This has been another tumultuous year for the blockchain industry, rife with tragedy and comedy, mystery and strife, innovation and disappointment.
Just consider some of 2019’s biggest stories: QuadrigaCX’s CEO took hundreds of millions in customer funds to the grave. Craig Wright threatened legal action against a cartoon cat. Coinbase hired (then fired) a team of mercenary hackers. Kik fought the SEC. Justin Sun paid handsomely to dine with Warren Buffett (and mysteriously postponed at the last minute). Bakkt overcame regulatory roadblocks to launch a watershed bitcoin derivative product (albeit with inauspicious early results).
Then there was Libra – perhaps the biggest story of all. This was the year the financial establishment finally had to contend with the full implications of digital money for the first time.
Through it all, the blockchain industry continued to morph and grow. We’ve seen the rise of DeFi and interest-bearing instruments from the likes of MakerDAO and Compound. We’ve seen bitcoin return to its perch as easily the most important crypto project (both by market cap and developer activity). We’ve seen a string of new stablecoins, and several national digital currency projects, from China to the Marshall Islands.
Each year, CoinDesk publishes its “Most Influential in Blockchain” series to highlight people who’ve stood out in the space and made significant contributions (here’s the 2018 list). The 10 names are selected both by readers (including you, hopefully) and by reporters and editors here. It’s a chance to take stock and look back, to celebrate the variety of people in this space, and have a bit of fun. As well as exceptional entrepreneurs and developers, we also recognize significant thinkers, communicators and regulators, and even the odd oddball.
We need your vote
Take a look at the long-list here, selected by CoinDesk editors and reporters. We need your help narrowing down this group to a final 15 (a top-10 with a few runners-up).
Who jumps out to you as particularly noteworthy in 2019? Who had a big year? Who was at the top of their game? Who pushed technology in a new direction, or explained or defined topics in a unique way? Nominate FIVE people you feel made the greatest impact. Then, for Question 2, name anyone you think we’ve forgotten and should include.
This year, we’ve also made space for the “villains” of crypto – people who are more notorious than award-worthy (we all have our favorites). Some might argue that heretics and blowhards don’t deserve more of our time, but we want to take in the full scope of blockchain humanity. For Question 3, please nominate TWO people who made a splash in 2019 for less-than-honorable reasons.
Again, the survey is here. Thanks for your time and for your consideration (we promise it won’t take long to fill in).
Heroes and villains image via Knight Wolf on Flickr