Over a decade and a half has elapsed since the dawn of the cryptocurrency era, initiated by the enigmatic Satoshi Nakamoto with the introduction of Bitcoin. As we approach January 3, 2024, we commemorate over fifteen years of uninterrupted operation for the Bitcoin network. The past year has seen the collapse of various enterprises in the sector, yet a handful of the original pioneers persist. This retrospective examines the tenacious crypto companies that have endured, highlighting their sustained presence and commercial resilience in a tumultuous market.
Despite the tumult of 2023, which claimed numerous prominent names in the cryptocurrency sphere, a cadre of veteran entities has withstood the vicissitudes of the market. Among these, several have surpassed a decade of enterprise, demonstrating remarkable stability, whereas others have navigated through significant adversities that jeopardized their existence. The following narrative explores the most venerable cryptocurrency organizations that maintain active operations.
Braiins Pool (formerly Slush Pool)
Tracing its lineage to November 27, 2010, Braiins Pool, initially known as Slush Pool and established by Marek Palatinus—aka “Slush”—reigns as the most ancient Bitcoin mining collective still in action today. Palatinus also played a pivotal role in crafting the inaugural hardware wallet, the Trezor. As of recent measures, Braiins Pool contributes 0.63% to the total hashrate of the Bitcoin network, achieving 2.99 exahash per second (EH/s) over a recent three-day span, evidencing nearly thirteen years of corporate longevity.
Incepted in June 2012 by founders Fred Ehrsam and Brian Armstrong in San Francisco, Coinbase has risen to become a leading cryptocurrency exchange on a global scale. Transitioning to a publicly listed entity, Coinbase debuted its Class A common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “COIN” on April 14, 2021. Despite facing accusations from the SEC of operating as an unregistered broker in June 2023, the company has persevered for eleven years.
A significant player in the domain of specialized ASIC chip manufacturing and Bitcoin mining equipment, Canaan Inc., instituted in 2013 by Nangeng Zhang, Jiaxuan Li, and Xiangfu Liu, made a strategic acquisition of Avalon—the forerunner in ASIC mining rigs—that same year. Canaan marked its public market entrance on November 21, 2019, becoming one of the first of its kind to do so, and recently commemorated a decade with the launch of new machines.
Conceived in 2012 by entrepreneurs Raphael Nicolle and Giancarlo Devasini, Bitfinex maintains a substantial presence with the second-largest Bitcoin wallet by holdings. Operated by Ifinex Inc., which also manages Tether Holdings Limited, the purveyor of the predominant stablecoin, Bitfinex has served the digital currency exchange sector for over eleven years. Despite a 2016 security infringement resulting in the loss of around 120,000 bitcoins, Bitfinex has rebounded, reinforcing its standing in the upper echelons of global exchanges.
Known initially as Blockchain.info, Blockchain.com came into being in 2011, co-founded by Peter Smith and Nicolas Cary. This enterprise offers a suite of services that includes a block explorer, data analytics, and a cryptocurrency wallet, along with a trading platform. Having facilitated the creation of 87 million wallets across 200 nations since its inception, the company marks approximately twelve years in operation.
Established in May 2011 by Tony Gallippi and Stephen Pair in Atlanta, Bitpay extends cryptocurrency payment processing solutions for merchants. The company launched a Visa-backed cryptocurrency debit card that later rebranded in conjunction with Mastercard. As of mid-May 2023, Bitpay phased out the Mastercard program, indicating the forthcoming introduction of a novel card service. The firm persists in its merchant payment processing role, boasting twelve years of continuous activity.
Bitstamp, a European cryptocurrency marketplace birthed in 2011 by Nejc Kodrič and Damijan Merlak, has long facilitated the trade of digital currencies for fiat money, including the U.S. dollar, British pound, and euro. Recovering from a 2015 hack that saw a loss of 19,000 BTC, Bitstamp mirrors the resilience of Bitfinex, preserving its place as a premier trading venue for over twelve years.
Kraken, established in 2011 by Jesse Powell, Thanh Luu, and Michael Gronager, endures to this day from its San Francisco base. This exchange platform has consistently provided the ability to trade crypto assets for fiat money. Although Kraken has been free of any significant security breaches, it has faced scrutiny from regulators for noncompliance allegations, which it has navigated successfully to remain a pivotal exchange.
Xapo, forged in 2013 by Wences Casares, is renowned for its vault services, which reputedly hold nearly 700,000 bitcoins. Following its acquisition by Coinbase in 2019, Xapo relinquished its exchange and wallet operations to focus solely on wealth management, symbolizing a strategic pivot amidst its ten-year history.
Thomas Voegtlin conceptualized the Electrum Wallet in November 2011, introducing a software wallet that operates with a degree of security, speed, and simplicity uncommon in early wallets. Remarkably, Electrum remains a favored choice for Bitcoin storage, reflecting over eleven years of service in a competitive space.
As we reflect upon these stalwarts of the cryptocurrency domain, their tenacity serves as both a testament to their adaptability and a beacon of potential longevity for emerging ventures within this vibrant yet unpredictable industry.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about pioneer crypto companies
Which crypto company is considered the longest-running bitcoin mining pool?
Braiins Pool, formerly known as Slush Pool, holds the distinction of being the longest-running bitcoin mining pool, with nearly 13 years of continuous operation.
What milestone did Coinbase achieve in 2021?
In 2021, Coinbase transitioned into a publicly traded company, listing its Class A common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker “COIN.”
How has Bitfinex sustained its operations despite major setbacks?
Bitfinex has overcome significant challenges, including a security breach in 2016 where it lost 120,000 bitcoins. Its recovery and continued service have maintained its status as a top global crypto exchange.
What distinguishes Blockchain.com in the crypto services space?
Blockchain.com has expanded from a block explorer to providing multiple services like data analytics and digital wallets, having created 87 million wallets for users across 200 countries.
What was Bitpay’s recent strategic move regarding its card services?
Bitpay announced the discontinuation of its Mastercard program in mid-May 2023, with plans to launch a new card service in the future.
How did Bitstamp handle the aftermath of its 2015 hack?
Bitstamp experienced a significant hack in 2015 but managed to recover, continuing to function as a prominent cryptocurrency exchange.
What regulatory challenges has Kraken faced recently?
Kraken encountered regulatory issues that led to the discontinuation of its staking services, agreeing to pay $30 million in settlements related to the case.
What are the key products associated with Bitmain?
Bitmain is known for creating the Antminer series of mining rigs and for operating Antpool, one of the largest bitcoin mining pools by hashrate.
What achievement has Satoshilabs (Trezor) recently celebrated?
Satoshilabs has launched the third version of its hardware wallet, Trezor, supporting bitcoin, ethereum, and over 7,000 other cryptocurrencies, marking a decade in the industry.
More about pioneer crypto companies
- Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin White Paper
- Braiins Pool Evolution
- Coinbase Public Listing
- Canaan’s Corporate Milestones
- Bitfinex Security Measures
- Blockchain.com Wallet Growth
- Bitpay Card Services
- Bitstamp’s Trading Platform
- Kraken’s Regulatory Compliance
- Bitmain’s Antminer
- Trezor Hardware Wallet