An Australian man named James Gilbert is making financial news thanks to being the president of and largest stakeholder in a company called The Crypto Company. As you have probably already discerned, the "Crypto" in the company's name does NOT refer to cryptograms, but instead cryptocurrency – as in Bitcoin, just such a cryptocurrency which has experienced unprecedented spikes in value in recent weeks. Those spikes have been unambiguously good news for companies like The Crypto Company, the stock value of which recently saw such big gains of its own that it made Gilbert a "paper billionaire" for roughly 45 minutes, according to a recent Bloomberg report.
Bitcoin's value surge caused an overnight increase of 76 percent in Crypto Co.'s stock price, bringing its overall market value to about $2.9 billion, and Gilbert's own stake to about $1.1 billion. Then, for about 45 glorious minutes, Gilbert could honestly call himself a billionaire, before that stake retreated to the less psychologically striking $919 million as the company's stock market rally abated somewhat. Given the Crypto Co. big cheese's status as a temporary billionaire, you might be surprised that the company's actual net assets have it operating at a loss:
"The company had net assets of $3.6 million as of Sept. 30 and posted a $1.5 million net loss in the third-quarter, according to a filing."
Of course, the company's success on the stock market is a big flashing red light to many interested parties:
"The stock surge attracted the attention of market operator OTC Markets Group, which added a skull-and-crossbones icon next to Crypto's stock symbol on Thursday to signal to investors to be extra cautious before buying the stock."
Gilbert is far from the only cryptocurrency investor to see unbelievable riches – at least on paper – on an overnight basis. One anonymous trader in the Ethereum blockchain was able to turn a $55 million initial investment into $283 million in less than a month, while Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (the famous "Winklevi" of Facebook fame) were relatively early Bitcoin investors in 2013 with about $11 million worth of bitcoins to their names. Assuming they've held onto that stake, it would now be worth nearly $2 billion as of this writing.