The crypto space is a peculiar mixture of idealists and opportunists; of true believers and rampant speculators; of HODLers and traders. What these groups have in common is the business of belief. Those low time preference folks who care about building the financial infrastructure for a new age need the speculators to provide capital to help networks grow. The speculators need the narratives, the memes, and the long-term vision of the other group to make their bets pay off.
For all their differences, these groups share a common infrastructure in the exchanges. Cryptocurrency exchanges were the first and remain the most important businesses built around crypto protocols. Their job is to make the business model of belief work. Yet they are more than just utility platforms for acquiring, selling, and gambling with crypto. Exchanges represent some of the most iconic brands in the crypto space and are led by some of the best known and most debated figures in the industry.
What it means to be a crypto exchange has changed wildly since the early days of bitcoin. In many ways, the history of crypto exchanges tells the story of the evolution of the industry as a whole. Exchanges are businesses, and opportunistic ones at that. As we watch them shift, change, and evolve, what we’re really watching is a rapid response to the changing demands of crypto markets.
That evolution is head spinning. In the early days, exchanges were simply trying to provide the most basic infrastructure necessary for buying and selling bitcoin. Today, exchanges are locked in a rapidly evolving battle for global supremacy, competing to stand out by offering ever-greater leveraged trading (or, on the other hand, greater compliance).
Which exchanges lead the global pack and why can be revealing. Take, for example, the shift from the long-tail ICO-era dominance of Binance to leveraged trading on BitMEX during the 2018 bear market. It wasn’t random chance that caused the shift from “When moon?” to a platform where one of the CEO’s favorite sayings is “Good traders swing both ways.” It was exchanges adapting to the needs of a different time.
We’ve organized this history of exchanges into a set of phases. Each of these phases tells the story of what it took to compete as an exchange at that time and what cycle the larger market was in.
We start not at Binance or Gox or even the very first exchanges like BitcoinMarket.com but back before bitcoin was even invented.
Quotes“If #bitcoin attracted people looking to disrupt the money system, @ethereum was a beacon for those looking out across the once disruptive, increasingly monopolistic Web 2.0 platforms.” ~ @nlw, curator of #LongReadsSunday Click To Tweet “If 2017 was the year of @binance, 2018 was the year of @BitMEXdotcom and its exotic products like the perpetual swap, a type of future that lacks a true expiration.” ~ @nlw, curator of #LongReadsSunday Click To Tweet "The story of exchanges is a powerful lens through which to understand the story of the cryptocurrency industry as a whole.” ~ @nlw, curator of #LongReadsSunday Click To Tweet
For many, the beginning of the crypto story starts with “Chancellor on the brink of a second bailout.”
But while bitcoin was a beginning, it was also the culmination of a huge amount of work that had gone before it. And just as those proto-cryptocurrencies impacted how bitcoin and everything that came after it was ultimately designed, pre-bitcoin exchanges would create their own dubious legacy that, in some ways, exchanges and all of the infrastructure around crypto are still trying to outrun.
For the purposes of this paper, we’re looking at just one of those crypto-type assets, e-gold. From the very beginning of the consumer internet and the days of AOL, some enterprising folks saw an opportunity to exchange value in new, electronic ways.
E-gold was founded in 1996. The idea was to give people the ability to transfer e-gold back and forth to one another with the value being backed by gold stored in vaults offline. In 1999, the Financial Times called e-gold “the only electronic currency that has achieved critical mass on the web.”
During the first phase of the company’s life (1996-1999), the operator of e-gold, Gold & Silver Reserve, Inc., offered exchange services. In 2000, the system was re-designed to separate settlement and issuance from exchange activities.
In short order, a new cottage industry emerged for exchanges that allowed users to move between fiat and e-gold. Many of those sites are still available via Internet Archive. In many ways, this generation of e-gold sites set the tone for the early crypto exchanges – particularly with regard to the intense regulatory and even criminal scrutiny that surrounded them.
Indeed, in many ways, the story of e-gold is the story of law enforcement action after law enforcement action, with the issues at hand being many of the same things that follow crypto to this day – fraud prevention, anti-money laundering, and money transmitter licensing.
One of the most prominent actions came when the FBI raided Gold Age, accusing it of facilitating millions of dollars in money laundering. The official statement about the raid reads like something that might have been said at the recent Congressional grilling of Mark Zuckerberg over Libra.
“The advent of new electronic currency systems increases the risk that criminals, and possibly terrorists, will exploit these systems to launder money and transfer funds globally to avoid law enforcement scrutiny and circumvent banking regulations and reporting,” said Assistant Director James E. Finch of the FBI’s Cyber Division. “The FBI will continue to work closely with the Department of Justice and our federal and international law enforcement partners to aggressively investigate and prosecute any, and all, persons or organizations that use these systems to facilitate child pornography distribution, to support organized crime, and to perpetrate financial crimes.”
As an interesting aside, the founder of Gold Age would also go on to found Liberty Reserve – another digital currency that, for a time after PayPal started blocking bitcoin exchanges, was used like a proto-Tether as an on- and off-ramp for BTC. Liberty Reserve would eventually be shut down in 2013, and in 2016, founder Arthur Bukovsky Bellanchak was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to 20 years.
On a Bitcoin Talk thread around the time of the conviction, a discussion sprang up around what made bitcoin different and whether bitcoin would suffer the same fate.
The connection between crime and digital currencies remains a powerful source of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) that shapes the exchange space and the industry as a whole to this day.
These early exchanges portend another challenge as well. This is the tension between protocols/digital assets on the one hand and businesses that allow people to interact with them on the other. This tension has grown as exchanges get more and more powerful in the context of modern cryptoassets.
But now, let’s turn our attention to crypto itself and to the earliest bitcoin exchanges.
The Early Years
While Mt. Gox might be the most iconic name among early bitcoin exchanges, it was not the first.
That honor goes to Bitcoin Market. On January 5th, 2010, Bitcoin Talk member dwdollar wrote “Hi everyone, I’m in the process of building an exchange. I have big plans for it, but I still have a lot of work to do. It will be a real market where people will be able to buy and sell bitcoins with each other. In the coming weeks I should have a website with a basic framework set up, please bear with me.”
A few months later, on March 17, 2010, BitcoinMarket.com went live. Initially, PayPal was used as a means of exchanging BTC for fiat, but as bitcoin grew, so did the number of scammers in the space, eventually leading PayPal to break with Bitcoin Market and leave traders looking for other options.
In the months following Bitcoin Market’s launch, numerous other exchanges went live. Without a doubt, the most notable of this wave of exchanges was Mt. Gox, which opened its doors in July 2010. More on that in the next section.
During these early years, exchanges were incredibly barebones affairs. They weren’t focused on listing a long tail of altcoins or competing on features with derivative products. They were more or less just trying not to be hacked and lose everyone’s money all the time.
For some context, the entire market cap of bitcoin didn’t reach $1m until Nov 6, 2010. The price of a single bitcoin didn’t reach $1 until February 9, 2011. These were early, early days.
2011 saw an uptick in activity. Around the world, new exchanges were opening up to allow local fiat conversion. March saw the launch of Bitcoin Brasil, with Bitmarket.eu following shortly in April.
During this time period, there were big issues in payment processing and hacks. Bitcoin Market dropped PayPal in June 2011. A few weeks later, in July of that year, Bitomat lost 17,000 bitcoins.
2012 continued this story. Tradehill, one of the largest US exchanges at the time, shut down in February. Exchanges like Bitcoinica and Bitfloor were hacked.
But inescapably, the story of this early period of bitcoin exchanges is defined by Mt. Gox.
The Gox Years
Mt. Gox. One of the most iconic and infamous brands in the history of crypto. It is a story big enough to fill books and one that remains ongoing. The purpose of this section isn’t to provide a full history, but to provide the highlights of the most successful and cataclysmic exchange of its day.
The Mt. Gox domain was originally registered by Jed McCaleb (who would go on to help build Ripple and Stellar) as a place to trade cards from the popular game Magic the Gathering (Magic The Gathering Online eXchange), but by July 2010, it had launched as the bitcoin exchange that would go down in infamy.
Like all exchanges in that early period, Gox struggled with payment processing. In October 2010, it moved away from PayPal and for a time used Liberty Reserve (yes, the same Liberty Reserve mentioned above).
While McCaleb started the site, it wasn’t long before he departed. Gox was sold to Frenchman Mark Karpeles in March 2011. Over the next three years, it would go on to become the biggest bitcoin exchange in the world by a significant amount. At its peak, it handled between 70% and 80% of all bitcoin transactions. This phenomenal success would also set it up for spectacular failure.
On February 24th, 2014, Ryan Selkis took to his TwoBitIdiot Tumblr to report disturbing rumblings from Gox. “I have received an unverified report from an otherwise reliable source, which is purportedly from Mt. Gox, the document, which is titled Crisis Strategy Draft, outlines the current situation at the exchange. I trust the authenticity but have work to do to verify the document 100% by myself. I will do so feverishly.”
That strategy document started with the sentence “At the risk of appearing hyperbolic, this could be the end of bitcoin at least for most of the public,” and went on to report that a devastating number of bitcoins appeared lost forever.
In his post, Selkis went on to say “this is catastrophic and I’m sorry to share this. I do believe that this is one of the existential threats to Bitcoin that many have feared and have personally sold all of my Bitcoin holdings through Coinbase…I believe this will be catastrophic for Bitcoin, both as a currency and as a fledgling industry. If this is a hoax, it is one I am fully blindsided by. I fear however that it is not.”
Ryan would not be the last person in the crypto community to find themselves in disbelief. Within a week or two, the rumors proved true and the collective shock registered. The numbers were staggering. Some 850,000 bitcoins – worth $473 million at the time and reflecting 7% of the total supply of bitcoin, had simply disappeared.
Somehow, the story kept getting worse. First, as it turned out, Mt. Gox had known about the breach for something like 8 months before going public with it. Second, the actual hack occurred in late 2011. Effectively, someone had figured out how to access exchange wallets and for the next 2 years, in 9 out of 10 instances, coins on Gox were being stolen and sold as soon as they came in. Despite the value of the lost bitcoins being nearly $500 million at the time of the announcement, because they had been sold immediately upon entering the system, it is estimated that the hackers made far less.
Mt. Gox went into bankruptcy. Later, Mark Karpeles would be arrested in Japan on a different charge, data manipulation. He would spend a year in jail.
There is a final, crazy wrinkle to the sordid affair. After the hack was announced, Gox discovered 200,000 bitcoins that had been sitting untouched in a wallet for 3 years. Because of the intervening increase in the price of bitcoin, those 200k BTC are worth much more today than the claims that have come in (which, unfortunately for creditors, were denominated in USD – not in BTC). Once the claims are paid off, Karpeles could actually receive a windfall.
For a person who has gone through an endless parade of lawsuits and death threats, this is a nightmare. There is now a plan to engineer a “civil rehabilitation” where the company comes back from bankruptcy solely to distribute the assets.
But that’s a story of now. The more relevant piece for our history of exchanges is the devastating impact of Gox on the industry.
The fallout would be a months-long bear market that had begun in the wake of the October 2013 Silk Road shutdown and a fundamentally new disposition for exchanges.
A quick note here. For the sake of keeping this already massive piece somewhat contained, we’re going to be glossing over a couple years before picking up the story in the Altcoin Rebirth.
This isn’t an argument that nothing important was happening. Far from it. New exchanges were being born that were, on the one hand, building better systems so as to avoid being another Gox and at the same time experimenting with new strategies, like avoiding fiat altogether and focusing exclusively on crypto-to-crypto trading.
For the sake of this narrative, however, we’ll pick up the exchange story with the birth of Ethereum and the new wave of altcoins and “initial coin offerings” that would spin up around its ERC-20 standard and change exchange practices and the industry as a whole.
As we dive in here, it’s important to contextualize Ethereum not just in terms of what ICOs did to exchanges, but in terms of the new creative and intellectual space it opened up for the industry as a whole.
On the one hand, bitcoin is an open, permissionless protocol and a digitally native way to transfer value that solves the double-spend problem.
On the other, bitcoin’s origins have a distinctly political bent. At its beginning, bitcoin represented, at least in part, a Libertarian critique of the modern money system. This is seen in both architectural and design decisions of the system – most notably in the undebaseable 21 million bitcoin hard cap – as well as in the flair and flourish of the headline, “Chancellor on the brink of a second bailout” in the Genesis block.
Of course, as an open network, bitcoin didn’t require any one type of belief to be used, and it wasn’t long before developers interested in the underlying technology tried to build things with it.
Some of those developers found that there were simply too many limits and looked for other places to build. One such project was Ethereum.
Ethereum brought a number of advances, with the core idea being about not just the exchange of value but the programmability of the value exchange. It wasn’t long before the potential attracted a new wave of would-be disrupters. If bitcoin attracted people looking to disrupt the money system, Ethereum was a beacon for those looking out across the once disruptive, increasingly monopolistic Web 2.0 platforms.
The thesis was two parts. First, that Web 2.0 platforms suffered when their owners’ need for profits outweighed the needs of platform users. And second, that tokenization would obliterate the distinction between owners and users – in effect making all users owners.
The challenge, of course, would be overcoming network effects to defeat those big incumbent platforms. Tokens offered an answer. In a normal network, value is slow to accrue because the value of the network is limited by the small number of participants. Tokens would create an additional incentive for early network participants to join, accelerating the adoption curve.
This was the theory.
In practice, ERC-20 tokens would not become known for their network-building properties but for how they radically simplified, streamlined and sped up borderless global fundraising.
As the ICO boom took hold, fundraising through tokens quickly outpaced traditional seed-stage venture capital. People who weren’t accredited investors and, as such, had been denied the ability to participate in technology investing saw their stakes in exciting new protocols surge 100% in a day.
Volumes have been and will be written about the perfect storm of factors that caused the ICO boom, but the goal of this piece is to hone in on exchanges specifically. If each epoch of crypto has a characteristic exchange that embodies what that period was about, there can be no doubt that for the 2017 explosion, it was Binance.
Binance was the classic overnight success story that actually revealed years of previous hard work.
The overnight part is already fabled in crypto lore.
Within 3 days, he had a white paper written in both English and Chinese. 9 days later, the ICO began. Within just a week after that, the ICO was wrapped and Binance had raised $15m.
Behind this (unbelievable) timeline, however, is a much deeper story. CZ and many of his team had been building in the crypto exchange space for years. The trading system and matching engine that Binance launched with was actually the fifth generation of a trading system that they had built. Prior to Binance, CZ and his team had been building white-label crypto infrastructure for exchanges, allowing them to focus on issues like compliance and liquidity.
The point is that when Binance ICO’d, it was ready to execute. And execute it did.
Within 5 months, Binance was the world’s number one crypto exchange by volume, and the milestones didn’t stop. Three months after that, Binance hit 120,000 users. 3 months after that, 1 million users. Just one week after that, 2 million users. From a revenue perspective, Binance became the fastest growing startup in history.
On the one hand, Binance’s incredible growth reflected the decade of work CZ and co. had put into exchange infrastructure both in the crypto space and in traditional markets, plus a massively higher-than-average execution capacity.
On the other hand, it also reflected the absolute madness of the ICO era. For a short window between mid-2017 and mid-2018, exchanges were competing almost entirely on the basis of which long-tail ICO assets they had listed.
Because Binance was able to so quickly move into a leadership role, it was able to provide tokens with the most liquidity, which, in turn, made it the most desirable place to list. In this way, the company established an incredibly powerful self-reinforcing feedback loop and network effect that further accelerated its lead in the space.
What’s more, Binance did introduce some innovations that would come to be copied by many exchanges. Perhaps the most notable was the introduction of their native BNB token. BNB offered holders a number of benefits. First, trade fees paid in BNB would be 50% less than those paid in anything else. Second, BNB holders of a certain size would receive even further discounts.
Perhaps most interestingly, Binance pledged that it would burn 20% of its quarterly profits in BNB – a built-in mechanism to decrease velocity and create positive price pressure for the token. As of this writing, the company has burned more than $200m in BNB – suggesting a cumulative profit of over $1B.
At the same time, as we know, the ICO boom didn’t last. It wouldn’t be long before interest in long-tail tokens dried up and the exchange model would have to reinvent itself once again.
This essay is about the history of exchanges, not a critical dissection of their business model. Before we move on to the 2018 bear market, we would be remiss not to mention some of the critiques of the exchange model during the ICO boom.
Those fleeting months created massively dangerous incentive alignments. In particular, you had a tripartite incentive alignment between token builders, coin ranking sites, and exchanges. In short, everyone had an incentive for everything to seem white-hot. Altcoin developers wanted the profits from liquidity on exchanges and the traffic (leading to more liquidity) from the coin ranking sites. Coin ranking sites wanted markets to stay hot to juice their traffic to be able to sell ads. Exchanges wanted to appear to have the highest volumes on coin ranking sites in order to be able to charge higher listing fees from projects.
For a more complete articulation of this moment in history, check out Nic Carter’s “The Dark Underbelly Of Cryptocurrency Markets.”
For our purposes, the important takeaway has to do with the exchange business model. In short, it was an accident of history, not a fundamental feature at the core of exchange success during the ICO period. To survive and thrive, exchanges would have to reinvent themselves again, and that’s exactly what they did.
The Modern Era
As we move into the modern era, the lines between these epochs or eras of crypto get increasingly blurry. The one commonality is that in the exchange business, it is less possible than ever to sit still and rely on a model that worked 3 months ago.
We left off at the end of the ICO markets and the beginning of what would be a 9-12 month bear market. If exchanges had been able to rely on big listing fees propped up by hype and traders looking for the next pump, the bear market would mean something very different.
Interest in altcoins dried up. ICOs died. Liquidity evaporated. For many exchanges, it meant the end of easy times.
One exchange leader who wasn’t worried at all was Arthur Hayes of BitMEX.
Coming out of the traditional financial world, Hayes had always been less interested in spot trading long-tail assets and more interested in the sort of futures and other derivative products that make mainstream markets more efficient (and, for traders like him, more fun).
Among their other attributes, these products allow good traders to make money in both bull and bear markets. And, of course, within the context of cryptoassets, there were entirely new possibilities.
If 2017 was the year of Binance, 2018 was the year of BitMEX and its exotic products like the perpetual swap, a type of future that lacks a true expiration. BitMEX also had a fundamentally different approach to leveraged trading. While they weren’t the only player in the space to allow leveraged trading, they radically ramped up the opportunity – allowing for up to 100x leverage.
What about today? Since April 2019, bitcoin has been back on the climb. The market is, if not the white-hot ICO days, significantly better than it was in the back half of 2018.
We believe that there are at least four major trends shaping the exchange business model today:
Perhaps even more notably, however, is the role of derivatives in bringing in a new wave of institutional investors. News recently broke that part of the reason the CFTC greenlit CME bitcoin futures was that they believed that by allowing institutions to short bitcoin it would deflate a potentially dangerously overheated bubble and help the industry mature into something more ready for the mainstream.
The CME, however, isn’t the only game in town. Bakkt is a new exchange owned by Intercontinental Exchange, the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange. They recently launched physically-settled futures. Whereas cash-settled futures are settled in the USD value equivalent of the trade, physically-settled futures see actual bitcoin changing hands, creating the possibility of more positive demand pressure.
Bakkt came out of the gate with something less than a bang. However, in the past couple of weeks, volume has skyrocketed.
Bloomberg recently published a piece on the importance of futures to crypto markets entitled “Futures Are Pulling Cryptocurrencies Out Of The Dark”. According to the article, “Futures trading has grown from almost nothing to about 50% of spot trading… It has reduced both actual and implied volatility, increased liquidity, broadened the investor base, improved portfolio management and soothed regulatory concerns.”
As more traditional investors enter the space, we expect more and more activity around financial instruments that mirror the mainstream world.
Native Tokens, IEOs, Native Chains
Even as ICOs wound down and attention shifted to BitMEX and their perpetual swaps, Binance continued to innovate. Over the course of the downturn, their BNB token was one of the best-performing assets in the market.
In January 2019, Binance announced Launchpad, a platform for token launches and distribution that would take the old “Initial Coin Offering” and replace it with an “Initial Exchange Offering” or IEO.
Of course, there would be some differences. First, there were limits to the number of people who could participate. Second, there were limits to the allocations that each of those participants had available. At the same time, however, whereas some of the betting around ICOs was that tokens would later find exchanges to list on, IEOs would come with built-in liquidity from the hosting platform.
Initially, many were worried that IEOs would be like ICOs all over again. As soon as Binance announced Launchpad, competitor exchanges raced to release their own offerings.
A few months on, however, it is clear that IEOs are not fueling the same sort of irrational exuberance that came with coin offerings the first time around. The different design decisions seem to have put limits around how impactful they can be, and across the market, IEO performance has been highly variable. In the context of the shifting exchange model, it seems likely that exchanges will continue to use IEO-type offerings to provide preferred access to some new tokens, but that IEOs will constitute just one part of a larger strategy.
Lastly, one other innovation from Binance is worth noting. In February of this year, the company launched Binance Chain, a native blockchain designed to, in their words, do “one thing very well: exchange assets.” The first use case of Binance Chain is the Binance DEX, which brings us to our third contemporary exchange trend, decentralized exchanges.
The crypto industry was founded on the idea of decentralization – in other words, censorship resistance and open, permissionless access that comes from the removal of centralized control and intermediation. There is an irony, then, to the fact that exchanges, the most powerful institutions in the industry and the companies by which a huge percentage of individuals interface with the industry, are traditional, highly centralized entities.
Enter decentralized exchange or DEX. DEXes aren’t, strictly speaking, a brand new invention. Bancor, which held an (at the time, biggest in history) $153m ICO, has been offering DEX-style exchange services since 2017.
At the same time, however, late 2018 and 2019 have seen significant advances in the space. First, we’ve seen a maturation of protocols like 0x, which specifically supports the creation of new DEXes. Second, and in some ways more significantly, we’ve seen the first breakout DEX in Uniswap.
Uniswap came out of an Ethereum hackathon and quickly rocketed to prominence as the most-used DEX, even competing against Bancor. One of the central differentiations of Uniswap is that there is no native token required to use it. Other systems, such as Bancor and DEXes built with 0x, require the use of a token native to the protocol which, for all the theoretical benefits around things like governance, still ultimately creates a new layer of friction. It may be that there are use cases where certain benefits are worth that friction, but what’s clear right now is that Uniswap’s friction-free, tokenless model has struck a nerve.
The Compliance Divide
Crypto regulation is fraught with confusion and complication – sometimes even within a single jurisdiction. From the very earliest days, exchanges have been likely to pack up and move to a more favorable (or simply clearer) regulatory regime.
Take Binance, for example. The company started in Hong Kong, and then in quick succession moved to Japan and Taiwan before finally landing in Malta.
In today’s market, there is a distinct compliance divide shaping the industry. On the one hand are exchanges that are moving away from serving the US in order to avoid regulatory scrutiny and to be able to continue innovating new products and services to stay competitive. Poloniex, for example, recently spun out of Circle in order to leave the US and focus on innovating within Asian markets.
On the other, there are exchanges that are specifically trying to cater to the highly regulated US market. Gemini blanketed New York City in 2019 with advertisements talking about how “crypto needs rules” – clearly trying to make compliance a brand position.
What’s more, talk of compliance goes beyond just advertising. 2019 has seen a decided emphasis on industry self-regulation as a new crop of professional organizations seek to rout out bad behavior like wash trading, which artificially inflates volumes to boost listing fees. An exemplary moment came in Bitwise’s testimony to the SEC as part of their ETF proposal process, during which they argued that some 95% of bitcoin volume was fake. (Note: it was in response to the increasing prevalence of fake volume and exchange volume spamming that Nomics developed its Exchange Transparency Ratings).
This is a history that doesn’t have an end. Indeed, as should be clear from the array of trends shaping today’s markets, if anything, the diversity of strategies used by exchanges and the speed with which they iterate is increasing.
What is hopefully clear is that the story of exchanges is a powerful lens through which to understand the story of the cryptocurrency industry as a whole. They are both trend takers – responding to consumer demand – as well as trend makers, offering new products and services that shape what this nascent market comes to expect. They function as barometers of the regulatory climate, while also representing some of the most powerful institutions capable of lobbying governments for favorable regulatory approaches.
The battles for exchange supremacy will be some of the most titanic in the industry and will shape it for years to come. Get your popcorn.
Nathaniel Whittemore works with crypto funds and projects on communications and strategy, with an emphasis on understanding and utilizing market narratives. On Twitter @nlw, he is known for his Long Reads Sunday threads. Before accepting the call of crypto Cthulhu, Whittemore built a global impact program design center later endowed for $100m at his alma mater Northwestern University and was eventually lured to Silicon Valley to help scale impact with Change.org. In his decade in SF, he bounced between venture capital and helping big corporations like Coca-Cola, L’Oreal, and MasterCard understand new technology and adapt their marketing strategies. He is glad to have his soul back.
Clay Collins is currently the CEO and Co-founder at Nomics (which has a crypto market cap listing of its’s own) and Board Chair at Drip/Leadpages. Clay hosts The Flippening podcast. Before co-founding Nomics, Clay founded Leadpages, where he drove growth to over 48K paying customers (and 175 employees), led the company’s acquisition of Drip, and raised $38M in venture capital financing. Clay is most responsive on Twitter and Linkedin.