Light-hearted Insights

10 Things We Learned From Our Crypto Titans

“Crypto Titans” is a series of personal interviews conducted by CoinMarketCap with prominent and forward-thinking minds tinkering on and behind the scenes of the cryptocurrency landscape. Click here to see all the Crypto Titan interviews up to today!

This week, we’ve assembled a roundup of all the best (in our opinion) nuggets of insight that the Crypto Titans series has taught us.

Consider this a “quick-read” version for those that have missed some of our past interviews!

1. Own Your Own Keys

Charlie Lee

If you treat [crypto] like money in the bank, then you will buy Bitcoin from an exchange like Coinbase and leave your money there. That’s risky, leaving Bitcoin on an exchange. You need to learn how to protect your own keys, learn about hardware wallets, learn about multisig and other solutions to have control of your own Bitcoin, which is hard for most people. It’s definitely a big learning curve.

Tim Draper

I don’t have to pay those people who wear these beautiful suits coming out of big fancy banks to hold my money for me. I can hold my money right here. I don’t have to watch all that money disappear into these big, beautiful buildings and these people with fancy suits. I’ve got my money right here on a Ledger. That is a really powerful feeling.

2. No More Middleman

Laszlo Hanyecz

Payments: it seems like it’s a solved thing, but it’s really not. All those middlemen and all the reassignment of responsibility that happens with credit cards is a mess. I think that for merchants, if there was a better choice, [they would take it] […] But one thing is, people who pay us in Bitcoin, I don’t have to worry about fraud. I know I’m not going to get charged back. I can even give them a discount for paying with it, because for me as a merchant, it’s cheaper.

3. Decentralization Is Real, and It’s Here

Erik Voorhees

If all mining in China shut down tomorrow, the mining would migrate, move to other places in the world. It’s a fluid thing. No one controls that, even though lots of people have influence on it. 

It’s an important thing to understand, because this is one of Bitcoin’s most important properties: that no person or group controls it. That’s a myth I would like to see it go away, but it’s just hard for people to really understand what decentralization means. People like to ascribe control because I think it makes them feel a little more like they understand how it works.

4. Stay Away From Buzzwords

Charles Hoskinson

You still need to have a reasonable business model. You still need to be able to do all kinds of things that normal entrepreneurs do. If you cannot explain your business model, how you make money, why you make money, what you’re trying to accomplish and you’re just saying “blockchain” or “magic,” then you’re probably misguided. 

Don’t get enamored or dazzled by the power of these tools, and don’t believe that they do more than they actually can do. Despite the fact these tools exist, you’re not allowed to not have a business model and you’re not allowed to not take profit. You have to figure that out.

5. Don’t Look for the Quick Buck


I always believed in the future of crypto, but at the back of your head, you have to sometimes wonder, what if I am wrong and Bitcoin goes to zero? After going through the cycle once, you learn to adopt a longer view.

Brandon Chez

The best investment you can make is in yourself. Get intimate with the technology. Start contributing to projects that interest you. Then, when crypto inevitably goes mainstream, you’ll be in high demand for the experience and knowledge that you’ve accumulated. You should be skeptical of anything promising to make you a quick fortune.

Emin Gün Sirer

I think that crypto can turn into a scam very easily unless there is a societal net surplus being produced, unless the technology is being used to create value that would otherwise not be there. Just the mere act of selling and buying coins is not going to produce returns. The only people who can come up with money are those people who are taking the money from other people or losing that same money. It’s a net-zero game, and the miners can end up playing a role here for money transfer from one to the other.

6. Unity Is Key

Charlie Shrem

What other industry has a common goal?  Crypto will compete, but we all want our industry to continue growing. So long as we continue to remember that and maintain that, it will be our biggest strength.

7. Be Hands On


In comparison with software companies, running a hardware company gives you an extraordinary sense of achievement, especially since we were working on bleeding edge chip technology for mining.

8. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

Meltem DeMirors

Because I fail constantly and because I accept my failures and my flaws as a human, I am perfectly able and perfectly happy with failing all the time, learning and having people tell me I’m wrong. People are like, “Oh, you’re wrong.” I’m like, “Great. Tell me why. Help me be smarter.”

9. Jump Headfirst Into the Industry…Respectfully

Tone Vays

People joining the space, three to six months — just stay quiet and listen and learn, because it takes a good year and a half to two years to really understand why it’s only going to be Bitcoin. Bitcoin can change the world.

Sunny King

My recommendation to anyone new to the crypto world is to experience it first hand. Don’t just store your coins in exchanges like with stock brokers. Use the non-custodial wallets, properly keep the passphrases and learn the principles of brain wallets. And begin to take some cryptos for jobs or favors! This is truly the new experience with the money of the virtual worlds, with freedom and privacy. Learn risk management, practice self-responsibility and self-accountability.

10. The Time for Crypto Is Now

Hunter Horsley

Particularly for people who are early in their careers or are looking for a lot of opportunity, the unique feature that crypto offers is that there’s almost nobody who has more experience than you, because there are very few people who’ve been working in crypto. You can come into this space, bring your skills, your background, your mindset and get to work. In a year or two, you have a set of experiences that is very rare and that’s unique.

Enjoyed reading our Crypto Titan series? Check out the full list here.

Molly Jane is a content manager at CoinMarketCap. Previously the head of news at Cointelegraph, she has also contributed to Decrypt and Modern Consensus. You can find her on Twitter at @MollyJZuckerman.

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