When we set up Coin Metrics in early 2017, the vision was to create and share methods to extract data from blockchains and other public crypto networks, and to use the resultant data to demystify the economics of these networks.
The initial objective, for which considerable progress has been made in the subsequent two years, was to answer the question “what is the economic significance of major public blockchains?” To that end, we published an open-source set of parsing tools, created a charting suite, and provided the raw data for our aggregate statistics around the economic and participant activity occurring on crypto networks. We also published our methods so that anyone could reconstruct our data at will. The desire was to create high-quality data that anyone could use and benefit from without restriction, and to publish tools and instructions such that anyone could recreate the data without difficulty. Additionally, we published long-form analyses in an effort to explain the data’s significance to the public, even those unfamiliar with public blockchains.
All of this stemmed from a lack of quality tools. We were the heaviest users of our own data, out of curiosity, and for research purposes. Coin Metrics’ data didn’t exist, so it was necessary to invent it.
There never was a direct commercial objective, which is why we kept the site ad-free from inception, and turned down numerous paid offers to create bespoke dashboards for ICOs or other tokenized projects. Coin Metrics began to see adoption by data-hungry users – both from casual adopters posting charts on Twitter and Medium, as well as research desks at high-profile investment management firms. Our data has been used in too many places to count, evidencing the demand for free, open, and transparent data, in an industry that can at times be mired by obfuscation and complexity.
As our datasets gained attention, we expanded the breadth (covering more assets) and depth (building more sophisticated understandings and metrics of major assets) of our data. We are proud of our track record; we have devised transaction volume figures adjusted to remove noise for major crypto assets (previous estimates covered only Bitcoin), uncovered a hidden inflation exploit in Bitcoin Private, and introduced novel economic concepts like Realized Capitalization.
Buoyed by our traction and success in improving popular understandings of these systems, we decided to formally incorporate Coin Metrics as a US-domiciled business and pursue a commercial product in parallel to our free community offering. Although we were leery about adding a commercial element to a community-oriented, open-source project, there were clear positives. Commercializing would ensure the sustainability of the business, subsidize our mounting infrastructure costs, allow us to spend more time and effort on R&D generating answers to user questions, and of course provide a valuable service to serious users who had been requesting it.
Over the past few years we have received relentless interest for a high-granularity, broad and deep network data product, so we decided to fulfill these requests and create a trusted network data feed based on our previous experience and conversations with heavy users.
In pursuit of this vision, we raised capital from some strategic partners who shared our vision and hired an outstanding team, making acquisitions of other media properties and datasets along the way. The addition of Tim Rice as a founding CEO (ex-Consensys, Markit, Thomson Reuters, Tradeweb) also brought about a new opportunity: trusted market and price data. Through our own experience and a survey of the best available options, we discovered issues with industry pricing methodology, and devised market and fixings data services for institutional clients.
Now, in addition to maintaining our free data services for general use, we are rolling out an Early Access Program covering network data for Bitcoin and Ethereum (and later more assets) in unprecedented depth (see our product page for more detail). If you are a research desk, a fund, an institution which engages with crypto, or would like to productize this data, you may be interested in this dataset. It contains years of our work and builds on our cutting-edge developments in the science of blockchain analysis.
For our academic users, we are initiating a research program whereby we will give you permissioned access to our premium datafeed for free, upon request.
The datafeeds that you have all enjoyed so far will remain operational and free to use for the vast majority of purposes, although we kindly request that you ask us first before re-using our data in a commercial manner. Far from diluting our focus, our commercial product will also flow back to the community by enabling us to refine and add to our free datafeeds. We will never degrade the quality of the community feed – it will be much enhanced in the coming months and years. Our core objective remains making blockchain data available for the broader community.
Today, public blockchains and other crypto networks offer incredibly compelling datasets which are only beginning to be understood. We strongly believe the global macroeconomic characteristics of these novel economies can be inferred from analysis of their network data, but the science is still new and evolving. We are incredibly excited to work on this generational task.
We appreciate the trust you have put in us so far, and we hope that you will continue to use us for the foreseeable future!
The Coin Metrics team