Ryan Selkis: Messari CEO & Crypto Leader of the Year

Photo - Ryan Selkis: Messari CEO & Crypto Leader of the Year
Born in Albany, New York, Ryan Selkis received his Bachelor of Science at Boston College in 2008 and even pursued an MBA at the MIT School of Management. However, true to the adventurous spirit of crypto enthusiasts, Ryan stepped away from his academic path in 2014 to dedicate himself to the crypto world.
In March, the leading platform for tracking crypto prices, CoinMarketCap, hosted its CMC Crypto Awards, a ten-day voting spree where users selected frontrunners across various categories, including:

  • Cryptocurrency of the year (winner — Solana);
  • Meme coin of the year (winner — BONK);
  • Most innovative DeFi project (winner — Uniswap), among others.

Beyond categories focused on cryptocurrencies and projects, two nominations identified industry-leading personalities. The first was for the best influencer (winner — ZachXBT), and the second was for the crypto leader of the year. 

CoinMarketCap did not single out just one winner; thus, all five nominees in the latter category are considered winners: Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, CEO of the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong Julia Leung, and Messari CEO Ryan Selkis.

This article covers the life and achievements of Ryan Selkis.

Who is Ryan Selkis?

Ryan Selkis, a notable crypto influencer, author, and entrepreneur, is the brain behind Messari, a firm that specializes in on-chain data analytics and cryptocurrency research. Beyond founding Messari, Selkis has invested in over 30 diverse projects, with WalletConnect and Lit Protocol standing out among them.
Messari CEO Ryan Selkis. Source: bloomberg.com

Messari CEO Ryan Selkis. Source: bloomberg.com

Selkis champions cryptocurrency, actively seeking to shape a pro-crypto outlook within the U.S. government. Between 2021 and 2022, he initiated political fundraisers to back pro-cryptocurrency candidates.
His unwavering support for crypto has made him a powerful figure in the industry, and he continues to work towards creating a clearer regulatory path for crypto communities,
CoinMarketCap notes.
Selkis openly critiques figures like Gary Gensler and other “crypto villains” who pose challenges to the industry's growth. Always ahead of the curve, he was among the first to signal the downfall of Mt. Gox.

In 2013, under the alias “Two Bit Idiot,” Selkis began to blog, revealing documents that warned of the bankruptcy of the then-largest exchange, Mt. Gox. His revelations quickly catapulted him to fame, with his insights being featured in major news outlets including NBC, CoinDesk, and Forbes.

Digital Currency Group and CoinDesk

After gaining attention for his document “Crisis Strategy Draft” detailing the Mt. Gox collapse, Ryan Selkis delved deeper into the cryptocurrency industry. By October 2014, he had joined the Digital Currency Group (DCG), a venture firm with a focus on the crypto market. As an early employee, Selkis played a pivotal role in fundraising, recruiting, and DCG's investments.

In 2016, Ryan spearheaded DCG's acquisition of the crypto media outlet CoinDesk for $500,000 and took on the role of Managing Director. During his 18-month tenure, he boosted CoinDesk's revenue by 730%, led a 12-person team, and successfully identified his successor, Kevin Worth.


Six months post-departure from CoinDesk, in January 2018, Selkis established Messari. He recognized a gap in the market: much of the project data was either difficult to access or obscured, giving large investors an undue advantage due to the wider community's lack of information.

Messari was created to offer research reports, on-chain data, various Web3 tools, and a crypto portfolio tracker, along with detailed project information covering funding volumes, tokenomics, and vesting schedules.

Annual Crypto Thesis and the Rise of Meme Coins

Since 2017, Selkis has released "Crypto Thesis," an annual report highlighting market trends, promising projects, and predictions for the upcoming year. Initially, these insights were shared as a thread on X, but by 2020, they had evolved into comprehensive 100-page reports published on Messari.

Ryan also introduced three special reports:

  • Bitcoin Halving 2020;
  • Asia’s Crypto Landscape;
  • ETH 2.0: The Next Evolution of the Cryptoeconomy.

In his most recent annual report, Selkis spotlighted meme coins as a key cryptocurrency trend. His engagement with these assets is also visible on his X account, where he humorously references BODEN, a meme coin inspired by a fictional political figure jeo boden poised as Donald Trump's rival.
Selkis has commented on the accessibility and democratic nature of meme coins compared to NFT collections, suggesting the meme coin sector's size outstrips that of NFTs by 5–10 times. He anticipates political meme coins will triple the volume of prediction markets in the current electoral cycle.

Final Thoughts

Over a decade into his cryptocurrency endeavors, Ryan Selkis stands as a leading authority within the crypto community, a status validated by the trust in his products, such as Messari. This trust was evident when the community adopted the sector name DePIN, proposed by Messari.

Ryan's contributions have significantly impacted the crypto space, enabling numerous Web3 enthusiasts to thrive. Today, Messari is home to a team of researchers and authors whose works garner widespread attention, a testament to Selkis's enduring influence.

Vlad Vovk
Writes about DeFi and cryptocurrencies from a technological perspective.