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From 2-Man Team to The Leading Crypto Aggregator in 2020’s DeFi Craze: CoinGecko’s Story (Exclusive Interview)
2021-09-03 23:54:34 Primitive Reading


CoinGecko is, without a shred of doubt, one of the largest cryptocurrency data aggregators. The index has shown impressive growth over the past year following a renewed interest in cryptocurrencies as the total market cap grows in 2020.

Data from SimilarWeb shows that CoinGecko has hit a considerable number of almost 25 million users in August alone.

It’s safe to say that it’s one of the veteran crypto venues and a household name for the industry. CryptoPotato had the chance to reach Bobby Ong, the co-founder and COO of CoinGecko.

From Rags to Riches

While it’s one of the largest cryptocurrency websites right now, things haven’t always been shiny for CoinGecko’s team. Founded in April 2014, the veteran aggregator was a two-person operation, Ong shares.

Bobby Ong, Co-Founder at CoinGecko. Source: Bobbyong.com

“We were very passionate about cryptocurrencies and saw the huge potential that blockchain technology can bring in the world.”

Ong shared that back in those days, they were doing some cryptocurrency trading and wanted a way to get additional data related to cryptocurrencies such as community and developer stats, in order to help the community compare cryptocurrencies.

At the time, there was no such service. Hence, the beginning of CoinGecko’s journey as a means to “solve our own needs.” Real start-up ideas come from their own pain.

Just as many other ‘garage’ companies, at first, TM Lee and Bobby Ong initially operated CoinGecko from their bedrooms as the market was still really tiny.

It wasn’t until four years later, in January 2018, when they decided to have their first hire. Fast forward to nowadays, CoinGecko consists of 16 full-time employees.

“We have reached a stage where we are now actively growing and hiring other highly talented people to join our team.” Ong added.

Hard Times During The 2015 – 2016 Bear Market

The cryptocurrency market is a volatile one – something that probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone following it for more than a few months. There have been times of prolonged bear markets where a lot of companies in the industry couldn’t keep up.

CoinGecko is no exception, and they had their fair share of significant hurdles, despite that aggregators like CoinGecko are visited more often when there is high volatility. Ong told us that there were days when they’ve been uncertain about the future of CoinGecko.

“The bear market of 2015-2016 was particularly bad for us, especially in 2016. We were struggling like many other crypto companies and we contemplated selling CoinGecko. However, there were no serious buyers for CoinGecko and we ended up just operating it on a minimum scale.”

Yet, the two-person lean organization managed to make the best of it and draw some valuable conclusions. Ong shared that they learned that bear cycles in crypto can be very challenging, and it is highly important to manage cash prudently to tide through the bear market.

In 2017 the markets exploded as Bitcoin reached its current all-time high of nearly $20,000. All cryptocurrencies were popping, and the retail interest around the crypto and especially the ICO madness was real. CoinGecko was well-prepared:

Ong: “We knew we had to be prudent and save enough cash to last through the coming bear cycle in 2018-2019.”

However, Ong also told us that they were never worried about the future of crypto. They’ve always known that cryptocurrencies will play a large role in the long run.

From Jesus-Coin To 2020’s Sushi and Yam

2020 is so far a very intensive year on the market, especially in the field of decentralized finance (DeFi). Protocols saw the total value locked in them skyrocket from about $500 million to a peak of above $9 billion in a matter of months.

New DeFi tokens flooded the market, largely enabled by the automated market maker Uniswap and CoinGecko is doing their best to vet the unreliable projects from those who are legitimate. In regards to avoiding scam coins being added to their index, Ong commented:

“We have a team that reviews each coin that is added to CoinGecko to ensure that it fulfills our listing criteria. There are several internal metrics that we look at to determine if a particular coin is the right fit for listing on CoinGecko.”

According to Ong, food-based meme tokens have also created awkward moments this year. He added that the DeFi boom of 2020 came with its fair share of “weird food tokens” such as Tendies, Yam, Sushi, and many more. Several years ago, we also had weird coins being created, such as Jesus Coin.”

Sushi. Not only food in the crypto of 2020

Coinmarketcap’s Binance Acquisition: No Longer Impartial

Undoubtedly, CoinGecko’s biggest competitor is CoinMarketCap, which was acquired by the crypto-giant Binance earlier this year.

Speaking on the matter, Ong said:

“CoinMarketCap is no longer impartial despite its claim of being independent. Its acquisitions have, on multiple occasions, favored Binance and its related products, making it no longer a credible source of data for the crypto community.”

“The crypto community wants a data aggregator that can provide an accurate and unbiased source of information in the crypto market. Being the largest independent crypto data aggregator, most of the community rallied behind CoinGecko, and this has immensely benefited us.”

We asked whether or not CoinGecko had considered any acquisition offers, and the co-founder said that they are not looking for an acquisition at this point, but are instead focused on building the foundational infrastructure for a world where cryptocurrencies will be adopted by the mainstream.

2030: Anything Eligible Will Be Tokenized

To finish off the interview, we asked Bobby Ong about his views on the industry in ten years from now.

“10 years from now, we foresee cryptocurrencies gaining mainstream adoption and blockchain being used by many applications on the background without users even realizing it.”

“We believe in a future where anything that can be tokenized will be tokenized. We will be living in a world where there will be millions of tokens and CoinGecko will be playing a large role in the aggregation of all these crypto data information.”

Disclaimer: This specification is preliminary and is subject to change at any time without notice. MYTOKEN assumes no responsibility for any errors contained herein.

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