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Crypto Portfolio Tracker Raises $1.5 Million in Funding

Cryptocurrency investment management startup CoinTracker has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from some heavyweight investors, the firm announced on Tuesday.

Backed by seed accelerator Y Combinator, the round was spearheaded by Initialized Capital – an early Coinbase investor that was in part established by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Protocol Labs founder and FileCoin creator Juan Benet and Gmail creator Paul Buchheit also notably took part in the round.

CoinTracker co-founder Chandan Lodha told CoinDesk that the company’s core premise is to “make crypto more accessible, easier to use and simpler for a mainstream audience.”

“I think one of things that appeals to some of the folks that are in the round is that we’re taking this not well understood and confusing and complicated space and just making it super easy so that anyone interested in the space could get involved,” he told CoinDesk.

Order out of chaos

In the interview, Lodha said that the company was born out of his and co-founder Jon Lerner’s frustration with tracking their crypto investments. The ex-Google employees initially tried to use a spreadsheet to keep track of their investments, logging each transaction manually.

“That works fine for the first 10 trades or when you have a very simple transaction history,” he said, “but, over time, you start doing more trades or start having more exchanges or more coins – it gets very out of control.”

The team then added API integration and Google apps scripts, which Lodha described as a “really heavyweight hack-y solution” for what seemed like a simple problem.

This “pain point” prompted Lodha and Lerner to develop a simpler front-end for the product, which eventually evolved into “a simple dashboard for a unified interface of all your crypto assets.”

Lodha explained:

“The initial differentiator that got us some early traction was that instead of people having to manually enter in each trade one at a time, we synchronized the different exchanges and wallets that people have. So they just connect them once, and then it pulls in all of their transaction history retroactively and going forward, and then they could see how their [investment] performance was going without having to do anything.”

Taxing issue

Most recently, CoinTracker introduced a tax feature to further simply crypto investors’ experience. The new tool “parses all the different trades and transactions you have and actually outputs a filled-out IRS Form 8949,” Lodha said.

“It saves people a lot of hassle,” he added.

Lodha and Lerner don’t intend to stop at taxes and have plans to take on other aspects of the crypto space that are currently inaccessible.

“We started by dealing with tracking and taxes and making that super easy, but hopefully over time we can do that to other areas as well,” Lodha said.

The co-founders plan to use their seed funding to realize this goal, first by expanding their team to include more full-stack developers.

“There are obviously many areas of crypto that are very confusing and complicated,” Lodha said. “I really don’t like that it comes across as such a complicated and accessible space.”

Businessmen and coins image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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'More Bang for Less Byte': ICOs Confront Growing Pains

If the opening reception at Token Summit II was any indication, the initial coin offering (ICO) market is still brimming with enthusiasm – but struggling to figure itself out.

CoinDesk arrived last night only a few minutes after the start time, but the room was already full of people eager to share their ideas about the potential applications for the new mechanism for raising capital and giving users a way to interact with decentralized platforms.

According to Laurent Féral-Pierssens of KPMG Canada’s emerging technology group:

“I think the whole equity-to-liquidity roadmap is being redesigned as we speak, and it’s all happening over the next 24 months.”

Yet exactly how it will be redesigned remains an open question, with several key issues yet to be resolved: How should investors evaluate token offerings? Can blockchains scale to accommodate all the proposed use cases? And to what degree will Web 2.0 companies get involved?

 These questions will be explored today as the conference, hosted by angel investor William Mougayar, in San Francisco – the sequel to the first Token Summit held in New York City in May – kicks off in earnest.

Token metrics

 In a sector with a lot of potential and hardly any products in the market, investors are grappling with how to differentiate good opportunities from the duds.

 The default answer on validation seems to be “the team,” but what does that really mean?

 In the immediate term, Kenetic Capital’s Jehan Chu gave a specific answer, telling CoinDesk:

 “The number of devs you have on your project is highly underrated and a metric that is not asked enough.”

Scalar Capital’s Jordan Clifford (a Coinbase alum) got even more specific, pointing to the scaling challenges facing the network. He’s looking for companies whose business plans have factored in the reality that blockchains aren’t ready for high volume usage.

 “They need to have clever strategies for how they are going to scale and get more bang for less byte,” Clifford said.

 He described the blockchain as a commons, and said he’s looking for developers with the skill to “push as much of the problem off the main chain.”

Can they scale?

Which raises the most fundamental question for the industry: can this technology handle all the work entrepreneurs envision for it?

While the ICO industry frets about the possibility of a regulatory crackdown, such interventions are a moot point if distributed technology can’t be fast, reliable and deliver a great user experience.

Because of this, multiple projects are ongoing to find ways to scale blockchain to allow for an ever-growing number of transactions without substantially increasing the cost to facilitate those transactions.

Sardor Umarov is the co-founder of what he hopes will be an important blockchain-based hotel management app, BookLocal. His family also runs the Exchange Suites in Memphis, where they will be testing his solution. By the time they’re happy with how it works, he said, he is optimistic the networks will be ready.

 “Let’s just assume two years, the latest prediction,” Umarov said. “There’s just so many scaling options.”

Another entrepreneur and former VC in the energy sector, Jeremy Adelman, agreed. A co-founder of Bluenote, one of the companies presenting today, he said he’s not nervous about the infrastructure’s readiness to decentralize the global energy markets.

 He told CoinDesk:

“Human ingenuity will find a way to unlock the most value.”

 He could be right, but it looks tough currently, since programmatically bred cartoon cats are clogging up the ethereum network this week.

Wild card

But while blockchain developers work to find solutions to the technology’s scaling problems, more and more mainstream companies are being lured into the space.

 It will be telling if established internet companies have representatives at Token Summit looking for new ways to ship (in the Silicon Valley sense of “getting products out the door”).

After all, one baby unicorn, the messaging app Kik, has already distributed its own token, which it announced at the first Token Summit.

Mougayar has promised a big announcement – will it be another familiar name entering the space? Stay tuned to CoinDesk for updates.  

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Coinbase.

Token Summit II image via Pete Rizzo for CoinDesk

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Interested in offering your expertise or insights to our reporting? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency.

Posted on

'More Bang for Less Byte': ICOs Confront Growing Pains

If the opening reception at Token Summit II was any indication, the initial coin offering (ICO) market is still brimming with enthusiasm – but struggling to figure itself out.

CoinDesk arrived last night only a few minutes after the start time, but the room was already full of people eager to share their ideas about the potential applications for the new mechanism for raising capital and giving users a way to interact with decentralized platforms.

According to Laurent Féral-Pierssens of KPMG Canada’s emerging technology group:

“I think the whole equity-to-liquidity roadmap is being redesigned as we speak, and it’s all happening over the next 24 months.”

Yet exactly how it will be redesigned remains an open question, with several key issues yet to be resolved: How should investors evaluate token offerings? Can blockchains scale to accommodate all the proposed use cases? And to what degree will Web 2.0 companies get involved?

 These questions will be explored today as the conference, hosted by angel investor William Mougayar, in San Francisco – the sequel to the first Token Summit held in New York City in May – kicks off in earnest.

Token metrics

 In a sector with a lot of potential and hardly any products in the market, investors are grappling with how to differentiate good opportunities from the duds.

 The default answer on validation seems to be “the team,” but what does that really mean?

 In the immediate term, Kenetic Capital’s Jehan Chu gave a specific answer, telling CoinDesk:

 “The number of devs you have on your project is highly underrated and a metric that is not asked enough.”

Scalar Capital’s Jordan Clifford (a Coinbase alum) got even more specific, pointing to the scaling challenges facing the network. He’s looking for companies whose business plans have factored in the reality that blockchains aren’t ready for high volume usage.

 “They need to have clever strategies for how they are going to scale and get more bang for less byte,” Clifford said.

 He described the blockchain as a commons, and said he’s looking for developers with the skill to “push as much of the problem off the main chain.”

Can they scale?

Which raises the most fundamental question for the industry: can this technology handle all the work entrepreneurs envision for it?

While the ICO industry frets about the possibility of a regulatory crackdown, such interventions are a moot point if distributed technology can’t be fast, reliable and deliver a great user experience.

Because of this, multiple projects are ongoing to find ways to scale blockchain to allow for an ever-growing number of transactions without substantially increasing the cost to facilitate those transactions.

Sardor Umarov is the co-founder of what he hopes will be an important blockchain-based hotel management app, BookLocal. His family also runs the Exchange Suites in Memphis, where they will be testing his solution. By the time they’re happy with how it works, he said, he is optimistic the networks will be ready.

 “Let’s just assume two years, the latest prediction,” Umarov said. “There’s just so many scaling options.”

Another entrepreneur and former VC in the energy sector, Jeremy Adelman, agreed. A co-founder of Bluenote, one of the companies presenting today, he said he’s not nervous about the infrastructure’s readiness to decentralize the global energy markets.

 He told CoinDesk:

“Human ingenuity will find a way to unlock the most value.”

 He could be right, but it looks tough currently, since programmatically bred cartoon cats are clogging up the ethereum network this week.

Wild card

But while blockchain developers work to find solutions to the technology’s scaling problems, more and more mainstream companies are being lured into the space.

 It will be telling if established internet companies have representatives at Token Summit looking for new ways to ship (in the Silicon Valley sense of “getting products out the door”).

After all, one baby unicorn, the messaging app Kik, has already distributed its own token, which it announced at the first Token Summit.

Mougayar has promised a big announcement – will it be another familiar name entering the space? Stay tuned to CoinDesk for updates.  

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Coinbase.

Token Summit II image via Pete Rizzo for CoinDesk

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Interested in offering your expertise or insights to our reporting? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency.