Brandon Chez: Mysterious CMC Founder Talks About the Flexibility of Crypto and His Lessons Learned

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.

This interview is the first in the series, featuring Brandon Chez, the little-known founder who started CoinMarketCap in his Queens apartment in May 2013. Since then, CoinMarketCap has grown to be the most referenced price-tracking source for comparing thousands of crypto assets.

Chez

In 2011, I was on my lunch break at work. I usually read Hacker News, a news aggregator for tech and startups. I just read this article, the headline was something to the effect of Bitcoin reaches parity with the U.S. dollar. It got my attention because it was just really interesting, people were trading it. Some people had got in really, really early and made a lot of money.

My first reaction was, oh, this must be some kind of scam or Ponzi scheme, all the typical initial reactions people usually get. But I was also fascinated with the technology portion of how it was open source.

From there I did a lot of research, I looked into what other people had said about it, tech people that I trust and follow. And they said, yeah, its open source, I dont see anything obviously wrong with it. That gave me a little more confidence to look more into it, and after a couple of months I said, okay, Im not going to lose all my money immediately (at least immediately!) I think it was Mt. Gox at the time, I opened up an account and did a little trading just for fun.

Chez

Ive left some crypto on online services that were hacked or that disappeared without notice. Its always a good reminder that if you dont control the private keys, you dont truly own the crypto.

Whenever I use online services, I try my best not to leave crypto there longer than necessary.

Theres a current debate in crypto about the benefits and drawbacks of new users keeping their crypto on exchanges, as they arent tech savvy enough to have control of their private keys (looking at you, Peter Schiff). Do you have an opinion?

Chez

I think its OK [to leave crypto on exchanges], as long as youre aware of the risks. If you know that at any point in time this exchange can get hacked or they might die and run away with your private keys — its all about accepting personal responsibility.

If youre OK with losing a hundred dollars or whatever on an exchange, thats fine. But just dont put more than youre willing to lose, in either case.

If you dont feel comfortable holding your own private keys, then dont put your life savings in there. Only put what youre willing to lose in a worst case scenario.

Chez

I think theyre unrelated. If anything, I think these events are just necessary to further the awareness. I think its just a natural st ...

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Tags: Bitcoin, Brandon Chez, Talks, Crypto, Frederick Mitchell Walker, Entrepreneurship, CoinMarketCap, Flexibility, China Motor Corporation, making-of