On July 4th, Changpeng Zhao tweeted a photo of himself standing before the Statute of Liberty.
"Happy July 4th! 20 years ago (2002), this nerdy boy arrived in New York to work at Bloomberg, just after 9/11," he wrote. "We came a long way since then."
Zhao, 44, is now the founder and CEO of Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume.
Meanwhile, on the same day, Sam Bankman-Fried, 30, founder and CEO of FTX, retweeted a commercial for his cryptocurrency exchange that features football legend Tom Brady melting an ice block with a flamethrower.
FTX has bought naming rights to a sport arena in Miami and Brady and his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, are its ambassadors.
The two men–often referred to as CZ and SBF–are young billionaires who morphing into a kind of dynamic duo of the blockchain world, swooping in to bail out companies that struggling a seemingly relentless "crypto winter."
"Sam and Changpeng are two very influential individuals in the cryptosphere, with unbelievably deep pockets," said Martin Hiesboeck, head of blockchain and crypto research at Uphold. "Their companies, along with their personal fortunes are enough to absorb more than one smaller competitor. They will choose to do so if it makes sense for their business strategy and corporate vision."
Last month, Zhao said he believed the blockchain industry had "shown tremendous resilience" despite the crypto market collapse that has, by some estimates, wiped out more than $2 trillion in value in just a few months.
He added that his company has "a responsibility to help industry players survive and hopefully thrive. This is the case even if there are no direct benefits to us or we experience negative ROIs."
And Zhao also said Binance was looking to fill 2,000 opening positions–at a time when so many companies are cutting staff–tweeting that "it was not easy saying no to Super bowl ads, stadium naming rights, large sponsor deals a few months ago, but we did."
Bankman-Fried also feels the need to lend a hand, telling NPR in a recent interview that "I do feel like we have a responsibility to seriously consider stepping in, even if it is at a loss to ourselves, to stem contagion."
FTX recently inked a deal with BlockFi that gives the exchange the option to buy the troubled crypto lender for up to $240 million. The agreement also includes a $400 million revolving credit facility.
"Nathan Rothschild, a 19th-century British financier and member of the Rothschild banking family, is credited with saying that 'the time to buy is when there's blood in the streets,'" said David Lesperance, managing partner of immigration and tax adviser at Lesperance & Associates. "Sam Bankman-Fried and CZ are riding the tiger this crypto winter. If they are smart about their purchase of distressed crypto properties they could end of being some of the wealthiest people in the world."
However, he added, if they are wrong on their acquisitions or if crypto completely collapses, "they would also be world record holders in total wealth gained and lost in the shortest period of time."
"At the same time as they scour the crypto streets for attractive acquisitions," Lesperance said, "they also have to keep a weather eye on regulators who are scrutinizing their various businesses for past and present activities which have crossed legal lines regarding fraud, sanction busting, securities laws and money laundering."
A Reuters investigation published on June 6 said Binance processed $2.35 billion in transactions stemming from investment fraud, hacks and illegal drug sales. A company spokesperson said the report was "woefully misinformed."
Some might be concerned that two people hold so much sway over the sector, but Hiesboeck doesn't see it that way.
"Blockchain and distributed ledger technology are at the very heart of innovation in every sector from finance, insurance, and manufacturing down to entertainment and public services," he said. "Having a few big companies with a strong voice can only help the space to be taken more seriously."
The two billionaires don't believe in throwing good money after bad. Zhao has said that all bailouts are not alike, citing some companies, products, or projects that are "poorly designed, poorly managed, and poorly operated."
Bankman-Fried recently tweeted: "Really not sure why the meme about FTX and mining companies is spreading, the actual quote was that we *aren't* really looking into the space."
Not every investment is going to be a winner. Crypto broker Voyager Digital said last month that it had secured loans from Bankman-Fried's Alameda Research Ventures.
Then the company said on July 5 that it was filing for bankruptcy, pointing to the prolonged volatility and contagion in the crypto markets over the past few months, and the default of Three Arrows Capital on a loan from the company's subsidiary, Voyager Digital, LLC.
Alameda Research was the Voyager's biggest creditor with a claim of $75 million, according to filings.
Social media features the usual gamut of commentary about the two men, ranging from scorn to worship.
"Congratulations on your achievements in life," one person tweeted to Zhao. "you were and are being a brave man to get where you are, you must have gone through many things in the process! who generated this example of a person for everyone."
But then someone else on another thread summed up Zhao by simply tweeting "this man is a bad man."
"Basically, Sam Bankman-Fried bails out all the systemically important crypto banks and forms an entity to oversee them, which will provide emergency loans at discounted rates in times of extraordinary stress. Kinda like a central bank," one person tweeted.
Another person posted a photo of a collapsing building labeled "the entire crypto market" and supporting beams bearing Bankman-Fried's twitter handle.
"Thank you for saving the miners too Sam!' the caption read.