Fun Friday: Mapping The Bitcoin Market

AVC community member William Mougayar published a Bitcoin market map yesterday.

william's blockchain market map

Putting together something like this is a major pain in the butt, but it is incredibly useful for people (like VCs and other investors) who are trying to make sense of an emerging market. It’s a great way to get your name and reputation out there. It reminds me of what Terry Kawaja did with ad:tech five or six years ago.

I could critique some of William’s placements (for example Coinbase is one of the top five exchanges in the world and yet is not included in that category), and I’m sure that countless companies are now reaching out to William saying “why are we not on your map?”  So this will get picked apart and it will evolve. But the act of taking the time to put something like this together and publish it is incredibly useful for everyone. Kudos to William for doing that.

#hacking finance

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    William is an analyst by nature and an obsessive compulsive curator.Every community needs one and we are lucky to have him here.Thanks William.

    1. Mark Essel

      This is great for someone who doesn’t spend much time following it. Thanks Wiliam for the workJust took a scan, whoa. Information overload.Thought of a variation/complimentary chart weighted by the amount of capital/market processed by each company or social gravity/mentions.

    2. fredwilson


    3. Richard

      You should see his jays royals score card!

      1. William Mougayar

        on pins and needles for this evening !

        1. Richard

          Good luck. Price v Harvey, Syndergaad v Dickey and Degrom vs the Jays lineup will male for an awesome world series.

        2. Richard

          Tough loss, Lousy Umpire

          1. William Mougayar

            Yup. We could blame the umps or fox sports, but it is what it is. They gave us a great end of the season & post, and they’ll come back next year.

    4. sigmaalgebra

      It’s good to see at least a part of the venture capital community paying good attention to the details of some new technology, its applications, and its markets.Yup, it looks like William did some high quality, hard work. Terrific!!!!!! I will keep William’s image and index the URL of Fred’s page.I respect and enjoy Arnold’s insights into understanding consumers, marketing, the social Web, wines, etc.For obsessive compulsiveit turns out, I know something about what those two words really mean. To learn, I paid full tuition (@JLM). The person with that problem was my wife, and the condition was a long, serious, debilitating, agonizing, tragic illness that was fatal.I have mentioned her death before at AVC, and the AVC community nearly leaped to be supportive; this is the first time I mentioned the cause of her death.We have to doubt that those two words apply to William; from what I learned, even for experts under the best conditions it is not easy to make that diagnosis accurately; mostly we are not qualified to make such a diagnosis accurately; even if we are qualified and do make the diagnosis, then that should be private.From what I did learn, it appeared that high quality, hard work only rarely implies obsessive compulsive and that that pair often gets in the way of high quality, hard work and does not always imply it.We don’t want to try to use obsessive compulsive as a synonym for high quality, hard work.For more there is:David Shapiro, Neurotic Styles, ISBN 0-465-09502-X.where he discusses paranoid, hysterical, obsessive-compulsive, and psychopathic passive. Yes, IIRC neurotic is now less often used by experts.Since IIRC the experts commonly believe that obsessive-compulsive is from anxiety, there is alsoDavid V. Sheehan, M.D., The Anxiety Disease, ISBN 0-553-25568-1.The above two are for, say, a lay audience, while apparently the next is more serious:Leon Salzman, Treatment of the Obsessive Personality, ISBN 0-87668-881-4.The experts I spoke with assured me that obsessive-compulsive and related anxiety are difficult to treat, and this book reinforces that claim.Without going into details, from what I did learn, e.g., in Sheehan, there are some reasons we can observe even from afar that say that the odds that William is obsessive-compulsive are relatively low. :-)!

      1. William Mougayar

        Sorry that those words touched a sensitive topic, but I would agree with your diagnosis! I think Arnold was using it figuratively.

      2. LE

        The other thing about I believe many things in the DSM is that the diagnosis are analog and not digital (no exact test and literally arbitrary criteria). They are derived from a host of factors and observations but one point I always remember is “when one or a cluster of symptoms interferes with daily functioning” (not specific to OCD, just an example) then it’s a problem. (Just like with Alcoholism as another example).So for example many of us may have “ticks” however the degree to which the tick appears (and whether verbal or physical) and how often will determine whether it rises to the level of “interfering with daily functioning”.In a building I lived in there was a couple that (from my observation) both had OCD. They went from floor to floor and cleaned out the trash room of all of the trash. And yes, they were weird and they weren’t getting paid for that as a job. But the trash apparently bothered them enough to put in their own time and effort and cleaning supplies to tidy up the trash chute.and the AVC community nearly leaped to be supportiveI read that as you know. Anyway the reason the community “nearly leaped” (if I understand you correctly) is that you “burried the lead”.…I suggest bold chapter headings to separate long comments which you did the other day. I think that is really helpful.

      3. Matt A. Myers

        Thank you for sharing.

      4. Mark Essel

        I’ll be more careful in using that terminology.What are you working on nowadays?I’m just wrapping up my tenure with FastSociety/Cameo/Vimeo (backend then all client side) and rejoining an energized startup down in SoHo

        1. sigmaalgebra

          I’ll be more careful in using that terminology. No apologies or regrets needed.My point was simple, maybe important enough to mention. I was just trying to offer some information: The synonym is common, and I was just suggesting that maybe it is an inappropriate one. But I wasn’t really trying to correct anything and don’t want to be severe about the point.To offer the information, I mentioned my background in the subject where I tried to learn and did.For me, the subject is essentially ancient history. The fault was all Mother Nature’s and is not nearly the first or last time. The synonym didn’t hurt me. What are you working on nowadays? I’m moving to get my project into alpha test. For this I need to put some initial data into the data base. I have quite a lot of initial data, and it should be fun to see the software make use of that data. Then on to beta test, going live, getting publicity, users, ads, and revenue.

          1. Mark Essel

            Sounds fun, good luck with the seeding your algorithms with great data!

      5. awaldstein

        Got it.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          My point was simple, maybe important enough to mention. I was just trying to offer some information: The synonym is common, and I was just suggesting that maybe it is an inappropriate one. But I wasn’t really trying to correct anything and don’t want to be severe about the point.To offer the information, I mentioned my background in the subject where I tried to learn and did.For me, the subject is essentially ancient history. The fault was all Mother Nature’s and is not nearly the first or last time. The synonym didn’t hurt me. No regrets needed.

    5. William Mougayar

      Thanks Arnold. curious- why do you think that every community needs a curator or analyst?

      1. awaldstein

        You are loosing your sense of humor and banter my friend.

        1. William Mougayar

          ah you were flattering me. got it 🙂 a bottle of wine would have done the trick.

          1. awaldstein

            You get both praise and wine from your friends William.I’m drinking Gonin tonight as a very small bit was just released to some direct shops. Altesse, Mondueuse and Persan.You can taste altitude and crisp purity in his wines.

    6. panterosa,

      While I agree @w@wmoug:disqus is a fantastic curator of things like articles, I don’t think a chart is curation – it’s information design. Info design, is the key to entering content, it is classification, taxonomy.

  2. LIAD

    I like how it’s subjective – alongside the map you also get a free insight into William’s thought process and mental model.For visual thinkers these kind of graphics are invaluable. I particularly like and get value from the annotated unbundling ones CB insights do.Unbundling of Banks.

    1. William Mougayar

      Yes, I linked to that graphic actually in my post, and it would be fairly easy now to do a similar one for BlockTech. As I said, FinTech was a response to the banks’ inability to innovate on top of the Internet. And now we are seeing a second wave of “Tech” attacks via the blockchain, although some of these companies want to “partner” with the banks (but want a piece of their margins too).

  3. William Mougayar

    Thanks Fred for highlighting this. It’s cool to see it in Fun Friday, but it was definitely a painful exercise to piece it together. Yes, Terence’s famous LUMAscapes were the inspiration. (I will make edits re: Coinbase & small updates in a v1.4.)The list is open sourced with links to the companies…

    1. TrustEnabler

      Well done William! Thank you.

    2. bsoist

      Excellent work William!

    3. Ro Gupta


      1. William Mougayar

        🙂 I like it.I already coined BlockTech. what do you think of that?

  4. Chimpwithcans

    Hi @fredwilson:disqus and @wmoug:disqus . I recently opened a BitX account (I see BitX there on the right which gives me some relief after transferring money 🙂 ) Wondering how to use my bitcoin though – even as an experiment I would like to exchange some bitcoin across borders – what would you recommend? Broader q. – Would anyone on AVC be keen to swap a bit with myself in South Africa, just so i can see it in action?

    1. William Mougayar

      You could publish your deposit Address here and I’ll send you a couple of Satoshis. The fun part is that it clears in 10 mins. Or send me an email with it [email protected]

      1. Chimpwithcans

        Thanks a lot. I just sent the email.

        1. William Mougayar

          I sent you .001 BTC (27 cents) from my Coinbase account.

          1. Chimpwithcans

            Got it! Just sent the same (almost 4 rand)

      2. jason wright

        a satoshi is 100,000,000 of a bitcoin?

        1. William Mougayar

          A hundredth of a million, 0.00000001 BTC 🙂

  5. pointsnfigures

    Last night I saw a story on the news that Colorado has a huge problem. Since they legalized marijuana, they are awash in cash. The Federal Reserve won’t let them deposit cash from marijuana sales into a federally regulated bank. The state is trying to set up a credit union to deal with the problem. Here is an opportunity for Bitcoin.Of course, the problem you run into is confidence in holding Bitcoin. Risk management markets are not well developed enough to hedge. But, if there is demand, someone will take a risk and establish a good one.

    1. William Mougayar

      That’s what is doing in California, handling the cash part via Bitcoin. It’s a big market apparently.

      1. LE

        Doesn’t say that on the site from what I see. I am not doubting you however their marketing is unclear exactly what is going on here. And what exactly this company does. As someone who accepts credit cards (have been a “merchant” forever) the site is not very clear. And I had to google “KYC” had no clue what that meant. (Maybe because I have no problems with that part of the transaction..)

        1. William Mougayar

          I pinged the CEO and asked him to comment if he’d like.

      2. pointsnfigures

        Risk management will be huge. There are exchanges but the most popular are based in China. They really don’t have a clue about true risk management or exchange operations. I was at a Bitcoin conference and asked what their margin was. They said 20%. Big move in Bitcoin and they will be gonzo.

    2. jason wright

      Redcoin. a subscription service at $9.99 a month.

  6. jason wright

    the European bitcoin tax ruling is interesting, and i see the price is now spiking.FWIW, Trezor has a new hard wallet in the works.Has anyone managed to get hold of a Case Wallet, or a KeepKey?William, no love for the Pi-Wallet?

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I imagine the investors/speculators feel safer now putting in even more money into the ecosystem.

      1. jason wright

        yes, it’s an added efficiency. i wish i had known that ruling was in the works a little earlier 🙂

        1. Matt A. Myers

          I imagine some people were speculating … and others knew the verdict earlier than others too..

          1. jason wright

            insider trading? shocking.

  7. jason wright

    I use Coinbase, but is it really an exchange? it seems much more like a traditional bank, and as such is a bit of a contradiction of the central ethos of bitcoin…decentralisation. all those coins stored in one place doesn’t seem very ‘bitcoin’ to me.edit. when i think exchange i think Kraken and one or two notable others. account security protocols matter.

    1. fredwilson

      They have a brokerage product and they have an exchange product. You probably don’t use the exchange product as its for “wholesale buyers/sellers” and traders

      1. jason wright

        that’s right.i would do more through Coinbase if it would simply implement Yubikey login verification. it cuts out malware and key loggers.i’m looking at using Trezor going forward.

  8. Terence Kawaja

    Thanks for the mention Fred and William. The LUMAscapes (now 11 and growing) are a great way to leverage expert crowdsourcing to optimize the result. What we found was that the broader the distribution, the more complete the infographic (classic network effect). It’s also a testament to how well content marketing works as the LUMAscapes have now been viewed and downloaded over 4 million times from almost every country in the world (and are still growing). It helped us build a global brand.

    1. fredwilson

      Brilliant content marketing. As JLM would say “well played”

  9. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Fits a patternFirst time I spoke to William – He tried to help before even thinking about himself – made a connection for me and his helpfulness blew me awaySeems William likes to build indebtedness mountains – like India likes to smash into EurasiaIf you don’t know what that looks like here’s a picture of the results

    1. William Mougayar

      Thanks James. You are generous with your words.

  10. Matt A. Myers

    It would be great to next to see all of the real money investment flows into Bitcoin companies.Then being able to watch the cost of Bitcoin fluctuations, and calculate the Bitcoin that these services take – and to see how many tens of millions in value of Bitcoin these platforms have gained already just from demand increasing its price, and how many tens of billions in demand-value increase they vie to gain.Likely not easily possible actually, even though transparency is lauded as one of Bitcoin’s values.The possible racket that many of these companies are banking on is really scary actually – especially since it’s ignored and censored through silence by those invested into the ecosystem, who are the people and companies of course making the most noise about it.I’d really love to know if different companies are calculating Bitcoin’s value into their own valuations or monetization scheme – buy for less and pool it, sell for more when price is higher. I can’t picture them not as it would be something juicy to speculators.

    1. William Mougayar

      But it’s not just about Bitcoin as a money flowing thing; it’s a lot too about the blockchain as an enabler of new applications with or without money in it.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        I agree, all applications relating to blockchain are great. The unmanaged fluctuations of value of a blockchain when it’s tied to a currency is however an issue that needs to be addressed constantly until it changes.

  11. iggyfanlo

    First, thanks. @wmoug:disqus Perhaps asking too much but putting BTC flow/actions legend with each category would add a lot of value

    1. William Mougayar

      Thanks. What does “flow/actions” mean? Did you see my post where I added a narrative on some of the categories- is that helpful?

      1. iggyfanlo

        Value exchange at each point in the chain

  12. LE

    Wow that’s a great deal of work! I wondered if was in use and found it was at Where would that be on the list?An open-source distributed library for sharing and preserving art, history and culture. Imagine a platform like Youtube, Soundcloud, or Netflix – without any of the costly server or bandwidth overhead. Users can self-publish anything, including videos, music, books, 3D-printables, recipes, and more. Content creators have complete control over how their work is published with several different monetization options. Only the publisher has the power to remove her/his content from the library.What Bitcoin did for money, Alexandria will do for digital content publishing and distribution by removing central points of failure and financially incentivizing users around the world.The spreadsheet here is actually easier for me to parse (however the logos are good marketing and PR obviously..)http://www.startupmanagemen…

    1. William Mougayar

      yup, i knew about them, but this landscape is for financial services, and they are peripheral to it. thank you.

  13. Chris Phenner

    When I used to sell an adtech platform, I visited a well-known newspaper (site). Their offices looked like ‘All The Presidents’ Men’ and the team was similarly older-school — and here was another adtech seller visiting to solve a problem they didn’t know they had :)My point-of-contact clung all meeting to a printed version of the adtech LUMAscape map, and every time I would explain a platform feature, he would grab the LUMAscape map and say ‘so you mean, you’re like [so-and-so]’ company.These graphics also surface how noisy early-stage markets can be, especially when firms are trying to differentiate themselves while engaging the marketplace.The Wall Street Journal wrote about the absurdity of this in June of 2011.…Loving the work, laughing at the noise, loathing the mess that it appears to others.

  14. Terence Kawaja

    LUMAscapes aside, on the specific topic of Bitcoin, I produced an entirely different form of content (featuring Fred!):

    1. William Mougayar

      Thanks for injecting some fun into this.

  15. Steven Roussey

    I think this is the first time I’ve seen one of these charts actually know a good percentage of the people behind the names. And I can think of some that are missing. Time to send an email out…

  16. daryn

    Nice job William!When I was working on a restaurant product, I found a similar chart from FoodTechConnect immensely useful: http://www.foodtechconnect….

  17. Ana Milicevic

    This is fantastic @wmoug:disqusA great example of how much visualization can reduce complexity and enhance rudimentary understanding of a topic, basic classification, relationships, etc. Much easier to consume than the underlying spreadsheet. Most people will grab this type of ecosystem map and immediately want to know where a certain company is – which is why I keep harping on @terencekawaja:disqus to make a searchable (and paid) version of the Lumascapes. With the sheer # of companies in ad tech that could be a nicely-sized side hustle all together 🙂 Undoubtedly the same goes for the bitcoin space, although it’s still very much in its early phases.

  18. Ned Scott

    Business analyst from Cryptonomex and Bitshares here … would be great to touch base about how we might arrange these companies in the analysis! Bitshares & Graphene are public blockchains that support a decentralized version of the exchange business model with pegged-digital currencies, 100,000 trsx per second and 1 second trsx. look forward to getting in touch; find me on twitter @certainassets

    1. William Mougayar

      That’s a great diagram. I’ll be updating my landscape tomorrow. thank you.

      1. Ned Scott

        Thanks! Bitshares could fit in buckets for public chain, exchange and platform. It has Turing-complete scripting for smart contracts, like Ethereum, but it also comes with financial instruments, identity mgmt, high performance and markets under the hood on the floor model. Would be great to get in touch sometime.

  19. Daniel Vogel

    Fred,Since the avc blog doesn’t link to William’s image source directly but rather uses its own copy/uploaded image, the image in your blog is now outdated because indeed “countless companies are now reaching out to William” and William has been updating his landscape.Wouldn’t it be best to link to his image directly? Or do you have a specific policy for syndicating content?

    1. William Mougayar

      No, Fred links all the time. This was prob a case of speed/convenience.I’ve just pinned the link to the updated chart location.Thanks for pointing this out.

  20. ShanaC

    O_o oy

  21. Carm Hyll

    great one

  22. Alfred Jordan

    There are no insurers in the Financial Services map yetBitcoin has lost $1 billion in coins since the genesis block some of whichinsurable. That number amounts to 25% of the total Bitcoin marketcapitalization to date. The loss is staggering compared to capitalization. Itseems a gap not an omission.Fun Friday: Mapping The Bitcoin Market is an amazing and concise view of the ecosystem. Thank you for posting it.

  23. Dave Pinsen

    That’s quite a homework assignment you’ve laid out!

  24. William Mougayar

    In my post, I link to the Google Docs where some manipulation is allowed. I was thinking about pairing this list into a Mattermark watchlist and therefore allowing more data to permeate the list.Funding data might be the first parameter to add naturally.

  25. William Mougayar

    Yep, I’m a self-imposed masochist.

  26. TrustEnabler

    It’s a great idea. My thoughts exactly about Mattermark. Still need a visualization tool.

  27. William Mougayar

    nooo…PowerPoint on a Mac. lots of squinting and copy pasting logos. but first, I organized them into the spreadsheet (Google Sheet) and that was the longest part. Putting the logos on the screen was pretty mechanical once I figured out the space and size estimations, but I wished I had an assistant or mechanical turk to help me with that!

  28. William Mougayar

    people that reached out were very interesting and cordial.artisanal bread making is my other passion. bread API? Send it!

  29. awaldstein

    I am certain that amongst the community I have the longest standing active sour dough bread starter.My brother visited me in BC 25 years ago–last time I made bread–and took a piece of the starter.Had some bread from it last weekend.Pretty delicious and a cool bit of family legacy.