Crypto-focused firms have come a great distance since their beginnings when it comes to company construction, worker motivation, decision-making techniques, compliance and different facets of their operations. Whereas the early 2010s noticed startups based by small teams of crypto lovers, the area has since grown to turn out to be residence to giant institutional companies.

Nonetheless, crypto firms are engaged in enterprise, and enterprise is alien to anarchy. The fast development of the cryptocurrency business within the 2010s remodeled small, unbiased companies into large conglomerates with hundreds of staff and places of work worldwide. Funding funds {and professional} buyers personal shares of them, many have functioning boards of administrators, and their company buildings have dozens of departments and divisions. However does all this forms destroy the very philosophy of cryptocurrency?


Like some other firm, most cryptocurrency companies bought their begin when their founders got here up with the thought to launch a enterprise. The distinction, nonetheless, is that crypto shouldn’t be solely a brand new type of finance but in addition has an ideological basis that mixes the spirit of decentralization, freedom and anonymity. Over the past decade, cryptocurrencies have challenged conventional fiat currencies and rejected lots of the guidelines of the monetary world, inflicting confusion within the measured lifetime of the worldwide funding business.

From the very starting

The cryptocurrency change Huobi was based by two co-founders, Du Jun and Leon Li, in September 2013. By November 2013, Huobi had already reached a Bitcoin (BTC) transaction quantity of 1 billion yuan (round $6 billion on the time) and commenced receiving funding from distinguished buyers. In its first 12 months of existence, Huobi’s headcount grew to exceed 100 folks, and the change now counts greater than 2,000 staff in its company construction. It has quickly remodeled from a cryptocurrency startup to a big firm with a multibillion-dollar turnover. Institutional buyers resembling Chinese language enterprise fund Zhen Fund and Sequoia Capital purchased stakes in Huobi again in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

1inch Community, one other change, was based on the ETHNewYork hackathon in Might 2019 by Sergej Kunz and Anton Bukov, engineers with a few years of software program improvement expertise. Right this moment, 1inch is a decentralized community of over 100 contributors distributed everywhere in the world. From what could be gathered, the corporate doesn’t have an workplace, and staff can work from anyplace on the earth. However, it has a company construction, in addition to funding from Binance Labs that it obtained in August 2020.

Company colours

In 2014, Frederic Laloux’s guide Reinventing Organizations was printed. It was the results of a three-year examine of 12 firms (together with Patagonia, Zappos and Sounds True) that promoted unconventional administration practices and rules. Within the guide, Laloux identifies 5 varieties of firms, which he categorizes in line with their type of company governance: crimson, orange, yellow, inexperienced and teal. Based on the writer, teal firms characterize the best type of group. They’re characterised by the absence of a hierarchical construction, most transparency and staff’ nice freedom to make selections and specific their opinions.

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Sadly, Laloux didn’t examine monetary organizations, a lot much less monetary startups, so there isn’t a info in his guide about which shade cryptocurrency firms may very well be categorised as. However, an government at Huobi and a founding father of 1inch advised Cointelegraph that they contemplate their firms to be teal.

Describing Laloux’s principle of the evolution of organizations, Jeff Mei, director of world technique at Huobi World, advised Cointelegraph that teal represents the ultimate stage, characterised by “complicated adaptive techniques with distributed authority, usually structured as decentralized, self-managed groups or networks.” On this stage, “static pyramidal hierarchies give method to fluid pure hierarchies, the place energy shifts to the folks with probably the most expertise, ardour or curiosity.”

Supply: Readingraphics

Mei mentioned that this description “coincides with Huobi’s core beliefs in addition to the underlying values of blockchain itself.”

1inch co-founder Bukov advised Cointelegraph he believes that his firm’s efforts “to create a ‘teal group’ will not be solely profitable but in addition fairly sustainable in the long run. Whereas a company hierarchy may match for some firms, it isn’t very appropriate for decentralized finance initiatives. In actual fact, the much less hierarchical the venture construction, the higher.” He added:

“However consistency between completely different groups is significant to verify they’re on the identical web page. Adherence to guidelines is completely regular for DeFi initiatives, and freedom ought to under no circumstances imply breaking legal guidelines. Freedom and decentralization stay core values of 1inch Community, irrespective of the dimensions of the venture. Our groups take pleasure in a excessive diploma of independence, and if, for instance, a group doesn’t assume an thought is promising and value pursuing, it will likely be debated till a consensus is reached.”

Freedom or compliance?

The ideology of blockchain and cryptocurrencies — expressed in decentralization, freedom and anonymity — has just lately been examined and even questioned by some cryptocurrency firms. 

Mei mentioned that “Because of quite a few laws by governments around the globe, in addition to safety breaches and even coin crashes, now we have concluded in 2022 that cryptocurrency as an asset wants some type of regulation to function an anchor and backside line for cover.”

He added that “A level of compliance and regulation is important for cryptocurrency as an asset class to turn out to be usually accepted, however the nature of blockchain know-how ought to at all times enable for a level of autonomy and decentralization. These two contrasting ideologies should coexist to some extent.”

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Based on Mei, exchanges like Huobi function on a spectrum the place decentralization and compliance already coexist: “Transparency and accountability should stay in sure facets of conventional company buildings, however we will study from the spirit of pooled contribution and collaboration. A system with a safer, environment friendly distribution of labor and knowledge is useful in each the blockchain world and the company construction.”

Teal or crimson future

The cryptocurrency business has developed quickly lately, and it will solely proceed. Many firms working within the cryptocurrency market declare a dedication to the values attribute of “teal” organizations. In fact, as cryptocurrency firms proliferate and turn out to be institutionalized funding companies, company governance practices will change as properly. Striving for openness, self-governance and consensus might face robust regulatory necessities, aggressive pressures and different exterior challenges.

Will cryptocurrency firms have the ability to keep true to the unique values of the business, or will they be compelled to turn out to be extra centralized and “crimson”? Time will inform. For now, nonetheless, Huobi’s and 1inch’s representatives are optimistic. A curious truth: Throughout Huobi’s latest model refresh, its official colours took on a brand new teal and inexperienced hue. One can solely hope that transferring ahead, the corporate will have the ability to maintain these colours as a component of their governance, not solely their brand.