Dec 4, 2023

Every year, CoinDesk puts together the Most Influential list memorializing the people, themes, and stories that made an impact — positive or negative — on crypto, blockchain and Web3.

Video transcript

Coin desk's most influential list debuts today along with the most influential NFTS. The list highlights the biggest change makers in crypto Blockchain and web three. So who shaped the industry this year? Joining us now to discuss this coin desk head of magazine Ben Schiller, Ben, welcome to the show. Hi, Jen. Uh Very nice to be here. Thanks for having me. All right, let's talk about this list. Then it is debuting this morning. Let's talk about the top 10. Here includes some big names that we talk about very often on this show. How were the rankings decided? Yes. So uh most influential is a list that we do uh every year here at coins at this time, but this time of year in December. Um and it really seeks to define the year in crypto by picking out the 50 people uh we think had the most impact. Uh so running through some of those names this year, uh ones I would highlight. Uh Ryan Selk is a former CEO of coin desk who founded Mazari and has gone on recently to become a real crypto advocate uh for crypto in DC. Uh and he's profiled by uh Mark Hochstein Coinbase, CEO uh Brian Armstrong is another name on the list. Uh you know, he's a real survivor in a, an industry that's uh losing some prominent uh CEO S like uh CZ from uh B. Um And his company uh built a very influential uh layer to its own layer two base uh this year and uh moved heavily into derivatives. Um And Coinbase looks uh well positioned for uh the year ahead. Another name I would um just call upon here is Casey Rode. He is the creator of the controversial ordinal theory which brings uh data inscription to Bitcoin, uh what we might call uh NFTS or digital collectibles to Bitcoin. Um And he's really an interesting character who, um you know, plowed his own furrow for the Bitcoin development and that was very uh controversial and obviously, uh it's been a year of uh about uh regulation and enforcement. Uh So we couldn't really leave uh Gary Gensler, the uh chair of the SEC off the list. Uh And he comes on because he really set the tone for uh um the enforcement of securities law uh this year. So those are the names I would uh highlight uh amongst many ben. First of all, thank you for saying hello to me. Like you just said hello to Jen Lawrence is a little sensitive sometimes I Jen, never mind that other guy. Uh OK. So I, I noticed on the, so a couple of things about the, this list and to Jen's question here, uh, like, how is it, how, how, what's the process? Is it? You mark Hockin and Nick day sitting around, uh, over some beers and throwing out some names and ranking it or like, what, what's the, what's the, how is it ranked? How, how are, how are these decided? First of all, second of all, uh, I noticed Lido Dow is on the list that's doesn't last I checked dos aren't people, the corporations are people. So can you explain what's going on here? Right. Uh I mean, I wish there was some beer involved in the selection process. There wasn't much of that. Um But it's an internal process here at coin where we have a series of meetings where we start by, uh you know, identifying the big themes of the year. Um And that, that, that this year would be, as I say, uh regulation and enforcement was a big one. And then latterly in the year, uh you know, trends like uh the growth of staking and real world assets would be another one. And then we look for people who embody those trends. So for instance, within regulation, Gary against, there is an obvious obvious one there. Uh And we kind of go on from there. Uh And that's really the process. Um We have a series of meetings and we start with a very long list of about 100 and 50 people and we start to narrow that down to 100 and 50 so on. But what about the Dow Ben? Oh, the dow the Lido. Yeah. So, uh, ST, uh, had a big year and we looked for how to represent that trend. Uh, and we actually looked at Lido, which is an important, um, player in the liquid staking market as actually controversial for having, uh, some people say too much control of that market. Uh And we couldn't actually identify anyone within that uh ecosystem who'd really uh stood out as a CEO because it's a dow. So we decided to uh have a bit of fun with the um you know, people um criteria here and to nominate a, a dow instead of a person. Uh We do take some license sometimes Daws are people too. That's right. What you're saying, those are people. I'm not quite saying that but almost saying that. Yeah, uh what would Mars be? But there's also an NFT that NNFT drop, sorry, that begins today. What's that all about? Yeah, sure. So um the 50 names on the list and uh for 10 of the names, we uh commissioned some very good artists and well known uh NFT artists to create NFTS of those individuals. And those NFTS are now available uh for an auction with Transient Labs, which is starting at noon today. So um please uh check that out and, and all the links are on the site. So um it starts at 12 noon, as I say and uh it ends 24 hours later after the uh first bid has been uh placed. And holders of these uh most influential Nfts will also receive a pro pass ticket to consensus 2024 which is our big festival, which has a nominal value of uh more than $1000. So uh well worth uh taking a look at that and um a portion of the sales of the NFTS will go to the Hunger Project which uh has a mission to end hunger and transform systems to create um less hunger in the world. So uh that's a, that's very much a uh project worth supporting. So uh I, I was overlooked on this list yet again, but there were besides the top 10, the 40 others. Anything interesting. Uh any anybody interesting uh aside from the fact that I was and, and Jem Two, we, we both weren't on this. Yeah, I, I'm sorry for not including you. Sorry, we didn't clergy just as a note. Uh We did include actually Ian Allison on the letter who's a reporter here at Coindesk for breaking the story of FT X's dodgy balance sheet, which was undeniably uh influential and it's good to see a journalist on the list. Uh Just to answer your question though. Um I mean, I think it's notable to see a lot of trad find names on the list and I, I think that speaks to how the industry is changing. Now. It's going from being a cry crypto native industry to being a more hybrid industry between this old school of crypto folks and the new um to chat by folk and one name I'll pick out there would be uh Larry Fink, um who in previous times has been very rude about Bitcoin and crypto but is now very much a believer as we see. Um, ETF Spot Bitcoin. ETF S uh, probably, uh, get approved next year. So I think we'll see over time this list become more and more come traditional finance for better and worse. Everyone's gonna love Larry Fink now. I think so. Yeah, he's gonna be years of being on the, everyone's dart board in crypto and all of a sudden he's like, you know, they're, they're ready to hoist him on their shoulders and sing Hava Agua. Um, like it's a wedding. That's right. It is, uh, how times change. Uh, but yeah, uh, very much, um, we're very much in a moment where, uh, Wall Street is, uh, looking at crypto seriously and, uh, is taking what it likes and disregarding what it doesn't like. And, uh, you know, I think going forward, uh, crypto is gonna be much more of a trad concern and, uh, you've seen that particular with staking and particularly with, uh, digital Real World assets, uh, including Token, uh, securities and, uh, treasuries. What could possibly go wrong with that. That's true. Ok.

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