Just 70 miles north of downtown Miami, there is a small town called Palm Beach, one of Florida's wealthiest cities.
The city is home to 8,723 people, none wealthier than Thomas Peterffy. The city's median household income exceeds $141,348, and the median property value is about $1.18 million. However, Thomas Peterffy's income exceeds that by 1000X.
His net worth exceeds $20 billion, making him the richest man in Palm Beach and the richest person in Florida. Though Peterffy remains unknown to many people, he has built a trading firm that has continued to have a significant impact on the financial market for longer than 40 years.
Who is Thomas Peterffy?
He is a Hungarian-born American billionaire entrepreneur, the founder, and the largest shareholder of Interactive Brokers LLC.
Interactive Brokers LLC is a multinational brokerage firm that provides trading in forex, stocks, options, futures, and other funds.
Thomas Peterffy was born in Budapest, Hungry, in 1944 during WWII in a hospital basement at the time of a Russian air raid. His father immigrated to the U.S. in 1956 without his family, but in 1965, Thomas Peterffy joined his dad in New York. However, his father's second wife cared little for the 21-year-old Thomas, so his dad gave him $100 and told him, "Make something of yourself."
After moving out of his father's house, he worked at an architectural firm where he volunteered to program their recently purchased computer. Then, in 1977, he left his job and bought a seat on the American Stock Exchange and became a member, trading as an individual market maker in equity options.
In 1982, Peterffy launched a market-making firm called Timber Hill Inc and focused on trading equity options at the AMEX. He later grew into new markets, including the Chicago S&P 500 options.
In the following years, he expanded into Asia and Europe. Then, in 1993, he created Interactive Brokers, an electronic brokerage firm that helped him become one of the richest people in the world.
Today, the company controls more than $10.48 billion in equity capital, but its mission remains to create technology to provide liquidity on better terms.
He is one of the largest landowners in the country.
According to Florida 500, Peterffy owns 500,000-plus acres across five counties in North Florida, which is believed to be the largest piece of underdeveloped land owned by a private citizen east of the Mississippi River.
He invests little money in cryptocurrency.
Thomas Peterffy told CNBC that he invests little money in cryptocurrency. However, he still expresses doubt about the long-term future of crypto.
"Even I myself have put a little bit of money into crypto, because even though chances are, I think, that this is not going to be a viable market, I think that there's a small chance that this will be a dominant currency, so you have to play the odds. "
He also plans to launch a cryptocurrency trading platform. This is a significant move because Peterffy is a well-known name in the trading business. He adds, "Customers certainly are asking for [crypto trading], and we expect to be ready soon."
The adoption of bitcoin by high-profile investors and organizations is an enormous boost for bitcoin value.
My favorite five quotes from Thomas Peterffy
There are my favorite five quotes from Thomas Peterffy. These quotes will help you better understand Peterffy and how he gained his wealth.
- America's wealth comes from the efforts of people striving for success. Take away their incentive with badmouthing success, and you take away the wealth that helps us take care of the needy.
- It was a big deal to leave home and my culture and language. But I believed that in America, I could truly reap what I sowed and that the measure of a man was his ability and determination to succeed. This was the land of boundless opportunity.
- I grew up in a socialist country. And I have seen what that does to people. There is no hope, no freedom.
- I don't think my basic business strategy is well known by the public, probably because people think it's too simple. My strategy has always been to focus on a product or service where you can create a dollar of value for 20 cents and sell it for 40 cents.
- Socialism and Communism are extremely attractive to a superficial observer. However, it is not until you get into the details or experience it becomes apparent that it does not work.
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