It occurred to me that very few people actually know the story behind this legendary crypto exchange, so I thought it would be fun to share a bit of history and give you a glimpse of what’s to come in 2022…
Poloniex was founded in 2014 by Tristan D’Agosta, a musician who was passionate about crypto and was looking for an exchange he could trust to safely trade Bitcoin and other digital assets. Unsatisfied with what was available at the time, he taught himself how to code and created Poloniex. A legend was born.
Poloniex was among the first to list USDT and ETH, and continuously supported a plethora of strong altcoin projects including ETC, Zcash and AMP. In 2017, the price of BTC, ETH, and every altcoin was going to the moon, attracting waves of new investors to the exchange. By the end of 2017, we became the leading exchange for altcoins.
Circle began the process of acquiring Poloniex in mid-2017, when the bull market was really starting to heat up. I was working as a software engineer at Circle back then. During the Circle era, we experienced a huge market correction and dealt with some serious issues, but we also made key improvements to our infrastructure.
Fun fact: Poloniex was very nearly re-branded as “Circle X”, until we realized the strength of the brand was one of the most valuable things we had purchased!
Then one day in 2019, during our weekly All Hands meeting, Jeremy Allaire informed us that he had sold Poloniex to a private investment group led by Justin Sun.
Where Circle had focused primarily on the US, Justin decided to no longer do business there and instead focus on Asian markets. Roughly two-thirds of Circle’s workforce (myself included) decided to stay with Poloniex. Once the separation from Circle was complete, we launched a new futures trading platform. Then we built Engineering and Customer Support teams in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore. When COVID-19 hit, we adopted (and eventually embraced) a remote work culture. We not only survived a global pandemic but thrived throughout it. We strengthened our recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding processes. We improved the stability of our trading platform and wallet infrastructure and relieving pressure on engineers by splitting our 24-hour on-call rotations between teams in the East and West. Most of all, we showed great resilience as we reinvented ourselves and achieved profitability.
Which brings us to where we are today.
We are a tight-knit, battle-hardened team that has gotten quite good at quickly adapting to major changes while safely operating a 24x365 crypto exchange with billions of dollars in assets under administration — a feat that can only be compared to changing the tires on an 18-wheeler as it barrel-asses around corners through the crowded streets of a major city at speed.
Our goal is to become a Top 10 exchange. We know exactly what we need to do to get there, and we are already doing it. We are also keenly aware of our shortcomings.
First, we need to build a better trade engine. Our current system has some scalability issues that force us to rate-limit high volume traders. These are market makers who provide liquidity on the exchange. They are the folks who ensure our customers can trade any asset at any time, in any amount, and still get a fair market price. Development of our new trading system is already well underway, and we plan to release a sandbox environment in Q1 so our market makers can take it for a test drive.
Later in the year, we will completely re-imagine our margin trading and peer-to-peer lending products. We want to enable passive investors to earn interest on the crypto they HODL, with options for varying degrees of risk tolerance. We also want to offer a simplified experience for casual traders who just want to make a quick trade.
With more liquidity and a better UX, we’ll focus on meeting the account management needs of institutional investors. We’re also considering offering our advanced wallet infrastructure as a service, to help other businesses safely manage their digital assets.
With the release of these new upgraded products and services, we’ll consolidate the existing market, provide users with more comprehensive asset management services, and accelerate the pace of expanding into emerging markets.
To make all of this possible, we need to double in size over the next year. Right now, we have a global headcount of roughly 150 people. That is a skeleton crew, considering all it takes to run a global crypto exchange. We plan to launch a major hiring campaign and bring our headcount up to 300 by the end of 2022.
Poloniex has come a long way over the past eight years. We still have a lot of work to do, but we have an incredible team and a clear path forward. The state of the exchange is strong. Thank you for being a part of it.
General Manager, Poloniex
was originally published in The Poloniex blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.