How We Built CoinTracker to Make Cryptocurrency Easier to Use

Last year, while Jon and I were working on a new fintech idea, something interesting happened. We were both cryptocurrency hobbyists, and our investments started growing to meaningful numbers thanks to the massive rise in cryptocurrency market capitalization in 2017. We realized that we had no clue how much money we had invested into cryptocurrency, and for whatever reason it was not at all shown on Coinbase, Poloniex, Binance, or any of the other exchanges we used. We were similarly let down by the existing tools we tried for basic crypto portfolio tracking.

Total cryptocurrency market capitalization in 2017 in log scale (source: CoinMarketCap)

We then turned to tracking our crypto investments in a spreadsheet. Initially the spreadsheet enabled manual entry of transactions, and then we scrapped together Google Apps scripts to import prices from various exchanges. We were increasingly relying on our simple spreadsheet and wondering how others were getting by without one.

Eventually we had so many formulas that it took two minutes just to load the spreadsheet! In early September 2017, Jon started hacking together a simple web app that codified our spreadsheets and within a week we had a barebones minimum viable product (MVP). We deployed it to www.cointracker.network (our original domain prior to www.cointracker.io) and posted a link on a few online groups just in case anyone else found it useful.

Original CoinTracker MVP

To our surprise, people actually started using our tool. Emails started to come in with feature requests, bug reports, and just gratitude for building CoinTracker. It began with a single message, then multiple messages a day, and then tens of messages per day with some users taking time to write multi-page feedback documents.

“Thank you for a great service. This is exactly what I was looking for, and it even has a few features that I didn’t know I needed before I actually had them.”

Our users spanned across the world. It truly gave us pause when we received an email from a spa owner in Thailand with a series of feature requests. People told us they were going to ditch their spreadsheets for CoinTracker.

Email from a passionate CoinTracker user

Since then, we’ve continued to relentlessly improve CoinTracker to solve our users’ (including our own) needs as crypto users. We believe it’s critical to hide the complexity of blockchain and cryptocurrency from end users and that’s why we’ve always prioritized automatically syncing your balances and transactions from your exchanges and crypto wallets. We’ve also built a cryptocurrency tax product that lets you get your capital gains form with the click of a button that thousands of users used to file their 2017 cryptocurrency taxes.

In January, we joined Y Combinator and soon thereafter raised a $1.5M seed round led by Initialized Capital (first seed investors in Coinbase) and other great angels.

While dozens of crypto portfolio trackers have popped up, we have differentiated CoinTracker with a focus on simplicity and ease of use. Underneath the hood, this requires us to tackle a host of technical challenges to hide complexity from the end user, such as automatic data sync with exchanges and crypto wallets, auto-classifying transactions, and properly tracking cost basis. We think we’re on a path to build CoinTracker into a best-in-class service that’s essential for every cryptocurrency user.

As we look forward, we are extremely excited about the challenges and opportunities ahead. There is huge scope to further improve cryptocurrency taxes, to make crypto trading more user-friendly, to build a simple, secure, reliable crypto wallet, and much more. Ultimately, we think an individual should be able to securely store their own money and move it anywhere in the world instantly without having to rely on a third party. We believe that being the true owner of your money and other digital assets is a powerful idea.

If you want to help us make this vision a reality, we are hiring.


Thank you Jon Lerner, Natalie Jacewicz, and Annie Baldwin for editing this post.