After the 1929 stock market crash, new regulations brought infrastructure that helped form the insular culture of Wall Street's traders and analysts.
The creation of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ultimately meant that only a small percentage of people would qualify as accredited investors. Success within money's inner circle bred a culture of trade secrets and information asymmetry. Analysts and traders worked their edges and guarded their insight. Information moved within closed circuits of buy-side and sell-side analysts whose work informed limited numbers of investors and traders.
In contrast, the culture around cryptocurrencies looks much different.
Cryptocurrency analysts and traders have taken to social media and other platforms to publicly share their insights and advice on industry trends, popular tokens, price predictions and high reward trades.
Twitter is the most impactful forum, while CoinDesk guest contributors and Medium blog posts offer longer-form analysis and insight from around the world.
Inspired by the shift in culture from cloistered Wall Street to the more open and transparent influencers in the crypto space, CoinDesk has established the following Top 5 Analysts and Top 5 Token Traders lists.
With the final 10 selected from a total of over 30 candidates, factors for consideration included Twitter followers, analyses published, charts produced, industry experience, incumbent financial industry experience (with bonus points for having both), votes from the State of Blockchain Q3 sentiment survey, and several other data points.
CoinDesk's Top 5 Analysts
Spencer was perhaps the first Wall Street analyst to study bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
This led him to jump feet first into the cryptocurrency industry, where he runs research out of an early crypto investment fund, Blockchain Capital. Spencer shares much of his insight on Medium, and has also been quoted throughout the media landscape.
Another analyst to get his start on Wall Street, Chris' work has won him one of the largest follower bases in the industry.
His paper, "Ringing the Bell on a New Asset Class," his current Amazon top-selling book, "Cryptoassets," and his Twitter presence place his analysis behind many newly minted crypto-millionaires.
Chris is also responsible for unique insights that inform the industry – blockchain forks as a type of investor activism, as an example.
Willy has produced some of the highest-quality and most creative charts in the industry. While his experience is mostly independent, his insights have been shared on CoinDesk, Twitter, his personal site (Woobull) and other platforms.
Tuur drew the highest number of votes for top analyst in the State of Blockchain Q3 sentiment survey.
Another pioneer whose professional work goes back to the early days of bitcoin, Tuur looks at both the economic forces at work in cryptocurrencies, as well as the technology behind them.
Alex started out in institutional investment, but when bitcoin began to take off, he quit his job and launched Lawnmower, a platform designed to make cryptocurrencies easier to invest in.
After a win at the Money 20/20 hackathon, Alex worked with Coinbase, and later joined CoinDesk. In addition, his work on State of Blockchain and his creative charts shared on Twitter give him some of the deepest experience in the industry.
Sheba makes the list because of her excellent and "right on the bitcoin" price predictions. Despite her excellent analysis, she rarely shares her insight outside of what is reported by traditional financial media.
CoinDesk's Top 5 Traders
Bob is not a crypto-insider and some reading CoinDesk pages might be unfamiliar with his name. That's because he's too busy max-betting on NBA games as one of the most prolific sports betters in the world, with high-profile speaking engagements at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.
Make no mistake, Bob has traded cryptocurrencies since the early days, and evangelized friend Mark Cuban from his "bitcoin is a bubble position" to investing in tokens.
A veteran trader, Peter has enjoyed a wildly successful career, and now a whole new one as a bitcoin trader.
Other crypto traders have been able to learn from the best charter in the game, and the crypto industry is better for the attention, thought and skills Peter has brought.
He's even taken to schooling the crypto trolls and bickerings that take up so much time and space on Twitter.
Tone embodies the principles of the cryptocurrency industry and has a Wall Street background that included a front row seat for the meltdown at Bear Stearns.
An evangelist for the technology, Tone works to give insight into some of the political ideas around bitcoin along with trading advice through his own chart sharing.
While a Twitter handle exists that points out how well traders could do by ignoring Tone's trade advice, he could be considered a conservative trader and has taken a risk-averse approach to 2017's ICO boom.
A not-quite pseudonymous trader, ฿TF%$D! is one of the most watched in the industry.
With nearly 30,000 Twitter followers, his tweets chart some of the more obscure investment opportunities in the industry. His Crypto Hustle website is full of dives into various altcoins and how to value them and his commentary on trades extends into these same markets.
A pseudonymous trader, his crypto alter ego is a conceit of Kurt Cobain living, quitting Nirvana and leading the life of crypto.
Besides daily commentary, and never wavering from the idea that he quit the band, CryptoCobain shares helpful insight on risk management, portfolio allocation, and which coins he thinks are due for a pump.
Wolf of Poloniex, Whale Panda
Wolf and Panda have all the criteria filled and challenged for a spot in the top five. The only difference, in our list selection methodology, was that time spent bickering was a negative data point. While Tone Vays dabbles in the art of bickering, Wolf and Panda out-bickered him and just missed the cut.
Ian Balina gets an honorable mention too, not because of his holdings or trades per say (though the author and self-promoter is doing well), but because of his habit of sharing a screenshot of his portfolio every day.
Editor's note: This Top 10 list is separate from our ongoing "Most Influential" 2017 survey.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.