

How many chairs are you sitting on?


Gary Gensler

The SEC chair was on our winners’ list last year following several high-profile wins, but this year he is deservedly on the naughty chair; defeats for the SEC against Grayscale and Ripple, the Prometheum debacle, and his generally atrocious performance in House committee meetings have left him facing petitions from Congressmen to not just sack him but also remove his entire position.

Sam Bankman-Fried

Bankman-Fried retains his position as a crypto loser this year following the guilty-on-all-counts verdict that was handed down at the end of his trial in November. On the list last year for helping to almost single-handedly crash the crypto ecosystem, Bankman-Fried might well be on it next year again when he is sentenced in March, where he faces about a million years in prison.

Changpeng Zhao

In early November 2022, Changpeng Zhao was the CEO of Binance and living happily in the UAE with his family. A month later he was facing the prospect of Christmas in US detention following a guilty plea over allegations of failure to protect against money laundering.

Zhao and Binance admitted to failing to implement anti-money laundering policies and violating the Bank Secrecy Act as part of a broad agreement with prosecutors that allowed the exchange to continue operating but resulted in a $4.3 billion settlement. Zhao, who traveled to Seattle to sign off on the deal, was hit with an immediate $50 million penalty and paid a $175 million bond. He also stepped down from Binance, the company he founded in 2017.

Zhao was initially allowed to return home while on bail, but a federal judge overruled this in December, meaning that Zhao would be detained in the US until his sentencing in February 2024. Zhao faces up to 18 months in prison in the US, marking the downfall of crypto’s biggest kingpin.

Craig Wright – Another who reclaims his place as a loser in 2023 is Craig Wright, who was sacked from his position at nChain in September after the CEO, Christen Ager-Hanssen, outed him to the nChain board for his atrocious attempts at proving his Satoshi claim for the forthcoming COPA trial.

Wright faces a make-or-break ‘identity’ trial in January 2024, but with his hard drives of Satoshi evidence resulting in a 970-page debunk report that was published in part this year, it seems that his Satoshi Nakamoto claims are, finally, about to bite the dust.

Wright also found out in December that his attempt to claim billions of dollars in BTC, BCH, and BSV from wallets he never owned will not go ahead until he can prove in a preliminary trial that he actually owned the coins allegedly lost in the ‘Pineapple Hack.’ Given that he has not provided anything but fraudulent proof for these claims, this, too, looks like a doomed endeavor.