Big players have been quietly entering the cryptocurrency space for years, as they often do with emerging and disruptive technology. In a brand new space already dominated by partnerships such as Microsoft and Enjin, Walmart and VeChain and even Google and Chainlink.
Smaller assets require large amounts of capital to significantly move in price, meaning it’s important to pay attention to crypto “whales” and those entering the market with very deep pockets. This typically includes companies, governments, hedge funds, pension and retirement funds, financial institutions and others.
Who Are The Big Players In The Crypto Space?
Exchanges, project teams, protocols, investment funds, traditional investors, countries and brands all play a major part in the cryptocurrency market. Keep reading for all the high-capital players in cryptocurrency with the potential to move the market.
Exchanges play a vital role in the Web3 ecosystem, offering an easy-to-use and centralized service to facilitate cryptocurrency transactions and hold custody of the assets. Seasoned cryptocurrency veterans will often opt for a decentralized exchange, or at the very least to send the assets from a centralized exchange wallet to their own private wallet. Regardless, centralized exchanges offer an extremely simple way to purchase and hold crypto, especially for beginners.
- Coinbase – The first cryptocurrency exchange to go public in the US stock market. The most popular exchange in the US and offers many tokens with a sleek interface. Coinbase offers Coinbase Earn, Coinbase Wallet and Coinbase NFT among others as well.
- Binance – The largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world by volume. Binance Smart Chain (BSC) is where many new projects drop as well. The Binance exchange is related to the BNB coin and offers the widest variety of tokens.
- FTX – A newer, easy-to-use, cryptocurrency exchange, FTX has started doing alot of marketing and is headed by Sam BankmanFried. Sam has started “bailing out” failing blockchain-based companies and FTX could be looking to make some acquisitions.
- Crypto.com – Known for buying the naming rights to the LA Staples Center, Crypto.com is simple and designed for convenience. After becoming one of the first exchanges to offer a crypto credit card, Crypto.com gained popularity throughout the US.
One of the best things introduced in Web3 is the ability for anyone to become a creator and start building within the ecosystem. There are many projects, protocols and brands rising throughout a virtual space of freedom and opportunity.
- Yuga Labs – BAYC creators, pioneering the NFT space. BAYC was the first utility-based PFP NFT project. Yuga Labs later dropped several related projects including Bored Ape Kennel Club, The Otherside (metaverse), Mutant Ape Club and Ape Coin. Yuga Labs acquired the rights to the historical CryptoPunks and Meebits collections. They received over a billion dollar valuation in a recent funding round and are well positioned as early movers in the space.
- Dapper Labs – Having been around for several years, Dapper Labs is responsible for the CryptoKitty NFT-based game that crashed the Ethereum blockchain when it came out in 2017. This led the team to decide to build their own blockchain. FLOW blockchain is entirely built for gaming. Dapper Labs also takes credit for the popular NBA NFT game, NBA TopShot.
Hedge funds and venture capital funds are better known for their part in more traditional business. Finally seeing funds centered around blockchain teams and companies give a refreshing long-term outlook for the entire market. These funds are watched closely by other investors and have large amounts of capital to play with.
- A16z – Andreessen Horowitz, the first well-known, crypto-focused VC fund. Previous traditional exits include Skype, Oculus VR, Instagram and Facebook, Github, Roblox, Coinbase, Robinhood, Lyft and Airbnb among others. Ava Labs, Alchemy, Anchorage Digital, OpenSea, Sandbox and Near Protocol are all part of the fund’s large, active portfolio currently.
- Three arrows capital – Recently forced to liquidate assets by a British Virgin Island court, 3AC was one of the most prominent, high-capital funds until recently.
Big investors matter in the space for two reasons, bringing capital and bringing influence. Household names like Mark Cuban, Tom Brady, Paris Hilton, Odell Beckham Junior, Ashton Kutcher and others bring more than just deep pockets to the table. Popular figures getting openly involved is one of the fastest ways to achieve mainstream adoption.
- Peter Thiel – Seen talking about virtual currencies two decades ago, long before Bitcoin ever came around. Co-founder of Paypal and went on to be an early investor in many big technology companies like Facebook.
- Kevin O’leary & Mark Cuban – Two famous and successful investors from Shark Tank, Both have switched towards positive cryptocurrency stances and have compared the digital asset class to the early internet.
- Michael Saylor – CEO of Microstrategy, the first public, US company to hold Bitcoin on its balance sheet. Michael Saylor has been a big fan of Bitcoin since early on and has continued accumulating ever since the company’s first purchase. Microstrategy has even put on events for other large companies explaining how to hold Bitcoin on a corporate balance sheet and pay taxes on it.
- Cathie Wood & Ray Dalio – Both fund managers, Cathie recently became the first female Money Manager of the year with her ARK funds focused on disruptive innovation. She has over a million dollar Bitcoin price target by 2030 and holds Grayscales GBTC fund inside her own fund. Ray Dalio heads Bridgewater Associates, the largest asset manager in the world. Ray recently swapped positions on cryptocurrency, saying that although he previously believed the government would shut it down, he now sees it as too big and too innovative to be stopped.
Countries & Regulators
- El Salvador and Nayib Bukele – The first country to make Bitcoin legal tender. President Nayib Bukele believes Bitcoin can help the struggling economy of his country. 70% of El Salvador does not have access to bank accounts and with a stagnant economy, opportunities are few and far between.
- The Central African Republic – The first country in Africa to make Bitcoin legal tender and the second in the world. Like many countries in the region, a failing economy plagues the nation. Decentralized cryptocurrencies can be the answer these countries are looking for.
These brands are investing either time or money, into Web3 and blockchain technology. The important thing to note here is the difference in the companies listed. From technology to fashion to finance to fast food, all types of industries and brands are taking advantage of blockchain innovation.
- Visa and Mastercard – Two of the top traditional financial companies are building out Web3-related services, while Visa even purchased its own CryptoPunk. Visa is launching a service centered around content creators and Mastercard is allowing card users to purchase NFTs directly.
- Coachella – Coachella was one of the first mainstream brands to adopt Web3, with NFTs offering unlimited and lifetime Coachella event access.
- The Super Bowl POAP – The 2022 NFL Super Bowl was taken over by NFT culture but the most exciting aspect was each attendant being offered a “Proof-of-Attendance-Protocol”, or POAP, NFT signifying attendance at the event.
- Dolce & Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger – Both high-end brands participated in Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week, The first major virtual fashion event seen.
- Block and Cashapp, Jack Dorsey – Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter and CEO of Cashapp, has left the more traditional technology world for his new company “Block” building a Bitcoin wallet and decentralized infrastructure. Jack has always been a big fan of Bitcoin and Cashapp has been at the forefront of adoption and innovation in terms of onboarding customers and integrating the blockchain.
- Shopify x Lightning – Shopify has integrated the Bitcoins Lightning network, bringing almost two million small business owners and sellers onto the network and offering the opportunity to accept and utilize Bitcoin. 70 million Cashapp users already have access to the lightning network, allowing customers to easily use Bitcoin while interacting with Shopify stores.
- Taco Bell – It’s not just technology companies, Taco Bell joins Mcdonald’s, Pizza hut and Quiznos in offering NFTs to customers.
Keeping an eye on these major players can give you an edge on seeing obscurities in the market’s pricing of assets.
For media, content or writing inquiries please contact Patrick Hagerty at PatrickJHags@gmail.com