One of the largest crypto exchanges, Binance has now officially acquired CoinMarketCap in a cash-and-stock deal worth up to $400 million later this week making it one of the largest acquisitions in the crypto industry, according to a recent press release from CoinMarketCap’s blog.
1/ CMC acquisition by Binance is a massive win-win-win for all of crypto, including crypto data companies.
I’ve taken shots at them for data quality, 😬ads, and one-dimensionality, BUT I’m supposed to! They’re the 800 lb gorilla in crypto data, and we compete for share.
— Ryan Selkis (@twobitidiot) April 1, 2020
But not everyone is happy and the topic is hot on Twitter and elsewhere online.
Others like @twobitterminal think otherwise:
Coinmarketcap was the Schelling Point of $crypto price checking. Sad that it will now be a directory of only binance coins, masquerading as what it used to be. Fortunately there are many alternatives. But this is a centralizing takeover move. Like NBC buying out the TV Guide
— notsofast (@notsofast) March 31, 2020
“From my perspective, the single most important factor for deciding to join under the Binance umbrella was our shared vision for the future of crypto. In a world where the existing financial system is broken, inefficient, and unsustainable, there must be a better way. We both believe that global adoption of cryptocurrencies *is* that way. By empowering individuals to have sovereignty over their money, we can make the world a better place and decrease the unnecessary suffering caused by the existing systems. I believe there is no company in the space doing more for the global adoption of cryptocurrencies than Binance. I’m truly excited to have CoinMarketCap be part of the Binance family and join their worthy cause.
In light of today’s news, I am also officially stepping down as CEO of CoinMarketCap and will begin a transition to an advisory role. From growing our user base to millions of users to travelling across the world for our first international conference, it’s truly been an amazing run. While there’s definitely more that I can contribute, I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary for me to be the one leading the charge. It is the ultimate test of a founder to have their company thrive in their absence. With the high calibre of our team and new ownership, I’m optimistic that we’ll pass this test with flying colours.
To ensure that CoinMarketCap stays on track, I am very excited to pass the torch to Carylyne Chan, our Chief Strategy Officer. In many ways, she was already the face of the company. You should check out some of her live-streamed sessions (she’s great!). Also, please read her extensive letter to the community which outlines her thoughts on the acquisition and the future of CMC. It’s been such a pleasure to watch her grow professionally as a colleague, and personally as a friend. I’m very eager to see what she will accomplish with the team that we’ve built together.
In the early days, building CoinMarketCap was my own way of giving back to the crypto community. Before I depart, I’d like to give a special thanks to our users that submitted feedback, participated in community events or simply used the site on a regular basis. Without you, the product would not be what it is today.”
And from Chan:
Highlights from five letters from the new CEO
“I am excited and honored to have been given the opportunity to lead this great company into our next phase as its interim CEO. In equal measure, I am as anxious as you are about this transition and how we can keep growing CoinMarketCap in a fair, transparent and equitable manner.
As our users, friends and partners, each one of you in our CoinMarketCap community has played an extremely important part in CoinMarketCap over the years. We have always paid the utmost attention to ensuring that we stay neutral and providing the highest quality data in crypto to you, so that you can continue trusting and using CoinMarketCap every day. This commitment will continue to drive our decisions going forward, without exception. (More on that below.)
To bring it all back to basics, CoinMarketCap has always had a purpose of showcasing the cryptocurrency revolution to the world. This means making crypto, as an industry and asset class, more discoverable and efficient, all around the world.
When I look at our industry today, it’s clear that things are constantly in flux. We have many challenges ahead of us, including adapting to a world where there are major macroeconomic issues and opportunities (pandemics, negative interest rates, quantitative easing, etc), nascent technology and regulations, volatile markets and more.
At the heart of it, CoinMarketCap wants to help to catalyze the crypto revolution in our own unique way; as the landing page of crypto, where information beats and flows ceaselessly, where we connect millions of users every month to information they want to see, how can we keep challenging ourselves to do our best for our users?
First, let’s address the most immediate concerns related to the recent changes. CoinMarketCap has always endeavoured to help users make their own decisions, instead of forcing an opinion or passing judgment.
As some of our team are fond of quoting, “quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” or “who watches the watchmen?,” we take our role of tending to data and displaying it very seriously. You, as our user, are constantly voting with your visits and clicks to continue trusting, but also watching over, our approach to neutrality and accuracy in our data. As such, this makes us strive to the best of abilities to continue sticking to these principles.
In light of the acquisition, we have made some very deliberate decisions to ensure we can continue to operate according to this philosophy.
CoinMarketCap will continue to be run independently, as an independent entity, from Binance. Decisions will be made according to the best interests of CoinMarketCap, meaning that we will continue to develop products and services that benefit CoinMarketCap users, and continue working with partners and customers in a way that benefits them and brings the greatest value to them.
CoinMarketCap will strictly follow and enforce our independent listing criteria, circulating supply calculation methods and Liquidity Metric ranking methodology. We are constantly trying to evolve and improve our methodology, so I want to make it clear that any attempt to change or clarify the methodology is of our team’s volition and the understanding of what’s best for the business, and not an outcome of the acquisition. We actually updated our methodology a few times last year, for example.
This operational independence is key, and you can judge for yourself in the coming months if we have kept our word here. (But of course, we are spending 100% of our effort in ensuring that this is the case!)
Further expanding a bit more on listings, any cryptoasset or exchange that wants to be listed on CoinMarketCap will be fairly evaluated on their merits as long as they follow the guidelines in our listings policy.
CoinMarketCap will continue to be transparent to all projects and exchanges whenever we update our methodology. For example, in the upcoming rollout of the updated Liquidity Metric, we will clearly disclose what worked, what didn’t and which specific improvements have been made so that all concerned projects and exchanges can take heed and any appropriate actions. We launched this Liquidity Metric after carefully studying and testing various approaches so that we can thoroughly respond to the burgeoning trend of inflating volumes. It’s one of the examples of how CoinMarketCap has always listened to concerns from our users and tries to solve these issues in a fundamental fashion, instead of just doing it quickly or sloppily. (See “Addressing the issue of inflated volumes” for a detailed explanation.)
Our feedback channels are also open at all times, and we are always happy to receive any questions, comments or suggestions from our users. (Sincerely, it makes us happy, even though some of it can be scathing criticism!)
I am determined to eliminate any possibility of preferential treatment, and our team has also committed to enforcing this policy. All this will be done in spite of any positive or negative financial effect this adherence to policy might have for our parent company. (For the record, they are fully supportive of our approach.)
We also plan to speak to all our current DATA partners to hear their concerns and address them comprehensively. As we do so, we hope to document any issues that come up, and how we are planning to work through them together.
We also care very deeply about the advertisers and partners we work with, and we will pledge to continue nurturing all current working relationships and future relationships. We will be conducting all business without prejudice. We will not be implementing any changes to our working relationships, even with companies deemed to be competitive with the parent company’s businesses.
With CoinMarketCap having the widest reach to crypto audiences globally, we believe that it remains a rational business choice to work with CoinMarketCap to promote your business. We remain committed to providing strong value and discoverability of our advertisers’ and partners’ products and services following this acquisition, and will continue doing our best to showcase them in the best light. We believe that we will still be able to deliver the value and results that you expect from us, and will work with you to reach your business goals. If you have any concerns or questions, our team will be there to work through them with you, and we can always draw up stronger protections for you in any agreements where necessary.
Circling back to our collective crypto revolution – I have received a ton of feedback from users and partners about how we can make the experience on CoinMarketCap even more comprehensive, and I will be sustaining our efforts to do so here. The main yardstick for introducing ideas and features on CoinMarketCap has been, and will be, “Does this effectively reflect the state of the crypto revolution today?”
We will be intending to list more new data types and content on the site. Recently, we added perpetual swap data on CoinMarketCap, together with interest rate products last year, and block explorer data before that. There will be more of these data types being progressively added to CoinMarketCap, reflecting the interest and trends in the market today. We will continue to slowly but surely expand into new data categories that we know you are looking for.
We also aim to add more ways that we can crowdsource data directly on the site. For example, enabling you to be able to contribute tags, upvotes/downvotes and more. Most exciting for me: We will soon be rolling out the ability for you to register for a CoinMarketCap account so you can sync your watchlists, portfolios and content across the app and site, without fear that you will lose that data if you clear a cookie, for example.
As we shared at our conference, The Capital, in November last year, we also launched a jobs board. We will keep up our current efforts to survey the lay of the land, and include more ways for you to get involved in the crypto space, whether that involves getting a job or participating in (possibly virtual) events.
All of these ideas are things that we’ve carefully gathered and considered from listening to you, our users, and we are dedicated to continuing to do so.
Being the folks who popularized quite a few of the standard terms we use in the industry, such as “crypto market cap,” “circulating supply,” and “Bitcoin dominance,” we are constantly finding ways to disrupt ourselves and what we previously thought was right.
For example, when we noticed changes in the way that exchanges were reporting volumes, we started from the ground up to rethink how we should be consolidating and ranking exchanges. Should we still use volume data as the benchmark when we see more non-regulated exchanges without standardization in the space? As a result of that data exploration, we launched our Liquidity Metric, which has a dynamic polling depth for order books and weighs orders differently according to the total liquidity in that market. (Okay – I have to admit it’s complicated, but please see here for the full details; and we’ll be rolling out an improved version soon!)
I fully expect our team to continue going back to the drawing board and asking ourselves whether there were assumptions we took for granted, and if so, how we can change and improve accordingly. I would be amused (but not surprised) if we might one day have to explain why CoinMarketCap might have an alternative ranking to the market capitalization model we are used to!
With all that said, we will keep up this constant exploration mode to find the best models and best ways to explain these models to you. We hope that we can continue pushing the envelope so that you can benefit from the most state-of-the-art thinking and implementations at CoinMarketCap, whether that’s data, algorithms, research, or design.
As for the relationship we have with our new parent company, which I’m sure you’re curious about, I think it will be beneficial in some non-obvious ways. CoinMarketCap is a profitable business as a standalone entity, and it does not necessarily require financial investment in the way that some acquired businesses do. However, there are some ways that Binance can help CoinMarketCap on its journey to provide the best data and experience in crypto.
While Binance will not be running CoinMarketCap in any operational capacity, they will be sharing their best practices in company-building and operation with the CoinMarketCap team. This means that the young team at CoinMarketCap will be able to benefit from the combined knowledge of the outstanding talent at Binance. These best practice areas will run the gamut from sharing HR and management practices to security and financial planning.
In a similar vein, we believe that we can learn a lot from Binance about how to better optimize some of our support processes. Binance has constantly achieved industry-leading support levels across all channels, and we hope to be able to better serve you as our user as well, whether you are applying for a listing or sending in some feedback. We will continue to understand and adopt best practices here to deliver better service and response times to our users.
Most of all, both Binance and CoinMarketCap have a similar vision of making cryptoassets more accessible and systemically important to users globally, and providing the most accurate, timely and quality cryptocurrency data and services in the industry. I believe that the simple fact that we are aligned behind the ethos of being user-first will enable both of our companies to do the right thing, and always be responsible to our users above all else.
As I end this rather lengthy letter to you, I am hopeful about the future of CoinMarketCap and confident that we will continue to be able to live up to your expectations of our products and data, which have stood the test of time. I will communicate more frequently and proactively about the things that are happening at CoinMarketCap, and I hope to meet more of you online or offline again soon after all travel and shelter restrictions have been lifted.”