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Exclusive from CoinMarketCap’s Senior Leadership: From Passion Project to Partnership with Binance

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by Teuta Franjkovic · 5 min read
Exclusive from CoinMarketCap’s Senior Leadership: From Passion Project to Partnership with Binance
Photo: Shutterstock

Check out an exclusive interview with CoinMarketCap’s senior leadership about the philosophy behind the website, its history and the acquisition by Binance.

When talking about the platforms that are tracking cryptocurrencies movement, the first that comes to one’s mind is definitely CoinMarketCap. It is a platform mainly created to track the market capitalization of different cryptocurrencies and the volume of trades occurred, with updates every minute.

We spoke with its founder Brandon Chez and its Chief Strategy Officer Carylyne Chan about their work and their plan for such a platform in the crypto-space.

CoinMarketCap first began as a “passion project” back in 2013. When reading the financial section of a news site that described market capitalization of equities, Chez got the idea of presenting the relative size of altcoins in a similar way. Since most people are already familiar with this kind of approach, comparing altcoins’ value to that of Bitcoin became much easier.

It All Started in the Year of ICOs – 2017

The whole thing culminated around 2017 (and we all remember the year when Bitcoin reached its record) when ICOs became the ultimate way for companies and startups to make money. It was then that Chez brought in his then-colleagues and friends to help out with the website. The first sign that CoinMarketCap “could be revenue-positive happened in 2015, when a site approached us to buy out all ad spots on our page.” In the next few years, the team grew as the site’s influence increased.

Along the way, several offers to acquire CoinMarketCap came up, but the one Chez felt would make the most sense for both the team and the users came from Binance.

“I believe that the alignment we have with Binance in terms of being user-focused and increasing freedom for people would lead to a great outcome for space,” noted Chez, adding that CoinMarketCap has always been profitable so there was never really a need to attract investments.

And no, Chez didn’t use the money he received from the acquisition to purchase a Lambo, the dream toy of crypto enthusiasts. Rather, he is looking forward to being able to spend time with his family.

Crypto Is All About Giving People Choices

Carylyne Chan, Chez’s successor, started working with CoinMarketCap in 2018 when Chez was looking to expand CMC internationally. Chan took this opportunity and took charge. After a few months, she joined the company full-time as VP of marketing, then rose to become the Chief Strategy Officer, and now the interim CEO.

Chan postulates herself as a technology and crypto believer. She is definitely not new in the crypto space. She has worked at many startups before, and also built and sold her own startup. She says:

“I’m never too concerned about risk and challenging the big guns out there! Crypto, of course, is massive in its scope to provide alternatives to the current institutions. I believe strongly in giving people choice, so I’m constantly refreshed and motivated by the challenges here.”

She reiterates Chez’s affirmation about Binance, saying that she feels that Binance has the same user-focused philosophy as they do and will do whatever it takes to make it right for the users. “Therefore, with our shared visions of making crypto more accessible to the world, we were more than comfortable with going through with the acquisition. I’m very optimistic for the future,” said Chan.

She goes on to explain how CoinMarketCap wants to help to catalyze the crypto revolution in their own unique way; “as the landing page of crypto, the port of call for anyone who wants to learn about crypto.” Chan is also pretty determined to continue to build CoinMarketCap in a way that is consistent with their vision. She explains:

“In our presentation delivered during our conference The Capital last year, we summarized our roadmap into three core aspects: Better data, more content and deeper industry partnerships. This will be our focus for the next year.”

She says she had received a ton of feedback from users and partners about how to make the experience better on CoinMarketCap. While tracking the traditional finance market is an interesting thought that users have asked about before, she still thinks the focus should continue to be on crypto. “There’s still a lot that we can do within the crypto space, so we’ll keep going at it,” said Chan.

Binance Lets CoinMarketCap Grow as an Independent Business

Whenever acquisitions like this happens, there is bound to be rumors. For example, CoinSpeaker heard rumors here that Binance had acquired CMC in order to manipulate the figures and the overall crypto market.

Chan says that Binance’s CEO CZ recognizes that CoinMarketCap as a standalone company has a great value and hopes to let it grow as an independent business. She stresses:

“Both of the teams have agreed that CoinMarketCap will remain neutral as it always has been. As you can imagine, there is no real long-term benefit to having Binance acquire CoinMarketCap, then destroy its brand and value quickly just to give Binance a temporary boost.” She added: “CoinMarketCap’s interest is in serving our millions of users, and that trust and neutrality is essential to our business, for our users to continue coming back and using our data. The key is to think long term and understand how we can keep growing CoinMarketCap’s value to the space and to our users in the long run.”

As for the future plans, Chan says the company will continue to reinvest its revenues into growing its team and build more features for the users.

“ We believe in growing businesses sustainably (especially looking at the recent spate of tech IPO troubles related to scaling high-growth, non-profitable businesses) and we’ll make sure we can continue to run CoinMarketCap this way. It will ensure that we remain independent and will be able to tackle challenges on our own in the future.”

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