Not bad for a two-bit goof. The “idiot” in question is Ryan Selkis, who uses the nickname “tongue in cheek” on his popular Twitter the accountwhich just raised $35 million from a second round for Messari, the crypto data company he founded in 2018.
The funding round, led by Brevan Howard Digital, reflects the growing popularity of Messari, one of the few companies that has worked to transform blockchain data into standardized reporting. Selkis likens Messari to Bloomberg’s cryptocurrency release, financial news and big data.
While Messari’s suite of charts and reports provide investors with a clearer picture of the crypto landscape, Selkis also sees the service as laying the groundwork for a future era where much corporate compliance and the current reporting system will become unnecessary.
According to Selkis, the transparent nature of blockchain means that data on things like insider selling and governance decisions is visible to everyone — meaning that one day investors will no longer need a central government authority like the Securities and Exchange Commission to compile and publish company data.
“If we can demonstrate that anyone can look at a protocol and come up with financial standards for this blockchain, that will mitigate the need for centralized reporting. There is no reason why blockchain can’t provide the same for public equity,” Selkis said. luck.
But while blockchain-based projects may provide a level of transparency that traditional companies do not, few people are able to analyze raw blockchain data. Meanwhile, most projects are not equipped to compile their data into a standardized reporting format.
This situation has allowed Messari to build a two-sided company in which it sells subscriptions to investors while also charging for blockchain protocols to collect and populate their data. Selkis declined to provide specific revenue figures for Messari, but said the company has 35-40 blockchain projects, including familiar names such as Uniswap, Compound, and Solana. He added that he believes Messari is the largest crypto subscription by revenue.
Messari’s competitors include The Block, a crypto news site that also has an important research section.
The nascent business of setting standards may seem like an attractive opportunity for established financial giants, but Selkis isn’t worried about competition from the likes of Bloomberg or JPMorgan.
“If you can’t outperform the incumbents, you deserve to stop,” Selkis said, adding that incumbents typically pull back from crypto investment during downturns — which is when he says it’s time to invest.
New products, new policies
Messari, which also raised a $21 million first round in 2021, plans to direct the bulk of its new funding round to expand the analytics and forensics service. The new round also coincides with the launch of new products that will help investors compare crypto assets across multiple networks, and create custom data sets.
Other class B investors include Morgan Creek Digital and FTX Ventures, as well as existing investors Point72 Ventures, Kraken Ventures, Uncork Capital, Underscore VC, Galaxy and Coinbase Ventures.
Selkis says the new products and investments will help Messari achieve its goal of developing the cryptographic equivalent of GAAP-style standardized reporting for the crypto industry.
Meanwhile, Selkis continues to advocate strongly for reform of the United States’ regulatory system and the country’s political system more broadly.
In the character of Two Bit Idiot, he is often criticized as “Goldman Gary” – his nickname for SEC chief Gary Gensler, who Selkis argues is an actively hostile to the crypto industry and whose political ambitions have caused the industry to be treated in bad faith.
His political speeches also lament that the United States is becoming an aging country where political leaders in their 80s refuse to cede power or ideas to a younger generation.
Selqis, who has hinted at his own national political ambitions, acknowledges that he may need to “remove the jagged edges of his tweets,” but, in essence, he has no regrets about the content of his tweets.
For now, Selkis is focusing on building Messari as the so-called “crypto winter” continues. Having worked in cryptocurrency for more than a decade during multiple recessions, Selkis says he is unfazed by the current downturn, although he notes that it differs from previous recessions in that this is the first “winter” to coincide with the macroeconomic turmoil.
The Messari funding announcement coincides with Mainnet, an annual crypto conference in New York City that created Selkis that has become a major event for the industry. This year’s speakers include the CEOs of Binance and Coinbase as well as the inventor of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin.
When asked if he has advice for potential crypto founders, Selkis gave an eloquent response.
He said, “Wear a helmet.”