The past year delivered brutal setbacks for the crypto industry in the form of financial scandals, regulatory punishment, and public mistrust. All of this, however, overshadows the fact that crypto remains a trillion-dollar industry and that hardworking entrepreneurs continue to build products and services that are pushing blockchain evermore into the mainstream. It’s time to recognize them.
That’s why Fortune is launching the inaugural Crypto 40, a new franchise that will recognize the leading companies in eight categories, ranging from traditional finance (TradFi) to infrastructure to DeFi to NFTs. In doing so, Fortune will draw on its near century of expertise in telling readers who’s who in the world of business.
There is no shortage of crypto lists and rankings, but nearly all of these are entirely subjective and often amount to a popularity contest determined by a few editors. The Fortune Crypto 40 is different. Drawing on the tradition of the magazine’s other famous lists—including the iconic Fortune 500—this new franchise is employing a rigorous, data-driven methodology to identify the leaders in each field of crypto. Fortune is also partnering with respected survey firm Researchscape to ask crypto and finance executives about which companies they regard as best in breed.
One purpose of the Fortune Crypto 40 is to recognize the many good actors working in crypto. Contrary to the worst caricatures, the industry is not just composed of the likes of Sam Bankman-Fried, the Three Arrows Capital bros, and Razzlekhan. The reality is that most people in crypto are nothing like these sociopaths—and, after a year of being tarnished by association, the companies and projects they built deserve to be recognized.
But our new franchise has another purpose: to promote transparency and accountability. While business success will be the primary criteria for determining who lands on the Crypto 40, the winners will also be selected on the basis of reputation and transparency. There is no guarantee, of course, that a bad apple will not appear on the list—we all learned the hard way from Bankman-Fried that criminals can be hard to spot. But the use of these additional criteria will at least help screen unsavory actors and give a boost to companies that do the right thing.
The inaugural Fortune Crypto 40 will be revealed in print and online this spring as part of our crypto-themed April/May issue. To read more about the eight categories that make up the list and to get a flavor of the methodologies employed, this page has a detailed description. Best of luck to all the companies.
Jeff John Roberts
Binance abruptly closed the accounts of Australians it had misclassified as wholesale traders rather than retail ones, who are not allowed to trade derivatives. (CoinDesk)
A federal judge ruled that NFT-based NBA Top Shot basketball cards might be securities. (CoinDesk)
Solana-themed retail stores, which opened in posh locations in New York and New Orleans, are shutting after less than a year. (Fortune)
Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian owns more than 700 NFTs and invested $500 million last February in crypto startups. (Forbes)
Veteran securities lawyers are skeptical of the SEC’s suggestion that stablecoins issued by Paxos and others are securities. (WSJ)
MEME O’ THE MOMENT
Crypto Twitter is also afraid of A.I.:
This is the web version of Fortune Crypto, a daily newsletter. Sign up here to get it delivered free to your inbox.