Selkis started blogging about crypto in 2013 under the pseudonym “Two Bit Idiot.” He gained significant media attention the following year by breaking the news of the Mt. Gox hack. He is both an industry insider and a critic, known for his outspoken and direct communication style.
The media and individual investors take note of his predictions, opinions, and criticisms of crypto projects and news. For the past six years, he has published his yearly “Crypto Theses” which include forecasts of the crypto market in the year ahead.
Selkis started Messari in 2018 with the mission of bringing more transparency and fairness to the industry after observing that information was divided unevenly between insiders and average investors.
Ryan Selkis was born in Albany, New York and received a Bachelor of Science from Boston College in 2008. He attended MIT’s Sloan School of Management intending to pursue an MBA but dropped out in 2014 to focus on Bitcoin.
After Boston College, he worked in the finance industry as an analyst at JPMorgan Chase and as an associate at Summit Partners, a venture capital group. In 2011, he founded Good Benefits, a startup that managed workplace charitable giving programs, and served as the CEO until 2014.
Role in the cryptocurrency community
Selkis first heard of Bitcoin in mid-2011 while working for Summit Partners. He was skeptical of the digital currency at the time, and, lacking engineering experience, didn’t know how to obtain it. However, the experience put crypto on his radar.
In the summer of 2013, he started reading more about crypto and decided to buy some bitcoin. That fall, the federal government shut down Silk Road, an online black market that made use of the cryptocurrency to purchase illicit goods. The shutdown proved that bitcoin was still used outside of illicit activity, further proving the cryptocurrency’s legitimacy, which led Selkis to take the Bitcoin more seriously.
Blogging and Mt. Gox hack
Selkis started writing a daily blog on Bitcoin called “TBI's Daily Bit” under the pseudonym Two Bit Idiot. He originally started the blog for his own personal knowledge. He owned some bitcoin at the time but wanted to analyze the market to see if he should buy more or sell what he owned.
The blog grew in popularity, and in February 2014, Selkis was sent a report from a friend pertaining to the Mt. Gox exchange. Rumors had been circulating that the exchange was mismanaged, but the report confirmed the explosive news that 750,000 bitcoins were missing, totaling $473 million in value and about 7% of the entire bitcoin supply at the time.
Selkis decided to publish the 11-page document, titled “Crisis Strategy Draft,” on his blog, writing, “I have several sources close to Mt. Gox that have confirmed the numbers and am attempting to reach Gox executives for comment.”
Significant media attention followed the news break, with Selkis giving frequent interviews and providing commentary.
Digital Currency Group and CoinDesk
Following the Mt. Gox news, Selkis decided to move into crypto full-time. He joined Digital Currency Group, a venture capital company focusing on the crypto market, managing the firm’s seed investing activity. He oversaw the company’s acquisition of CoinDesk, a major news site for bitcoin and digital news, in early 2016. Selkis became a Managing Director at CoinDesk a few months later, leading the company’s restructuring and annual Consensus conferences.
Selkis began to detect a lack of transparency and fairness in the industry. He observed crypto insiders gaining a different level of access to information about the market or a particular asset than the average individual. He felt that inside information was siloed, and that incomplete data allowed major investors to profit at the expense of the public.
“Most of these tokens that are being sold are held by the same syndicate of investors who get early access to all the deals. They’re getting massive discounts, so by the time the retail investors have an opportunity to purchase these, very often, they’re buying it at 10 or 20 or 50 times what the insiders are paying,” he said on a podcast.
Selkis created Messari in 2018 to level the playing field for the average investor. Marketed as a distributed crypto library, the site provides extensive research reports, market intel, Web3 tools, and asset profiles, among other services. The site also displays funding and data disclosures for various crypto projects.
Messari raised $35 million in a Series B funding round in September 2022 with a valuation of $300 million.
Crypto Thesis Reports
Starting in 2017, Selkis began releasing his “Crypto Theses” which encompass key trends and projects to watch for, along with his crypto predictions for the next year. While originally taking the form of a series of tweets released on New Year’s Day, the theses have grown to a multi-page report covering multiple areas of the market and are widely circulated throughout the crypto industry.
Selkis has invested in numerous crypto projects, including Juno, a cross-border neo-banking platform; Lit Protocol, a decentralized access control infrastructure; Goldfinch, a decentralized credit platform for crypto loans; Magna, a token vesting and investment management platform; and Massive, a payment layer for the internet.
Ryan Selkis essentials
- Ryan Selkis is a long-time crypto commentator, writer, and investor, known for breaking the news of the Mt. Gox hack.
- He currently serves as co-founder and CEO of Messari, a distributed crypto library and data site aimed at helping the average investor make decisions.
- Selkis’s crypto predictions are closely watched by both the media and individual investors.