CoinDesk Sold for $500K in 2014, Projected $30 Million in Crypto Media Revenue in 2018


Three years ago, CoinDesk was sold for $500,000. Through the first seven months of 2018, CoinDesk generated more than $20 million in revenue, on pace to break the $30 million mark by the end of the year.

CoinDesk has quietly become a giant in the crypto media landscape – and people are starting to take note.

“CoinDesk is the hottest digital media startup that most people haven’t heard of,” explains a recent report from Axios.

Axios goes on to explain the history of the company. CoinDesk was launched in May 2013 by entrepreneur and investor Shakil Khan. Khan had been interested in bitcoin and wanted to build a simple site for tracking news and price data about the growing crypto industry. This, of course, was long before cryptocurrency was mainstream.

“When we first launched CoinDesk, the goal was simply to supply the market with accurate and reliable information on digital currency,” Khan told Axios in an interview. “As the community increasingly looked to us for the latest industry developments and our perspective on them, building a media business around that based also on data and events felt very organic.”

In 2016, Khan sold the company for $500,000 to Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group (DCG). At the time of the sale, the firm had 10 full-time employees and 700,000 monthly readers. It had also raised approximately $2 million in seed funding from investors like DCG, 500 Startups, and Science Inc.

Since the sale, CoinDesk has exploded with growth along with the crypto industry. CoinDesk’s revenue has grown tenfold.

Much of CoinDesk’s revenue comes from its expanding events business. CoinDesk’s annual Consensus conference, for example, has grown to become one of the industry’s premier events. The conference had 8500 attendees in 2018, up from 625 when it debuted in 2015.

This year’s Consensus came with some controversy. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin criticized Consensus for being too expensive. CoinDesk CEO Kevin Worth responded saying that he’s working to make the event more accessible. He also claimed that many attendees pay less than the price at the door.

Another area of growth for CoinDesk is in its research arm. CoinDesk’s research division grew out of its early bitcoin price reports. Today, the research division creates ongoing crypto reports and has multiple areas of focus.

The core of CoinDesk’s platform, meanwhile, continues to be its news division. Manned by a 25 person editorial staff, CoinDesk’s news division has grown to five million monthly unique visitors.

Last month, CoinDesk branched into a new and surprising field: podcasting. Coindesk’s Late Confirmation podcast is sponsored by the University of Oxford. CoinDesk will take broadcasting a step further this fall when it plans to premiere a live-streamed online video show.

Like any crypto-related business, CoinDesk’s success is connected directly to the crypto world. The company noticed a spike in traffic in Q4 2017 when the bull market was in full swing. Since then, traffic has dropped off as the market has cooled down:

“Some of the traffic from [the Q4 2017] spike has dropped off as the market has cooled down, but a significant portion has remained as the growing interest level in the broader story about blockchain and crypto shows no signs of slowing down,”

In any case, CoinDesk has generated more than $20 million in revenue through July 2018, according to the Axios report. That puts the crypto media giant on pace to generate more than $30 million in revenue by the end of the year.

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