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Who Are Crypto’s PayPal Mafia?

PayPal’s alumni created a whole raft of new companies, but is there an equivalent in crypto? It depends on what you define as a ‘company’.

Republished by Plato



In brief

  • Former PayPal employees have gone on to found several of technology’s biggest companies.
  • Coinbase is probably the closest when it comes to a direct comparison.
  • However, the Ethereum Foundation has produced bigger projects.

In the early 2000s, technology journalists noticed that a disproportionate amount of Silicon Valley’s great and good had all passed through one company at one time or another. 

That company was PayPal, and its alumni, referred to as the ‘PayPal Mafia’ included some of technology’s defining names. Peter Thiel, who after founding PayPal, went on to create data analytics giant Palantir and Founders Fund, the VC firm with more than $6 billion under management and a portfolio that includes Airbnb, Lyft, Spotify, and Stripe. 

Max Levchin, who was PayPal’s founder and CTO, went on to key roles at Yelp and Keynote, and Steve Chen, a former engineer at the company, went on to co-found YouTube. Roelof Botha, PayPal’s CFO became a partner at Sequoia Capital which invested in WhatsApp, Apple, Google, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and others resulting in a combined current public market value of $1.4 trillion – roughly equivalent to 22 percent of Nasdaq.

Then there’s Elon Musk, and we all know what he did next. That’s left many crypto watchers to ponder: Is there an equivalent company in crypto? 

Coinbase Mafia 

If the criteria is limited to one company, Coinbase comes the closest to emulating PayPal’s role as a kingmaker.

The crypto exchange’s former employees have gone on to found a whole range of different crypto projects. Olaf Carlson-Wee, the first employee at Coinbase departed not long afterward to set up Polychain Capital, the crypto hedge fund in 2016. 

Wee’s company has invested in DFinity, Coinbase, Kik, Compound and Celo. In the last 12 months, Polychain has taken part in deals worth $250 million in the last 12 months. 

Fred Ehrsam co-founded Coinbase alongside Brian Armstrong in 2012 after meeting in a Bitcoin subreddit forum. Ehrsam left in 2017 to set up investment firm Paradigm which invested in Compound, Uniswap, BlockFi, Chainalysis and crypto marketplace Zora. 

Antonio Juliano, who worked as a software engineer at the exchange for just over a year, went on to launch decentralized trading platform dYdX, which is backed by Polychain Capital. 

Preethi Kasireddy, another software engineer, left in 2017 to build TruStory, a crypto debating platform – that was shuttered in early 2020. 

Linda Xie and Jordan Clifford met at Coinbase before following in the footsteps of other alumni and launching their own investment fund. Scalar Capital invested in the likes of Dfinity, dYdX, and most recently Aleo, a privacy-focused software company. 

Nick Tomaino followed a similar tract with 1Confirmation, Joseph Urgo went on to found District0x, a network of decentralized marketplaces built on Ethereum and IPFS, Caleb Tebbe built Radar Relay, and Patrick Lorio set up MerkleX both of which offer a decentralized version of Coinbase’s exchange. 

While Coinbase’s ex-employees have gone on to define many aspects of the space, particularly around financing crypto, if we look at the founding members of the Ethereum Foundation – which is not a business in the same sense PayPal and Coinbase is – there’s an even more impressive list of former stablemates.  

Eth Mafia 

When Vitalik Buterin published Ethereum’s whitepaper in 2013, he quickly gathered a team around him that would go on to define not just Eth, but the broader crypto ecosystem too. 

Charles Hoskinson joined Buterin in late 2013, but left shortly afterwards over a dispute in the direction of the project. Hoskinson would subsequently team up with Dan Larimer to help him launch BitShares, the open-source crypto exchange – Larimer would subsequently go on to found Steem and EOS

Hoskinson meanwhile, founded IOHK, which in turn produced Cardano, one of the world’s biggest blockchains by market cap, and Emurgo, the blockchain tech company. 

Anthony Di Lorio was another early co-founder of Ethereum. Around the same time he got involved with Eth, he built KryptoKit, a crypto wallet that would be joined by Erik Voorhees, the founder of crypto trading company ShapeShift and Roger Ver – who would go on to become a proponent for Bitcoin Cash.

Di Lorio would move on from Ethereum to become the Toronto Stock Exchange’s first chief digital officer before going on to found Decentral, a crypto company that develops Jaxx, a popular crypto wallet. 

Next up in Ethereum’s original fab five is Mihai Alisie, and Amir Chetrit. Alisie and Buterin created Bitcoin magazine together to cover the growing cryptocurrency space, before starting Ethereum. Alisie left Ethereum in 2015 to set up Akasha, a social framework for Ethereum.

Buterin met Chetrit, a US-Israeli national, at a Bitcoin business conference in Amsterdam in September 2013. He was instrumental in creating Ethereum’s Swiss base, but departed the project after the second wave of Ethereum co-founders joined the fray. 

In that next wave, Gavin Wood, Joseph Lubin, and Jeffrey Wilke all became part of the project. Wood was working as a research scientist at Microsoft before joining Ethereum in 2013. In his three years at the project, he helped develop the coding language Solidity and was the Ethereum Foundation’s chief technology officer. 

In 2016, he left, along with another Ethereum Foundation alumni, Jutta Steiner to set up the Web3 Foundation, which has developed Polkadot, a network of interoperable blockchains with a market cap of nearly $40 billion.

Wilke was one of the most prolific developers on Ethereum, but left after a few years to set up Grid Games, a video game studio based in the Netherlands .

Joseph Lubin, who had previously worked in finance and was instrumental in the early financing of the project and exploring business models for the fledgling cryptocurrency. When he set sail from the project, he went on to create ConsenSys, an incubator for companies including MetaMask and Gitcoin, not to mention an editorially independent Decrypt. 

He has also been key in recruiting influential Ethereum partners—such as JPMorgan, CME Group, BNY Mellon, Credit Suisse, Banco Santander, BBVA, ING, UBS, BP, Intel, and Microsoft to take part in the space.

But the Ethereum Foundation’s role as a producer of subsequent projects didn’t stop there. The Nervos Network, an open-source public blockchain ecosystem, and collection of protocols, wallet maker Torus, blockchain and IoT company Oaken Innovations and the Raiden Network have all been built by Eth alumni. 

In true crypto fashion, the project that most emulates the payments giant is less a public listed company and more a decentralized network.

Sponsored by Saidler & Co.

This sponsored article was created by Decrypt Studio. Learn More about partnering with Decrypt Studio.

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CoinFlip Installs Its First Three Bitcoin ATMs in Alaska

The company aims to install four more ATMs in the state by the end of the summer.

Republished by Plato



CoinFlip, a leading Bitcoin ATM provider, announced that it had expanded its operations to Alaska, United States, by deploying three Bitcoin ATMs on Thursday. According to the company, it has also planned to install three additional Bitcoin ATMs by the end of this year’s summer in the state.

With the new machines installed in Anchorage, users will not only be able to buy Bitcoins (BTC) but Dogecoin (DOGE), Ethereum (ETH), and six other cryptocurrencies with 24/7 customer support. The locations are Anchorage Wine House at Minnesota, Anchorage Wine House at Huffman, and Anchorage Wine House at Jewel Lake. With the installation of the ATMs in Alaska, CoinFlip now has over 2,500 machines installed in 47 of the 50 states in the US.

About the announcement, Ben Weiss, CoinFlip CEO, commented: “We’re excited to bring CoinFlip ATMs to Alaska this month. It has been our mission to help build financial wealth through inclusive financial systems so that anyone interested in investing can participate. We look forward to connecting Alaskans with our award-winning customer service to make Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies more accessible to the local community.”

Other Companies Installing Bitcoin ATMs in the US

Another company joined the bandwagon of deploying Bitcoin ATMs in more US states. Finance Magnates reported in April that Coinme expanded operations in the state of Florida with the installation of more than 300 Bitcoin-enabled Coinstar kiosks.

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The Bitcoin cash machines have been strategically installed inside grocery chains like Winn Dixie, Fresco y Mas, and Harveys across small towns and big cities. The company aimed to bring Bitcoin purchasing facilities to the local groceries of the Florida residents.

Coinme is one of the major Bitcoin ATM operators in the United States, with around 6,000 Coinstar kiosks installed in supermarkets across 45 states.

According to CoinATMRadar metrics, United States has 18,936 Bitcoin ATMs, becoming the leader globally, followed by Canada with 1,526, and the United Kingdom with 196.

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What is Phemex’s all-new Learn and Earn program?





A decade ago, Bitcoin was merely a philosophical research paper for a new type of digital currency. Today, there is no major technology or financial publication or news portal with no cryptocurrency stories or blockchain news. 

From being ridiculed as magic internet money backed by thin air to narratives of the wild west, nerdy money, get-rich-quick schemes, and gaining mainstream consciousness as we settle into 2021, the crypto industry has indeed seen it all. 

Since Bitcoin’s inception over ten years ago, things have changed considerably. Industries across the world have embraced its underlying blockchain technology. Its main characteristics include decentralization, transparency, immutability, and automation that has the potential to create a multitude of use cases and replace legacy frameworks.

The digital asset industry has not been that lucky. The narrative of “Blockchain, not Bitcoin,” is still very much prevalent in several regions. Countries struggling with political instability and hyperinflation, such as Venezuela, and Argentina have witnessed a formidable interest in cryptocurrencies. The sentiment resembled the nations that have a massive unbanked local population. 

Today, the great dream of cryptocurrency is still very much alive despite all its struggles. The cryptocurrency industry has not only unlocked access to financial services for users around the globe it has also opened avenues for new applications. The remittance, for one, can be a nightmare for many living in developing countries. Crypto and blockchain technology aims to settle transactions instantly with significantly lower or even negligible fees. 

The main objective behind asset-backed tokens, on the other hand, is to grant ownership to assets like real estate and precious metals. In addition, stablecoins have their own use cases and have seen unprecedented growth because they trade uniformly with fiat. The list does not end there. 

While pessimism has dwindled, there is still plenty of skepticism around the entire asset class. 

What’s impeding crypto adoption?

There are numerous reasons for the hindrance. But one that stands out is the lack of education. It is a daunting issue that plagues the cryptocurrency industry even today, in this day and age when everything is just one click away. Many people don’t understand the industry. It is as simple as that. 

The digital asset realm is a complex one. While there are plenty of resources to fall back on, there need to be better and more accessible vehicles, one that is perfectly curated for the newbies – simple and easy-to-follow lessons on everything crypto and blockchain. And what’s better than earning a reward for learning this groundbreaking technology? Seems far-fetched? Not anymore. Pemex’s newly launched program dubbed ‘Learn and Earn’ aims to do just that.

Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Phemex is one of the most prominent platforms in the world. Just two years since it was first launched, Phemex has already emerged as one of the most trustworthy exchanges in the industry. Its user base exploded quickly to over a million traders, thanks to user-friendly platforms and unique offerings. 

It has recently rolled out an all-new educational program called “Learn and Earn,” which aims to provide users with simplified concepts on different cryptocurrency and blockchain-related concepts. This program includes an in-depth course structure coupled with intuitive lessons and interactive videos that offer a unique and fun learning process. But it does not end there. 

Phemex plans to reward its users via Learn and Earn after the completion of each lesson. How? Users will have to take a short quiz to test their knowledge, and if all the answers are correct, they will be incentivized. 

It is one of the most beginner-friendly and fun ways to learn more about the new financial world. Learn and Earn is put together into a few fundamental courses, each comprising its own set of sub-lessons. These cover introductory passages, explainer videos, and a final quiz for users to test their knowledge. Upon answering all questions correctly, Phemex offers a reward in the form of trading bonuses and cryptocurrencies. 

Lean and Earn’s first set of courses proceed with the platform’s essential features. This program encompasses some core concepts about the workings of cryptocurrencies and the process of buying, trading, and selling them on an exchange. Rewards will be in the form of trading bonuses that participants can use with perpetual contracts on Phemex to exercise their proficiency on the subject matter. 

In the days to come, Phemex also plans to broaden its course material and reward users directly in cryptocurrency assets. However, in order to receive rewards, the users are required to complete KYC protocols. As of now, the program is not widely available, but the team behind the project is working on expanding the Lean and Earn initiative on a global scale.

In short, Learn And Earn aims to cater to mainly the beginner but is also available for experienced crypto enthusiasts who seek to know more about the industry and how to trade digital assets seamlessly. This program is essentially for everyone who wants clarity and eventually wants to foray into the trading space of cryptocurrencies but does not know where to begin. It is open to anyone who wants to build a passive income stream by just learning about cryptocurrencies.

Incentivising users for learning about the technology, what a great way to spur adoption as well as trading activity! This will help more and more individuals dispel myths and filter out FUDs and FOMOs that are often endorsed by the critics and the flag bearers of centralized financial infrastructure.  

For the first course, there will be three lessons – each worth $2. So if you complete the first course you’ll get a total of $6. You can find more information on Phemex and their Twitter page.


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Ethereum to $20,000? Factors Behind The Bold Call

Republished by Plato



Ethereum could reach $20,000 by 2025 according to a Finder’s panel.

Ethereum has since been gaining momentum, starting out at $1,000 at the beginning of the year and reaching an all time high of $4,196.63, according to Coin Metrics. Before losing steam and dropping down to its current price at $2,400. Clocking an average growth rate of 197.4% in 2021.

This massive run has given the » Read more

” href=”” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin a lot of popularity. Ethereum currently ranks as the second most popular » Read more

” href=”” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin behind Bitcoin.

Related Reading | Billionaire Tim Draper: Bitcoin Will Reach $250,000 By The End Of 2022

With so much support pouring out for the » Read more

” href=”” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin, investors in the » Read more

” href=”” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin have been very bullish on it. Lots of analysts believe that Ethereum is poised to overtake Bitcoin as the most popular » Read more

” href=”” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin in the market. So much technological advancements are being carried out on the blockchain that its use cases seem to be endless.

Impact Of DeFi and NFTs

The growing popularity of decentralized finance (DeFi) and NFTs have helped to push the popularity of Ethereum. Giving it more use cases that benefits the investors in the » Read more

” href=”” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin.

About 70 percent of the panel agreed that with DeFi and NFTs, Ethereum now has more use cases than Bitcoin.

John Hawkins, senior lecturer at the University of Canberra, went against the grain to say more use cases would not necessarily benefit the » Read more

” href=”” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin. He expanded on this by saying that Ethereum will most likely get dragged down with Bitcoin. Despite having more use cases.

Ethereum price chart

Ethereum price sits below $2,5000 | Source: ETHUSD on

With staking and yield farming with DeFi, investors have found another way to put their investments to work, while at the same time benefiting the network.

With Ethereum 2.0 on the horizon, developers are looking to replace the existing Ethereum blockchain with a new one. This will help to solve the current bottlenecks of the network. It will also increase the number of transactions being made on the network. Hopefully helping to reduce the exorbitant fees being charged for transactions when network traffic is high.

Ethereum Predictions By Finder’s Panelists

The Finder’s panel consisted of a number of prominent panelists. Present were Dr. Iwa Salami from the University of East London. COO of BitBull Capital, Sarah Bergstrand. Vishal Shah, CEO of Alpha5. Head Economist at ConsenSys, Lex Sokolin. Amongst others.

A good number of the panel seemed to agree that while the » Read more

” href=”” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin might not have much further to run this year, the next four years is going to see a massive run.

CEO Vishal Shah was on the more conservative side. He predicted that the » Read more

” href=”” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin would not be worth much more than it is now. Putting it at just $4,000 by 2025. Shah believes that Ethereum will continue to perform. But that the unlimited supply of the » Read more

” href=”” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin is a demerit to it. He also added that Ethereum was in a race with other protocols for the its usability profile. And that there are other faster and cheaper chains that will rival the » Read more

” href=”” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin in the future.

Related Reading | TA: Ethereum Price Holds Strong, Why Dips Remain Limited Below $1,850

Others did not see this as a befitting forecast. Citing the upgrades being done on the network, Sarah Bergstrand, Chief Operations Officer at BitBull, gave a price prediction of $100,000 per ETH by the end of 2025. A staggering forecast.

She believes that mass adoption of Bitcoin will be followed by mass adoption of Ethereum. Also that the upgrades being carried out on the network will help to push the price higher.

Dr. Paul Ennis put his prediction at $10,000 by the end of 2025. Stating that Ethereum is currently undervalued.

Dr. Salami went on to give the » Read more

” href=”” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin a $20,000 forecast by 2025.

This brought the average of the panel’s predictions to $19,842 per ETH by 2025.

Featured image from Blockchain News, chart from

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