Forbes, the business magazine known for compiling its annual list of world's richest billionaires, has for the first time released what it believes to be the wealthiest people in cryptocurrency.

The Forbes "Richest People in Cryptocurrency" list contains 19 people, all with a combined wealth of over US$12 billion ($16.5b).

While Forbes' traditional rich lists are far more straightforward to compile, calculating the exact amount of crypto wealth is a difficult task.

Net worths are based on "estimates in ranges", according to Forbes, who say their numbers are based on "estimated holdings of cryptocurrencies (a few provided proof), post-tax profits from trading crypto-assets and stakes in crypto-related businesses."

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In the world of digital currencies, fortunes can be made overnight. However, what digital currencies giveth, they can also taketh away.

Leading Forbes' cryptocurrency rich list is American Chris Larsen, who is estimated to have a crypto net worth of between US$7.5b and US$8b. Larsen is the co-founder of digital currency Ripple (XRP), which facilitates international payments for banks using blockchain technology, and personally owns 5.2 billion XRP, according to Forbes.

Canadian Joseph Lubin is the second richest person in cryptocurrencies, according to Forbes.

The Toronto native, and former Goldman Sachs executive, is a co-founder of Ethereum and is estimated to have a crypto net worth of between US$1b and US$5b.

Also included on the list is the Winklevoss twins. The brothers (Cameron and Tyler), who invested $15.3m in bitcoin in 2013, saw their investment skyrocket late last year after bitcoin increased in value by 10,000 per cent.

The pair are now ranked equal fourth with a crypto net worth of between US$900 million and US$1.1b.

The full list can be seen here.