The team at CoinGecko is kinda like the DeFi market: They built in seclusion for a large part of the product’s initial days and then exploded onto the crypto scene in 2018-19—bootstrapping their way forward instead of taking on obscene amounts of money.
The story started when CoinGecko co-founders Bobby Ong and TM Lee bonded over Bitcoin back in 2013 and decided to built datasets both relevant and not available anywhere else) at the time. This included data on community, developers, trading volumes, and the like.
Fast forward to 2021, CoinGecko’s one of the most widely used and visited data site on the planet for cryptocurrencies. As per Similar Web, the site ranks 2,386th worldwide and attracts hundreds of thousands of views daily, even ahead of some big crypto exchanges.
Intrigued yet? You’re gonna have a blast of serious alpha now. Today, CoinGecko founder Bobby Ong sat down with Alex Fazel of Cryptonites, a crypto-centric edutainment channel by investing app SwissBorg, to discuss some of the current and upcoming topics in the crypto industry.
Ong kicked off by explaining a bit about how he ended up in the crypto market in the first place. “Back in 2013, everyone was sort of talking about this new form of money—Bitcoin—and I was curious because I spent like three years in London learning supposedly everything about money, but my lecturers did not mention Bitcoin at all. So I thought it was kind of odd.”
“Why did my lecturers not teach me about Bitcoin, which is another form of money? Either these tech guys on Hacker News or in Silicon Valley, they’re crazy or my lectures are obsolete,” remarked Ong in 2013 upon hearing about Bitcoin
With that spark, he went down the rabbit hole, discovering self-sovereign money and the allure of blockchains in the process.
The backdrop helped with the narrative as well: Bitcoin was created after the financial crisis in 2009, one that Ong felt was not sustainable given the government’s incessant money printing (They did it again in 2020, with the US alone printing upwards of $2 trillion.)
On DeFi and stablecoins
As per Ong, the DeFi market “definitely” took off last year. “I think in terms of decentralized exchanges, there was a big game-changer, right, like everyone was trading on centralized exchanges like Binance will be Coinbase,” he said.
He further explained how DeFi got to where it did so fast, “The liquidity and the stock feature makes it so simple. And anyone could participate. There were no KYC requirements. I thought it was a big thing. And then everybody kind of moved to Uniswap and liquidity mining, farming made the whole industry explode last year.”
Much of the above revolves around stablecoins like Tether, which has seen massive controversy in the past few years for its unaudited reserves, which clock at over $27 billion at the time of this writing.
Many industry proponents have spoken about the negatives of Tether, and it’s a risk that Ong cautions of as well, “I think Tether is indeed a big risk factor. I mean, it’s survived for so many years and the Bitfinex guys say that is regulated in the US.”
“I hope it is. I hope that they [Tether]wouldn’t go down because if it does, then it is a single biggest risk that it will take down the entire market as well,” said Ong on Tether.
However, there’s now a silver lining even if Tether runs into any legal troubles. How? Via the presence of newer stablecoins that are either regulated or duly audited. “If Tether goes down? Yes, it’s going to have an impact. But it wouldn’t have as large a systemic risk as it was two, three years ago,” he said.
On the predictions for 2021
Ong’s predictions for this year match with just about anyone following the space in the last year. “I think 2021 is going to be the year is the year of institutions, right? This will be the year like we’ll be talking about this from 2013.”
“They will want to have some sort of Bitcoin in the Treasury, because why not? Right, it is a headline-grabbing event and people will start to look at your stock and some of the more active more entrepreneurial guys will start to look into it.”
“I won’t be surprised if Tesla starts buying Bitcoin in whole unit Treasury,” predicted Ong on the institutional rush for Bitcoin in 2021.
Next are layer-2 applications and DeFi apps. “I DeFi is going to going to continue growing this year. If you look at the long scale of things devices, we will have like 10x or 100x growth in the next five years,” said Ong.
“You know, saying it sounds very easy to say five years, right, but try holding a token for five years. That’s actually a very hard thing, right?” he smirked.
Catch Ong talk about the CoinGecko ethos, stablecoins, DeFi, and 100s of other crypto stuff in the 33-minute Cryptonites interview. It’s available for streaming right below!