The rise of the new crypto “mafias”
A look at nearly 200 crypto startups shows which companies have become crypto academies
Ash Egan leads crypto investing at Accomplice. He formerly was a VC at ConsenSys Ventures and Converge.
In the early 2000s, journalists popularized the term “PayPal mafia” to describe the PayPal founders and employees who left to start their own wildly successful tech companies, including Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, and Elon Musk. Drawing from that idea, this article seeks to cover the formation and flow of talent within the crypto landscape today.
I’m fascinated by the concept of tech mafias, popularized by Paypal in the early 00s.
Early signs of crypto mafias:
Coinbase ➡️ @0xProject @dydxprotocol Ethereum/ConsenSys ➡️ @Cardano @polkadotnetwork @metamask_io MIT ➡️ @EnigmaMPC @Algorand Unit-eIC3 ➡️ Avalanche
— Ash Egan (@AshAEgan) April 3, 2019
The crypto world is in a constant state of flux, with new startups entrants joining the industry every single day. These new startups have the potential either to be superstars within a portfolio company or to start the next Coinbase. Additionally, there are already impressive spin-outs from some of the more established crypto companies.
For ease of framing, I’ve separated these early-forming mafias into four categories: Crypto, Tech, Wall Street, and Academia. Since 2009, there have been 186 spinout companies originating from those four categories (33% from Academia, 28% from Crypto, 24% from Tech, and 15% from Wall Street).
Obvious but important disclaimer: this article does not intend to promote organized crime within crypto.