"I have learned more on the street than in any classroom."
In the Silicon Valley venture capital circle, the "PayPal Gangster" is a topic that cannot be avoided. The term first appeared in an article in Fortune magazine, which mentioned that since PayPal was acquired by eBay in 2002, most of the early important employees of PayPal chose to leave or start their own business, but they still maintain each other. Close contact, like the mafia organization, controls this American technology industry.
In fact, there are a lot of talents who enter the market every day. They have the potential to become superstars in this emerging field, and maybe even build the next Coinbase. In addition, some of the more sophisticated encryption companies are also trying to dig people to create more impressive derivatives.
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It is undeniable that ideology plays a very important role in the establishment of companies by entrepreneurs. For investors, understanding and mastering the flow of talent in the market is also crucial. Drawing on this concept, this paper aims to explore the formation and flow of talent pools in the current encryption industry.
In order to facilitate classification, we intend to divide the early " encrypted gangs " into four categories according to industry types : native encryption circle, technology circle, finance (Wall Street) circle and academic circle .
Since 2009, a total of 186 encryption companies have been derived from these four industry categories, 33% from academia, 28% from the encryption field, 24% from the technology industry, and 15% from Wall Street.
Before summarizing the "encryption gang", we hope to briefly introduce the three overall divisions and evaluation criteria:
1. The founder must work in a previous company or organization for more than 6 months to be considered, that is, if you are just a summer intern, we may not include you;
2. At least two well-known companies (or funds) are derived from the “gang” parent company or university;
3. We did not consider the employment or education situation of the founder of the encryption startup before 2009, because Bitcoin did not appear at that time. Let's take a look at these new "encrypted gangs" with everyone.
Native encryption circle
1. Cryptographic exchange Coinbase (derived 10 encryption organizations)
The San Francisco-based Coinbase has recently valued $8 billion, but the employees derived from Coinbase are as impressive as their valuations. Coinbase's students have launched encryption investment funds, protocols, DApps, and other cryptocurrency businesses with a wide range of coverage.
The most typical examples are:
- Polychain, Investment Fund (Olaf Carlson-Wee)
- Paradigm, Investment Fund (Fred Ehrsam)
- DyDx, Decentralized Derivatives Trading Platform (Antonio Juliano)
- Scalar Capital, Investment Fund, Linda Xie, Jordan Clifford
- 1Confirmation, Investment Fund (Nick Tomaino)
- TruStory, authenticity verification platform (Preethi Kasireddy)
- District0x, Decentralized Market (Joseph Urgo)
- Radar Relay, decentralized trading platform (Caleb Tebbe)
- Blocksphere, blockchain application development (Cailen Sullivan)
- MerkleX, trading platform (Patrick Lorio)
2. Ethereum Foundation (derived 9 encryption organizations)
The Ethereum Foundation was founded in 2013, when Vitalik Buterin released the Ethereum white paper, which quickly attracted the attention of some of today's most well-known encryption entrepreneurs.
The original founding team of Ethereum has five people: Vitalik Buterin, Anthony Di lorio, Charles Hoskinson, Mihai Alisie and Amir Chetrit .
In 2014, with the addition of Joe Lubin, Gavin Wood and Jeffrey Wilk , the team expanded to eight. The Ethereum Foundation now has approximately 90 full-time contributors focused on research, blockchain development, technology deployment implementation and grants.
Some of the most ambitious projects in the encryption industry today come from founding members of the Ethereum Foundation, such as:
- Cardano, public chain project (Charles Hoskinson)
- Polkadot, cross-chain project (Gavin Wood, Ken Kappler)
- ConsenSys, Blockchain Technology R&D and Incubation (Joseph Lubin)
- Jaxx, multi-chain wallet (Anthony Di Iorio)
Other encryption projects derived from the Ethereum Foundation include:
- Nervos, public chain project (Jan Xie)
- Torus, Distributed Key Management Technology (Leonard Tan, Zhen Yu)
- Oaken Innovations, Blockchain and IoT Platform (Hudson Jameson)
- Alchemist, Consulting and Investment Agency (Steven Nerayoff)
- Raiden Network, Lightning Network Micropayment Agreement (Heiko Hees)
3. ConsenSys (derives 8 encryption organizations)
Founded by Joe Lubin at the end of 2014, ConsenSys is one of the largest organizations in the cryptocurrency industry . In 2018, ConsenSys had more than 1,000 employees and they also hatched many well-known encryption projects such as MetaMask, Gnosis and Infura .
Since it is difficult to define whether the ConsenSys incubator project and the departing company's own founding company meet the evaluation criteria of our “encrypted gang” organization, the statistics here do not include the incubator, only those who leave ConsenSys and start their own business. Encryption company, including:
- SuperRare, the rare digital art trading platform (John Crain)
- Terminal, Decentralized Application Platform (Harrison Hines)
- Spankchain, Decentralized Adult Content Platform (Ameen Soleimani)
- Vulcanize, Blockchain Technology Services (Rick Dudley)
- DARMA Capital, Investment Fund (Andrew Keys, James Slazas)
- Coin Metrics, open source digital asset analysis tool (Tim Rice)
- Torus, Distributed Key Management Technology (Zhen Yu, Leonard Tan)
- Tiger Trading, professional trading tool (Alan Keegan)
4. Other gangsters derived from the encryption industry
Zhao Changpeng , the founder of the cryptocurrency exchange currency, worked at Blockchain for a long time and also worked as a development supervisor. He then founded the currency security in 2017.
Others who have left Blockchain's own business include: portfolio investment management tools Interchange (Dan Held, Clark Moody) and investment fund Queschain (QJ Wang, who also served as executive director of the Ethereum Foundation);
- Digital Currency Group (DCG) Blockchain Startup Incubator
The members of the "DCG Gangster" mainly include: research institute Messari (Ryan Selkis) and investment fund CoinShares (Meltem Demirors);
Kraken is Europe's largest cryptocurrency exchange, but the number of "gangsters" members does not seem to be as much as people expected, the most famous of which is only Chainalysis (chain forensics and data analysis agency) co-founder Michael Gronager, James MacWhyte with multi-chain wallet Breadwallet , Jack Liu for payment protocol RelayX and Kazuyoshi Mishima for data security facility Keychain ;
The encryption company that comes out of the small ant blockchain has the Ontology ontology blockchain and the Nebulas nebula chain;
- R3 Enterprise Blockchain Alliance
Tezos blockchain and Coase (Kathleen Breitman);
- OKEx predecessor OKCoin exchange
RelayX, Binance, Bibox, Coinbene, and Bytom;
- Ripple Ripple
When it comes to Ripple, people don't think about Ripple (XRP). In fact, Ripple Labs has built a network of "well-known encryption companies and alumni", including Stellar (Jed McCaleb), wave field Tron (Sun Yuchen), Interledger, Coil (Stefan Thomas, Ben Sharafian) and Fractal Investments (Tim Lewkow).
An interesting story broke out: "V God" applied for a Ripple intern in 2013 .
- Voltaire Hacks
Virtual reality platform Decentraland, smart contract development framework Zeppelin, distributed system design Nomic Labs.
The size of the tech giants is usually very large, and it makes the analysis of gang members in this field the most difficult thing, even accessing thousands of LinkedIn profiles. In addition, there is a lot of communication between Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo employees. Some people may have moved to another technology giant after working for one or two years.
1. Google (derived 11 encryption organizations)
Headquartered in Mountain View, Google is the technology giant that contributes the most talent to the encryption industry. Eleven encryption companies were founded by former Google employees, the most famous of which include:
- Basis , the stable currency project that has declared failure (Nader Al-Naji, Lawrence Diao)
- TrustToken , Stabilized Coin Project (Rafael Cosman)
- Harmony , the project (Stephen Tse, Minh Doan)
- Near Protocol , distributed protocol (Illia Polosukhin)
- CoinTracker , Encrypted Asset Tax Management (Chandan Lodha, Jon Lerner)
- FalconX , agency and broker solution (Raghu Yarlagadda)
- Loopring , Landmark Trading Agreement (Daniel Wang)
- CertiK , Security Audit Service Provider (Ronghui Gu)
- Prysmatic Labs , Sharding Technology Solutions (Preston Van Loon)
- Gifto , a virtual gift agreement based on blockchain
- Nebulas , Nebula Chain
2. Facebook (derived 8 encryption organizations)
Although Libra has recently made headlines in the tech world, many of the employees who left Facebook are also silently contributing to the encryption industry, such as:
- Near Protocol , distributed protocol (Evgeny Kuzyakov)
- Vault , wallet (John Egan, Cole Potrocky)
- Bitwise , Index and Fund (Hunter Horsley, Hong Kim)
- Autonomous Partners , Investment Fund (Arianna Simpson)
- YGC Capital , Investment Fund (Henry Liu)
- Morgan Creek Digital , Asset Management (Anthony Pompliano)
- BitGo , wallet (Ben Davenport)
- Electric Capital , Asset Management (Curtis Spencer, Avichal Garg)
(Chain smell note: Obviously, the original author missed the public chain project created by the Facebook Alumni membership cycle QuarkChain and the wallet service provider Cobo founded by Jiang Changhao)
3. AngelList (derived 4 encryption organizations)
Founded in 2010, AngelList aims to democratize venture capital and has now evolved into a talent exchange and corporate finance platform. Companies founded by the "Encryption Gangster" derived from AngelList include:
- CoinList , a compliance solution for initial token distribution (Naval Ravikant)
- Republic , equity crowdfunding platform (Ken Nguyễn)
- DragonFly Capital Partners , Investment Fund (Alex Pack)
- Battlestar Capital , Strategic Consulting, Security, Staking Service (Adam Carver).
Tied for the third: Microsoft (derived 4 encryption organizations)
Microsoft is currently the world's largest company by market value, and they rank third with AngelList in the technology industry "encryption gang" ranking. Encryption companies founded by former Microsoft employees include:
- Dharma , blockchain (Brendan Forster)
- TrustToken , Stabilizing Coin Project (Tory Reiss)
- Near , distributed protocol (Alex Skidanov)
- Dirt Protocol , Distributed Information Management Protocol (Yin Wu)
4. Other gangsters derived from the encryption industry
Coinbase exchange (Brian Armstrong) and SFOX block trading platform (Akbar Thobhani);
IDEX Decentralized Exchange and Harmony Blockchain (Leo Chen);
Qokka.ai cryptocurrency information aggregation platform, WeTrust financial authorization platform, Harmony blockchain (Alok Kothari);
FBG Investment Fund (Zhou Shuoji), IDEX Decentralized Exchange (Alex Wearn);
- Paypal PayPal
Simplex (purchasing encrypted assets with a credit card) and Origin;
Hashletes (Michael Anderson, Brennan Erbeznik), Morgan Creek Digital Asset Management (Pomp);
Interstellar Payment Network (Brit Yonge), OpenSea Rare Digital Asset Trading Platform (Alex Atallah), Lydian Capital Investment Fund (Eric Denovitzer);
OpenSea's rare digital asset trading platform (Devon Finzer) and Alchemy's Ethereum infrastructure (Joseph Lau);
DCG Blockchain Startup Incubator, Grayscale Investments Grayscale Asset Management, Coindesk Media.
Financial Circle (Wall Street)
1. Goldman Sachs Group (derived 8 encryption organizations)
Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs did not disappoint us. They have cultivated many outstanding entrepreneurial talents in the encryption industry. Some even created the world's largest encryption finance company. The encryption companies founded by the students include:
- Bitflyer Japan Exchange (Yuzo Kano)
- Coinbase Exchange (Fred Ehrsam)
- Tagomi Institutional Transaction Execution Products (Greg Tusar)
- Tezos Blockchain (Arthur Breitman)
- UMA Protocol Decentralized Steering Machine Protocol (Hart Lambur)
Former Goldman Sachs employees have also created some encryption funds, the most famous of which
- Paradigm (Fred Ehrsam)
- BlockTower (Matthew Goetz)
In addition, Jill Carlson worked for the Goldman Sachs Group for several years before joining the blockchain company [Chain] (https://chain.com), where he recently co-founded the Open Money Initiative; the founding members of the Solidus Labs team are also at Goldman Sachs Group Worked too. Also in the 1990s, Ethereum and ConsenSys co-founders, Princeton University alumnus Joe Lubin and Galaxy Digital's Mike Novogratz were also employees of the Goldman Sachs Group.
2. JPMorgan Chase (derived 4 encryption organizations)
JPMorgan’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, was not very friendly about bitcoin, but now the Wall Street giant has already increased its investment in the encryption and blockchain industries, not only based on Quorum. The stable currency JPM Coin is also developing a second-tier privacy solution (zero-knowledge proof). Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase are embracing and building an open source, unlicensed infrastructure.
The "gangster" members derived from JPMorgan Chase include
- Kadena Blockchain Platform Service
- Clovr E-sports Industry Project (Amber Baldet)
- Fundstrat Research and Investment Agency (Thomas Lee)
- SafeChain Anti-Property Trading Fraud Project (Rob Zwink).
3. Deutsche Bank (derived 3 encryption organizations)
Deutsche Bank is not as radical as JP Morgan Chase for blockchain/encryption services, but still contributes some high-quality encryption companies to the field, including
- Bitmex Derivatives Exchange (Arthur Hayes)
- Delphi Digital Research Institute (Anil Lulla, Medio Demarco)
- Storj Distributed Storage (John Quinn)
4. "Black gangs" derived from other financial industries
Bitmex (Arthur Hayes)
- Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)
Altonomy Asset Management (Ricky Li), Global Blockchain Business Council Global Business Blockchain Alliance (Sandra Ro)
- DE Shaw hedge fund
Gauntlet Encrypted Network Simulation Test Platform, Basis Stabilized Coin Project
- DRW Chicago Stock Exchange
0x Decentralized Exchange Agreement (Amir Bandeali)
- Fidelity Fidelity Investment Group
Castle Island Investment Fund, Coin Metrics Open Source Digital Asset Analysis Tool
- Fortress Investment Group
Galaxy Digital Digital Asset Investment Bank
- Jane Street proprietary trading company
Coda Blockchain Protocol (Izaak Meckler), Alameda Asset Management (Sam Bankman-Fried)
Torus Distributed Key Technology
1. Stanford University (derived 14 encryption organizations)
Stanford University is the alma mater of the founders of many technology companies today, so it is not surprising that they have trained a number of encryption talents. Many of the "big coffee" in the encryption industry have graduated from Stanford University, and students' interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain has penetrated business schools and other professions. Stanford University's "Encryption Gang" network includes:
- Filecoin data storage blockchain (Juan Benet, Jesse Clayburgh)
- CoinList provides a compliance solution for initial token distribution (Andy Bromberg)
- Dharma Decentralized Financial Application (Nadav Hollander)
- Vest (Zach Lawrence, Axel Ericsson)
- TrustToken Stabilization Coin Project (Rafael Cosman)
- Zether Anonymous Payment Protocol (Benedict Bunz)
- Beam.io Privacy Encryption Currency (Ryne Saxe)
- Audius blockchain music sharing platform
- Harmony Blockchain (Nick White)
- OpenSea Rare Digital Asset Trading Platform (Alex Atallah)
- Meta Networks (Ilya Mouzykantskii)
- Alchemy Ethereum Infrastructure (Joseph Lau, Nikhil Viswanathan)
- Merkle Data on-chain data analysis (Louis Baudoin, Shihao Guo)
- Unit-e Research Institute (David Tse)
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (derived 13 encryption organizations)
Cambridge-based MIT is no different from Stanford in cultivating cryptographic entrepreneurial talent. They have launched a series of initiatives to promote the development of the encryption industry, such as the annual MIT Bitcoin Expo conference, Jeremy Rubin and Dan Elitzer. Founded in 2014, the MIT Bitcoin Club, the MIT Media Lab, and the MIT Digital Currency Initiative focused on academic research.
Encryption projects created by MIT alumni and professors include:
- Enigma multi-party secure computing platform (Guy Zyskind, Can Kisagun)
- Algorand public chain project (Silvio Micali)
- Unit-e Research Institute (Mohammad Alizadeh, Leonid Kogan)
- Celo payment platform (Rene Reinsberg, Marek Olszewski)
- Celer Network Distributed Application Platform (Qingkai Liang)
- ZCash Privacy Encryption Currency (Madars Virza)
- Conduit (Ryan Robinson)
- Floating Point Group Trading Infrastructure (John Peurifoy, Kevin March)
- Aelf blockchain (Chen Zhuling)
- Mist Ethereum Desktop Dapp Browser (Mirza Uddin)
- Honeyminer Consumer Grade Mining Equipment (Noah Jessop)
- Streambed Media Class Tool (Michael Casey)
- Alameda Research Asset Management (Samuel Bankman-Fried)
3. University of California, Berkeley (derived 12 encryption organizations)
The University of California at Berkeley has also produced a lot of talent in the encryption industry. It is really surprising that the encryption programs offered by students, professors and employees of this university are:
- Oasis Labs Privacy Computing Platform (Dawn Song)
- TrustToken Stabilization Coin Project (Stephen Kade)
- ZCash Privacy Encryption Currency (Alessandro Chiesa)
- Dekrypt Capital Investment Fund
- Opyn Decentralized Leverage Trading (Alexis Gauba, zk – Zubin Koticha)
- Starkware Privacy Solutions (Alessandro Chiesa)
- Forte focuses on the blockchain service of the gaming industry (Kevin Chou)
- Cosmos blockchain
- Unit-e Research Institute (Jiantao Jiao)
- TokenData Encrypted Asset Database (Ricky Tan)
- Set Protocol Decentralized Fund Service (Felix Feng, Alex Soong)
- Synthetic Minds Smart Contract Platform (Saurabh Srivastava)
4. "Black gangs" derived from other academic industries
- Cornell University
Cornell University was the first blockchain academic project where IC3 was born (founded by Cornell Tech in New York), and its alumni and professors created encryption projects and companies including: Avalanche Consensus Agreement and Blockchain (Emin Gun Surer) , Thunder Protocol, Oasis Labs, Town Crier, Tezos (Kathleen Breitman) and Numerai Hedge Fund Competition Platform (Richard Craib);
- Harvard University
Encryption projects and companies founded by Harvard University alumni include Prysmatic Labs segmentation technology solutions (Raul), CoinTracker encryption assets and tax management (Chandan Lodha), Logos payment platform (Michael Zochowski), Harvard Business School graduates since 2009 Encryption projects FalconX (Prabh Reddy, Raghu Yarlagadda), Harmoney Blockchain (Sahil Dewan), Rupiah Token (Jeth Soetoyo) and Codex Protocol Art Market Blockchain (Mark Lurie);
- Princeton University
The Princeton University School of Distributed Systems is a hotbed for cultivating talent in the encryption industry. Encryption projects and companies created by alumni and professors include: Blockstack Decentralized Dapp Blockchain (Ryan Shea, Muneeb Ali), Arbitrum, Basis Stabilizer, DyDx Decentralized derivatives trading platform (Antonio Juliano) and CoinList (Brian Tubergen) providing a compliance solution for initial token issuance;
- Israel Institute of Technology (Technion)
Starkware privacy solution and ZCash privacy cryptocurrency (Eli Ben-Sasson);
- University of Waterloo
Ethereum (Vitalik Buterin) and CoinTracker Encrypted Assets and Tax Management (Jon Lerner);
- Yale University
Veil, Kadena (Will Martino), CertiK.
to sum up
Encryption gangs have been formed in these four industry sectors, and Coinbase, Facebook, Goldman Sachs and Stanford are hotbeds of encryption talent . If you want to build a crypto company, it's best to go into these organizations and get a workout. A total of 54 encryption companies have been derived from Coinbase, Facebook, Goldman Sachs and Stanford, accounting for 29% of the total 186.
Since 2009, the largest number of encryption companies and organizations have emerged from academia – this is also the case, because colleges are basically the root of many new technologies and new disciplines, after all, universities are professors, business schools, and computers. The place where college students think about collisions.
Finally, let us quote the end of a sentence in The Godfather:
"I have learned more on the street than in any classroom."
Written by: Ash Egan, working at venture capital fund Accomplice VC