Cointelegraph spoke with Gliss from CoinMarketCap about what it takes to be included in everyone’s favorite Cryptocurrency Index, Ethercoin trading and what were the most controversial altcoins to date.

Bitcoin has been referred to as a “reserve currency” for cryptocurrencies because a majority of people who acquire altcoins do so using bitcoin as a proxy and in most instances altcoins primarily derive their value through their exchangeability into and out of bitcoin.

There is perhaps no place better to see this in action than CoinMarketCap, which has risen to be one of the leading cryptocurrency resources. With Ethereum’s high profile release of Frontier and subsequent trading of Ether, social media been aflutter tracking Ether market capitalization on CoinMarketCap.

“Ripple, Nxt, Bytecoin, and PayCoin were much debated topics on how to list due to the amount of coins in existence prior to or at launch.” 

- Gliss, CoinMarketCap

Cointelegraph: Why did you start CoinMarketCap?

Gliss: When altcoin trading was becoming popular, I noticed that it was difficult to find information on key metrics such as the market cap and supply information. I started the site mainly as a pet project for personal use, but was glad to see that others in the community found it useful as well.

CT: How do you decide to add an altcoin to the Index?

G: A lot of altcoin submissions come through the request form linked on the bottom of the site and if they meet the basic criteria, they get added. The criteria is:

  • Must be traded on a public exchange with an API
  • Must have a non-zero volume so that a price can be determined

I also try to proactively add coins that appear on the popular exchanges.

CT: Do you feel comfortable with me calling it an index?

G: Sure.

CT: Ethercoin is "backed" by Ethereum (Ethers). Do you count both market caps in the total market cap?

G: Yes, because Ethercoin is a separate blockchain with independent value. If Ethercoin's price were to diverge from Ethereum's (e.g. due to loss of faith or some malfunction), that event should be captured in the total market cap.

CT: Can you explain the difference between the Available and Total Supply of the coin such as that of Ethereum’s Ether?

G: As of yesterday [8/17], there's no difference.

CT: Does Total Supply include provably destroyed coins? I'm not sure its possible to prove the total number of coins that have been destroyed for a particular coin but there are some notable destructions (great melts?) such as the Proof of Burn by CounterParty  (destroying BTC) and Dogeparty (destroying Dogecoin).

G: It does not. If there exists a formal burn address, the amount burned is usually subtracted from the total supply dynamically.

CT: When did you introduce “assets”?

G: I believe it was September 2014 - a bit after the Nxt asset exchange APIs were available.

CT: The Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, The U.S. Government Accountability Office, The House Committee on Small Business (PDF), and even The U.S.  Department of Treasury (PDF) have used CoinMarketCap as a reference in one form or another. Did any of these citations surprise you?

G: Yes, and it's fascinating to watch how the governments are reacting to the innovations in the space.

CT: One obvious feature anyone looking at the site would like to see is the "Total Market Cap" including and excluding Bitcoin as a graph over time. When will this be implemented?

G: In terms of new feature development, getting an official API up and running is the priority right now. But with that in place, it should be relatively easy to add the highly requested total market cap graph as well as other interesting graphs.

CT: What were some "interesting" entrants into CoinMarketCap? Gaw's PayCoin or even Ripple (not mineable) or block explorer failures perhaps?

G: Ripple, Nxt, Bytecoin, and PayCoin were much debated topics on how to list due to the amount of coins in existence prior to or at launch.

“About 40% of the coins ever added to the site are now ‘inactive’ due to failing to meet the basic criteria.”

CT: Has CoinMarketCap ever permanently removed a coin from being listed on the site? If so is there a list of delisted coins? How about delisting an exchange?

G: About 40% of the coins ever added to the site are now "inactive" due to failing to meet the basic criteria. In virtually all cases, the reason for delisting is because all exchanges have delisted the coin. There is not currently a list of these coins, but perhaps in the future.  Exchanges get delisted when their API fails ceases to work for a significant period of time.

CT: Have you seen Way Back Machine's earliest capture of CoinMarketCap?

G: :)

CT: If I'm not mistaken, I thought you once captured the Bitcoin price via BitcoinAverage. Now I see you are doing your own calculations.

G: That's correct.  BitcoinAverage is a great resource, but there were a couple of times were BitcoinAverage's API glitched and reported highly inflated prices resulting in a "fun" data cleanup task. It's not good to be reliant on a single data source for such an important data point. Also, it seems that they don't include data from some of the lesser known exchanges.

CT: What is something most people don't realize about CoinMarketCap?

G: Perhaps how much work goes into maintaining the site.  New coins are created every day, key information needs updating and/or to be validated, block explorers break or change, new exchanges need to be integrated, etc.

CT:  What will CoinMarketCap look like 6 months or a year from now?

G: Hopefully the same, but with better functionality and a lot more mobile friendly.

CT:  The closest thing you have to a logo is on your Twitter profile. Will we see some branding in the future or will you be sticking with elegant simplicity?

G: Anything is possible, although I believe one of the strong points of the site is the "elegant simplicity."

CT: What are you surprised that I didn't ask you?

G: Nothing, these are really good questions!

CT: Where is the best place to keep informed about CoinMarketCap? Do you monitor your sub-Reddit? I don't see a link to it on your website.

G: Twitter is probably the best place.  I do monitor other places such as Reddit.

CT: Is there anything else you would like to say to readers of CT?

G: Just thanks to everyone who has given feedback, made a feature request, donated, or even created an altcoin/exchange.


Author Disclaimer: The author previously received payment by CoinMarketCap for advertising on another cryptocurrency media channel. No business relationship currently exists between the author and CoinMarketCap. The author received no compensation by any persons other than the venue publishing this article (and incidental bitcoin tips). The author may hold various cryptocurrencies referred to in this interview.