Winklevii Call Crypto “Winter,” Consumer-Crypto Struggles, Crypto-FinTech Thrives

Drew Chapin
Published in
3 min readDec 20, 2018


Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, founders of the Gemini crypto exchange, aren’t concerned about the cryptocurrency slump: in a recent Bloomberg interview, Tyler Winklevoss claimed, “We’re totally at home in winter.”

It’s a good quote and signal for the Winklevii-owned exchange and its users, though it’s easy to ride out the storm when you’re as established as Gemini and have founders with deep pockets.

Others aren’t as lucky, especially those working on consumer-facing projects. According to State of the dApps, there are ~44,700 daily active users for ~1,260 live decentralized applications, or 35 daily users per live dApp despite billions funneled into the ecosystem in 2016 and 2017. The popular Steemit laid off close to 70% of its staff in November. Even ConsenSys, which once boasted a Netflix-like appetite for launching every project imaginable, has sounded the alarm and announced a realignment of its 1,000-employee venture studio.

The reasons for these developments are complex, many, and the subject for a much longer post on another day. Rather than step through the blockchain industry’s desire to go from crawl to sprint overnight, I think it best to focus on what is working right now: crypto-fintech.

A train can’t go anywhere without tracks, and it should go without saying major cryptocurrencies can’t really reach mass markets without the rails needed to facilitate easy access and faith in the system.

These rails are the kind offered by payment providers like Visa: a merchant accepts Visa because Visa is offering a level of security that the funds will be received (whether overnight or within a few days), and a consumer uses Visa because it enables easy access (and it’s easier than taking out a checkbook).

Companies like Worbli are not the sexiest — they aren’t promising to leverage blockchain to solve the issues of the day around Facebook and data, for example — but they are laying the rails for what it’s going to take to bring crypto to the masses.

Worbli has partnered with major players Holland & Knight, Chintai EOS, Web Profits, and Origin to jumpstart its effort to serve as the centerpiece for a full suite of financial services from exchanges and smart contracts to dApps and cross-chain integrations.

The proof is in the hiring — while Steemit and ConsenSys shrink their headcount, Worbli is absorbing top talent in the industry and their appetite only appears to be growing larger.

And while Worbli has been late to the game, that may end up being a good thing: while Coinbase, Circle, and others have had to be the first through the brick wall of regulation and governance, it’s the newcomers like Worbli who can step through the wreckage and seek compliance from day one.

A cold and snowy winter can be tough but it’s important to remember the thaw will come, and it’s that snowmelt that nourishes and leads to spring flowers. Crypto-fintech and Worbli have their work cut out for them as they brave the brutal winter of a sub-$4k bitcoin, but the reward is potentially enormous: one of these companies could prove to be the Netscape Navigator or America Online of our time.

Andrew J. Chapin is the Co-Founder & CEO of Benja, the commerce network, head of the benjaCoin token project, and author of Art of the Initial Coin Offering.



Drew Chapin

Early-stage tech business development, focused on the intersection of commerce and media. Specialize in product discovery. Writing & working on what's next.