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Data: SimilarWeb; Chart: Axios Visuals

A slew of new crypto media companies have gained enormous traction over the past year, thanks to the digital currency craze taking over Wall Street.

Why it matters: “For the first time ever, crypto has become relevant to the global macro-economic conversation, and therefore, the investment conversation," says Jason Yanowitz, co-founder of Blockworks, a financial media brand catered to investors.

Details: Founded in 2018, Blockworks is one of several crypto-focused media companies with skyrocketing revenues.

  • The company anticipates $8-$10 million in revenue this year, Yanowitz tells Axios — up 3x from last year.
  • It plans to double in staff from 17 to nearly 40 by the end of the year, with the majority of new hires coming from the content side of its business.
  • The NYC-based firm is most well-known for its editorial site, daily newsletter, conference series, and its network of nearly 20 podcasts.

The big picture: "Similar to how previous cycles in crypto saw the emergence of new exchanges, this current cycle has seen an emergence of several media firms all trying to win mindshare in a young market," says Mike McCaffrey, CEO of The Block, a cryptocurrency-focused media startup.

  • The Block recently bought out its non-employee shareholders, including its investors and co-founders (who have left the company).
  • Another sizable crypto media business is CoinDesk, which Axios reported makes a profit selling ads, as well as custom reports.

Be smart: For many of these companies, the advertising support base is rich.

  • Blockworks has listed two dozen strategic advertising partners on its website, including Fidelity Digital Assets, CME Group, Coinbase, Gemini, and BlockFi.
  • Roughly 70% of The Block's revenue comes from advertising, while the rest comes from subscriptions to its paid news content and research products, per Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva.

The big picture: The risk with these companies for a several years was that the crypto market could at any time fade away. But today, that seems unlikely. Nearly 15% of all U.S. adults own some form of cryptocurrency.

What to watch: Media companies supporting the trend will continue to rise and innovate to meet the latest crypto trends.

  • For example, McCaffrey tells Axios, firms are testing new business models with tokenomics, "attempting to align interests of readers and creators, subscriptions, and ad revenue sources."

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Aug 11, 2021 - Economy & Business

Crypto gets captured

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Bitcoin is becoming part of the dollar-based financial system it once sought to displace.

Why it matters: Cryptocurrency is beloved by people who want to transact outside the reach of any government. But it's gotten mainstream enough that politicians and regulators want to co-opt it and bring it squarely within their own fields of influence — even using it to help pay for an infrastructure bill.

One-on-one with MoneyGram CEO Alex Holmes

Alex Holmes; Photo: MoneyGram

The pandemic’s acceleration of all things digital could not be more clear to MoneyGram CEO Alex Holmes.

Driving the news: Holmes oversees a global money transfer business that operates in 200 countries. The company's digital transactions skyrocketed 44% year over year in Q2 2021, on top of what it described as "astounding" 106% digital transaction growth in Q2 2020.

The age of the à la carte internet

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Media that were once free or easily accessible — including news websites, podcasts, TV shows and games — rushed to get behind paywalls during the pandemic.

Why it matters: This accelerating trend is carving the internet into many niche audiences, Balkanizing our collective media diets.