In an exclusive podcast on PANews’s The Conversation, PANews had the chance to speak with one of the biggest contributors in the crypto industry, Bobby Ong, on how CoinGecko is providing transparent crypto data and educating the masses on DeFi. Bobby shares with us his crypto introduction story and what inspired him to start CoinGecko. We then get deeper into the discussion of how CoinMarketCap no longer became independent after the acquisition by Binance. In hindsight, this has been a major catalyst for CoinGecko to shine and continue moving forward its brand.
For those who are not familiar with CoinGecko, Bobby tells novices:
“CoinGecko can be compared similarly to what Yahoo!Finance is for beginner stock investors”
Bobby’s story of when he got involved with crypto is similar to how most people got into the industry. The introduction of Bitcoin. As a student the University College London, was when he had the chance to see the magic of a bitcoin transaction take place and read the famous Bitcoin White Paper. As a fellow programmer himself who could understand more of the technics behind Bitcoin he thought:
“Either these programmers are crazy, or my lectures were outdated and obsolete”
This crypto rabbit hole led him down the path of stumbling upon such outdated looking crypto sites at the time and gave him the jolt to create something better. As for the name CoinGecko:
“We wanted something cute right from the start. Back then every crypto website was called coin something .com and we wanted to really choose an animal name. We kind of narrowed it down to two options between coingecko and cointeddy, we couldn’t call ourselves teddy because a teddy is a bear, which wouldn’t work out well in bear markets.”
Ever since 2014, him and his co-founder, T.M. Lee, have been building the foundations and algorithms in aggregating one of the industry’s best crypto data websites. Transparent, independent, ease of use, and free is what separates CoinGecko from its competitors. Adaptive and innovative are other characteristics bonafide by this year’s DeFi boom. And by in large, they have been very vocal about their love for DeFi by publishing their own How-to-DeFi book.
Bobby has also been vocal about Yam Finance despite its criticism:
“For the record I’m not supportive of a project who puts out an unaudited code and Yam is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t participate in unaudited projects. But we thought it was interesting and we added its token on CoinGecko first. We were getting so much traffic from it too that our website was going down a few times. Overall, i just thought of it as a fun experiment”
Although not officially announced yet, they are gearing up for a new initiative in CoinGecko Ventures which will focus on investing in DeFi projects.
“We’ve already invested in a few interesting DeFi projects and are pretty optimistic in the future of DeFi.”
When asked about how much did CoinGecko benefit from the rise of DeFi this year, he gave a good comparison check that we are still early in mass adoption.
“Rough estimate is that traffic was going up like 50% to 100%. For some context, we were doing like 10 million page views to now we are doing about 60 million page views. Through the summer our site probably attributed to about 2x in that overall growth. But for some comparison, we are nowhere near the traffic we saw back in 2017 and 2018. We are probably only doing about half of the traffic we had during the 2017-2018 ICO boom. Another stronger metric I tell other people to see where we are in the cycle is to track the term ‘bitcoin’ on Google trends.”
When asked about how he sees traders in the East versus the West, he simplifies it into a more fitting comparison.
“The crypto universe is segregated by China and then there’s the rest of China. For example, Filecoin and Polkadot are huge in China but don’t get that much fan fare outside of China.”
As CoinGecko gets a lot of comparisons to its closest competitor, CoinMarketCap (CMC), PANews asked him how he feels about the cut-throat competition:
“We have a lot more tokens than CMC and we adapt quicker. I think recently these days, CMC has been quite aggressive in copying us. For example, we had a trending search feature where users can see what coins users are searching for and CMC just copied that. I guess copying is the best form of flattery.”
On how Binance's acquisition of CoinMarketCap in April has been a "major catalyst" for CoinGecko's growth:
“I was kind of surprised by the acquisition of CMC from Binance. I’m sure most people in the space didn’t see that coming. Data aggregators should be neutral and independent. It’s easy to say something and the action speaks otherwise. But what we saw in the past few months was Binance making decisions on behalf of CMC. Before the acquisition, Binance was not ranked well on CMC but immediately afterwards, Binance jumped to the number 1 ranking. I think another big mistake they did was tagging BNB as the number 1 DeFi token. CMC has just been a way for Binance to blow their horns and use it as a big advertisement board for them.”
On the same note, PANews asked Bobby if his team would ever be open to being acquired:
“We get alot of requests and inquiries but we think the crypto market is going to get bigger and we want to be a part of that. If we do go through some M&A activity, it will be top of mind to still position CoinGecko as an independent brand. But ideally, an acquirer of CoinGecko should be someone neutral so that the brand of CoinGecko can continue to live on.”
On his thoughts on crypto analytics in general:
“I think crypto analytics is moving in the right direction but it will get more complex. Just look at Ethereum 2.0 for example, how are we going to measure the activities going on in multiple shards.”
And as the whole industry knows, trading volume is still one of the hardest metrics to get right and accurate.
“I definitely agree wash trading is still an issue. Trading volume is a metric that can’t be trusted anymore, unless it’s coming from a regulated exchange. But if an exchange is not regulated, the consequences for putting out fake data is just so low for these guys that it’s ok to do so. And if a regulator finds out a way an exchange is performing their wash trading volume, they will just change their methodology in wash trading so that they [regulators] can’t measure it.”