Best known as a co-founder of Chainlink, a decentralized oracle network, Sergey Nazarov has become one of the richest people in crypto, boasting a net worth exceeding $600 million. This substantial fortune comes as no surprise, considering that Chainlink oracles became a vital foundation for many decentralized finance apps and Web3 services, revolutionizing the way smart contracts interact with real-world data.
At the same time, while Sergey Nazarov is seen by many as a public face of Chainlink and one of the most influential people in crypto, little is known about his personal life outside the industry — a humble founder doesn&'t even have a Wikipedia page! In a crypto space full of eccentric billionaires and charismatic evangelists, Sergey Nazarov clearly prefers to live his life away from the limelight, focusing squarely on the long-term growth of his brainchild.
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That being said, many in the crypto community are nevertheless curious about the enigmatic founder known for his profound influence on the crypto industry. If you are among them as well, you came to the right place: read one to learn more about Sergey Nazarov&'s vision for Chainlink, his estimated net worth, and other crypto ventures.
Who is Sergey Nazarov?
Sergey Nazarov was born in Moscow, Russia in 1986 and moved to New York with his family in the 1990s. Both his parents came from a STEM background and encouraged young Sergey to explore the exciting world of technology from an early age. As a kid, he loved playing video games and disassembling cathode-ray television sets, only to put them back together for fun.
Despite showing an early interest in technology, Nazarov decided not to pursue a career in engineering and instead completed a bachelor&'s degree in philosophy and management from New York University in 2007. On his LinkedIn page, he listed a brief stint as a teaching fellow for a technology entrepreneurship course taught by professor Lawrence Lenihan, CEO of a venture capital fund FirstMark Capital. Nazarov soon started working for Lenihan&'s VC firm as a member of a seven-person investment team that during his tenure managed $2 billion and allocated more than $90 million as venture financing to promising startups, which included Pinterest and League of Legends developer Riot Games.
In 2011, Sergey Nazarov founded his own VC firm called QED Capital, which funds young tech entrepreneurs from Russia and Eastern Europe. One of the most successful projects that received funding from QED is CryptaMail, the first blockchain-based email service that operates without centralized services, which means that its messages can&'t realistically be intercepted by hackers or law enforcement.
"There is no central point that stores your messages, so there is nowhere to steal or even submit a request for your private data. Even we cannot locate your messages or derive your password, ever. ONLY those who know your password and the intended recipient of the message have access," the project&'s description reads.
In 2014, Nazarov founded the Secure Asset Exchange (SAE), a platform that used smart contracts for real-time revenue sharing with multi-signature escrow that eliminated the need for paying the third party. A couple of months later, he co-founded SmartContract.com, a project that aimed to enable smart contracts to securely connect with various data sources and external APIs. The idea of bringing external data to smart contracts on blockchain networks eventually led to the development of Chainlink, Nazarov&'s most successful venture to date.
What is Chainlink?
The work Nazarov and his team are doing at Chainlink aims to solve a key problem in the blockchain space — the inability of a smart contract to access real-world data in a verifiable and decentralized manner. Chainlink&'s network is designed to solve this issue by enabling complex smart contracts that can operate based on data from the outside world, such as price feeds, weather data, and other types of information. It does so by using the so-called "oracles," which are like messengers that fetch data from the outside world and bring it to the blockchain in a way that&'s secure and trustworthy.
The node operators that provide and verify data that is fed to smart contracts are rewarded in LINK token, which is a native asset of the Chainlink network that runs atop of Ethereum blockchain. LINK is an ERC-20 token, which means that it&'s compatible with other Ethereum-based wallets, assets, and dApps. To earn LINK, node operators are also required to stake a portion of their tokens, and nodes with the largest stake are more likely to get rewards.
The utility of the LINK token and the critical function Chainlink serves in connecting smart contracts with real-world data has led to a growing interest and value appreciation of LINK, especially as decentralized finance (DeFi) and other blockchain-based applications continue to evolve. At the time of writing, LINK holds the 22nd place in terms of market cap with $3.2 billion, which makes it one of the biggest altcoins in the crypto ecosystem.
Sergey Nazarov net worth in 2023
As of 2023, Sergey Nazarov&'s net worth is estimated at $600 million. Naturally, Chainlink&'s success had the most significant impact on his wealth: in July 2017, the project conducted a sale of LINK tokens via an initial coin offering (ICO), and early participants were able to buy LINK for roughly $0.09 per token. To put these numbers into context, the current LINK price is $6, which translates into an ROI of 656%.
Given that Nazarov is one of the co-founders and assumedly one of the larger holders of LINK tokens, the rise in LINK&'s value would directly contribute to his personal net worth. It&'s also worth mentioning that before the inception of Chainlink, Nazarov already had a strong track record of profitable crypto ventures and was an early investor in Bitcoin, which at the time was valued at $30 per coin.
The combination of holding a significant number of LINK tokens, along with other successful projects and strategic investments into promising startups, has contributed to Sergey Nazarov becoming one of the wealthiest individuals in the crypto world.
Is Sergey Nazarov Satoshi Nakamoto?
Although there is no strong evidence to suggest that Sergey Nazarov is indeed Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious creator of Bitcoin, some have pointed to a few odd coincidences that led some to believe that the Chainlink founder may have also had his hand in the creation of Bitcoin.
The first supposed evidence of Nazarov being Satoshi Nakamoto is that the former registered an internet domain smartcontract.com on the 25th of October 2008, exactly 6 days before the publication of Bitcoin’s whitepaper. Although the purchase of a specific domain is hardly a smoking gun that would point to Nazarov being Satoshi, the timing is quite intriguing. Moreover, smartcontract.com was heavily focused on Bitcoin.
Secondly, Sergey Nazarov’s initials match up with those of Satoshi Nakamoto. This is easy to brush off as a mere coincidence, but consider this: in the early days of Bitcoin, Satoshi suggested that one day people may start “brute force scanning” for Bitcoin addresses that would contain their signature in the form of initials or birth date. Indeed, this later became possible with the emergence of vanity address generators that randomly create private keys and compute the corresponding public addresses until the desired combination is found.
“Just by chance I have my initials,” Satoshi wrote at the time, sharing an address where the first three symbols were “1NS.” Nakamoto Satoshi... or perhaps Nazarov Sergey?
Finally, during his podcast appearance in 2020, Sergey Nazarov accidentally told the audience that he had been in the blockchain space for “10 years,” which would mean that he was around Bitcoin during the same time period Nakamoto was still involved. And although Nazarov promptly corrected himself, saying that it was "a number of years," some interpreted his hiccup as another proof that Nazarov may be Satoshi.
It&'s worth noting, however, that Nazarov denied being Satoshi on Lex Friedman&'s podcast, adding, “I don’t know who it is, but if I had to guess, it’s probably a group of people, some of which may not be around anymore.” To date, Satoshi Nakamoto&'s identity remains the greatest mystery of the crypto world, and many in the crypto community believe that the anonymity of Bitcoin&'s creator is a blessing for the project, as it allows the technology to stand on its own merits without being associated with any one individual or group.
While his personal life may remain shrouded in mystery, Sergey Nazarov&'s impact on the blockchain industry is unmistakable. His vision and technological contributions have not only driven the success of Chainlink but have also elevated the entire space, making smart contracts more useful, reliable, and secure. As decentralized technologies continue to evolve, it&'s clear that Nazarov&'s influence will remain a defining aspect, even if he himself remains an enigma.
Sergey Nazarov FAQ:
Who is the team behind Chainlink?
Besides Nazarov, two more people played a crucial role in the creation of Chainlink: Cornell University professor Ari Juels and Steve Ellis, who co-authored a white paper introducing Chainlink protocol and network. Obviously, it&'s not just the trio of co-founders who are doing all the development at Chainlink Labs: the broader team behind the project consists of a mix of engineers, researchers, data scientists, and business development professionals, among other roles.
The company has also invited to the board multiple experienced advisors, such as the former Coinbase chief technology officer Balaji Srinivasan, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and former LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner.
Who is the CEO of Chainlink coin?
While it&'s technically impossible to be a CEO of the LINK coin, given that it runs on a decentralized network without a central governing body, the company behind Chainlink protocol development, Chainlink Labs, does have a more traditional organizational structure. The title of CEO at the Chainlink Labs belongs to Sergey Nazarov, while co-founder Steve Ellis holds the position of CTO.
What exactly does Chainlink do?
Chainlink is a decentralized oracle network that aims to connect blockchain-based smart contracts with external data sources such as price feeds, weather stats, or even election data. By acting as a secure bridge between on-chain and off-chain information flows, Chainlink solves the "oracle problem" and boosts the functionality of smart contracts, allowing them to interact with external APIs, data feeds, and payment systems, thus making them more applicable for a wide range of decentralized applications and services.
Does Chainlink have competitors?
While currently Chainlink is the most popular oracle network for blockchain technology, there are other contenders in the oracle niche of the crypto industry, namely Band Protocol, Ergo, UMA, and API3.
Is Chainlink a good investment?
While Chainlink is undoubtedly a well-established cryptocurrency with a unique value proposition, Coinpaper does not recommend any crypto assets that investors should buy, sell, or hold. We advise that you perform your own due diligence and stay mindful of the risks tied to the inherent volatility of the crypto space.