It’s been 15 years since Satoshi Nakamoto launched Bitcoin. On January 3, 2024, the network will celebrate a decade and a half of endless activity. Though many companies folded in 2023, several of the earliest players remain in the game.
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We will discuss the overview of the first crypto companies still in operation, from when they started and details of their business activities and longevity in the game.
While many other companies have folded and of recent 3AC etc, a selected few of these firms have surpassed a decade of operation, passing through the bull and bear of every season, enough to threaten their operation.
Braiins Pool (formerly Slush Pool)
Known today as Braiins Pool, Slush Pool was established on November 27, 2010 by Marek Palatinus. Braiins Pool holds the crown of the longest-running Bitcoin mining pool, actively engaging in BTC mining operations.
Palatinus was also known for his role in developing the world’s initial hardware wallet, Trezor. Currently, Braiins Pool is responsible for 0.63% of the Bitcoin network’s total hash rate, delivering 2.99 exahash per second (EH/s) in the past three days. Braiins has been in business for close to 13 years.
Bitmain is a manufacturer of Bitcoin ASIC mining rigs, founded 3yrs after Braiin Pool was established. In 2013, Zhan and Jihan Wu established the company, but in 2019, Wu resigned as co-CEO. Vitamin is known for creating Antminer mining rigs.
Bitmain also launched Antpool, one of the largest mining pools globally by total hash rate. The company has been in operation since 2013, until now, over 10 years ago.
The popular first hardware wallet ever known as Trezor wallet was created by SatoshiLabs in 2013. SatoshiLabs was founded by Marek Palatinus and Pavol Rusnak. The first-ever hardware wallet, Trezor Model One, debuted on July 29, 2014.
Trezor launched the third version of its hardware wallet, which supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, and over 7,000 other digital currencies. Trezor hardware wallets have been in operation for a total of ten years.
The top and most reckoned ASIC chip manufacturing and bitcoin mining hardware, Canaan Inc. was launched in 2013 by founders Nangeng Zhang, Jiaxuan Li, and Xiangfu Liu.
Canaan made a bold move by acquiring Avalon, the pioneer of the first ASIC mining rig, in the same year.
Canaan went public on November 21, 2019, positioning itself as one of the first in the crypto mining sector to go public. Canaan has been in the game for 10 years.
Kraken is reportedly among the two oldest crypto trading firms in the world. Kraken is based in San Francisco and was founded in 2011 by Jesse Powell, Thanh Luu, and Michael Granger. The exchange, like Bitstamp, has long offered trading of crypto assets against fiat currencies.
While Kraken has not suffered any major security breaches in its history, it recently encountered regulatory issues with the SEC, leading to the discontinuation of its staking services. Kraken has been operational for more than 12 years.
Launched just one year after Kraken, Coinbase is one of the oldest trading firms to exist in San Francisco, and began its operations in June 2012, thanks to founders Fred Ehrsam and Brian Armstrong. Over time, it has risen to become one of the most regulatory-compliant premier crypto exchanges globally.
Coinbase first made its debut as a publicly traded entity on April 14, 2021, when it listed its Class A common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker “COIN.” Coinbase introduced its Layer2 public blockchain dubbed Base Chain on 23rd February, 2023. On August 9, 2023, the BaseChain Mainnet was launched. Coinbase has been operating for 11 years.
One of the oldest crypto trading firms, Bitfinex, was established in 2012 by French entrepreneur Raphael Nicolle and Italian businessman Giancarlo Devasini. The platform commands the second-largest Bitcoin wallet, with 190,010 BTC in its cold storage.
Bitfinex is owned by Ifinex Inc., which also operates Tether Holdings Limited, the leading issuer of stablecoins and the issuer of the world’s largest stablecoin USDT. Bitfinex has been a player in the digital currency exchange space for over 11 years.
Bitstamp, a European cryptocurrency exchange, was established in 2011 by Nejc Kodrič and Damijan Merlak. For years, the exchange has enabled trading of cryptocurrencies against fiat currencies such as the U.S. dollar, British pound, and euro. Bitstamp has been operational for more than 12 years since its launch.
Blockchain.com, formerly known as Blockchain.info, was founded in 2011 by a team including Peter Smith and Nicolas Cary. The company provides a variety of services, including a block explorer for multiple cryptocurrencies, data analytics, and a digital wallet.
It also runs a trading platform with a wallet service. Blockchain.com has seen the creation of 87 million wallets from users in 200 countries since its wallet service began. The business has been operational for about 12 years.
Bitpay, a cryptocurrency payment service provider headquartered in Atlanta, was founded in May 2011 by Tony Gallippi and Stephen Pair. The company offers payment processing services for merchants to accept cryptocurrency. Bitpay introduced a Visa cryptocurrency debit card that was later rebranded in partnership with Mastercard.
Bitpay announced the discontinuation of the Mastercard program, with plans to introduce a new card offering in the future. The processor continues to handle merchant payments and has been in business for 12 years.
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