How to build a company using Bitcoin: the Exodus story
How do you build a 200-person, fully-remote company spread across 44 countries that was not only ready for COVID-19, but delivering even more because of it?
While thriving in the midst of a pandemic wasn’t initially our goal at Exodus, it makes sense in retrospect. We leveraged cutting-edge technology to build a remote company from the ground-up. We think our experiences can help others adjust to “the new normal”.
So how did we build our company? Using Bitcoin.
Bitcoin allows you to send money like you do emails in minutes, from and to anywhere in the world. Receiving BTC is as simple as sending someone a Bitcoin address, where you receive BTC (similar to receiving an email at a given email address).
Bitcoin also functions without a central authority, such as a bank or Venmo, which means transactions flow seamlessly, without anyone being able to freeze or confiscate your funds.
How to build a company using Bitcoin: The beginnings of the Exodus wallet
The practical applications of this new tech were so numerous that it inspired our co-Founders, JP Richardson and Daniel Castagnoli, to start a company with a very simple but bold mission: build software that empowers people to control their own wealth, and empower half of the world to exit the traditional finance system by 2030.
In 2017, Bitcoin went to almost $20,000 and demand for wallets like Exodus exploded. Up until that point, JP and Daniel were a two-man team regularly taking marathon road trips to Denver to meet with business partners, shipping product releases on Daniel’s wedding day (don’t worry they’re still together), and even taking customer support calls on their personal cell phones! However, as Exodus began to gain traction as the go-to wallet for new Bitcoin owners, JP and Daniel realized they had to hire more talent and fast.
However, they weren't based in Silicon Valley, New York, or other similar tech hotspots, but in Nebraska, the heartland of America, where blockchain talent isn’t as ubiquitous as it is on the coasts. They had no model to base themselves off of. While the world certainly has much of the tools necessary for productive remote work, not many companies are 100% remote.
Bitcoin, though, aside from being at the heart of the nascent blockchain industry, actually ended up making running a remote company easier.
How to build a company using Bitcoin: getting paid in BTC
1. Easy payment of salaries, contractors/consultants, and service providers worldwide
As mentioned earlier, we have people from 27 countries working for Exodus. Imagine coordinating payment for individuals in each of those countries. The different payment systems, paperwork, fees - it’d definitely be a process most wouldn’t want to deal with!
Now imagine that you work with an employee or a contractor, a business or an integration, anywhere from New York to Bali, and paying them is as simple as asking for an email address.
Though that might sound fanciful, that reality is already here. With Bitcoin, we’re able to easily pay anyone who works for us, thanks to Bitcoin’s borderless nature. All our people need is a Bitcoin wallet address (similar to sending over an email address for email messages), and we can pay them BTC in minutes, whether they’re in New York or on a beach in Southeast Asia.
2. All salaries and company financials viewable by everyone at Exodus - really!
One of the key tenets of Bitcoin is its financial transparency. At Exodus we’ve brought that ethos to our company, which has no company secrets. All salaries, including those of myself, the founders, and company financials are viewable by anyone on the team.
Most companies would gawk at openly displaying monthly burn, holdings, and salaries, metrics usually reserved for investor reports. At Exodus though, we make these metrics available to everyone at the company.
This not only helps us stay true to the transparent nature of blockchain but also creates trust among team members (no guessing as to the company’s health), and puts everyone in control of our destiny as a company.
How to build a company using Bitcoin: developing company culture around Bitcoin
Getting paid in Bitcoin means mission-alignment across the company. While some might find that hard to believe, we don’t think that someone can truly believe in the future of money without using it themselves. Getting paid in BTC ensures that our people and service-providers are all mission-aligned and here for the long run.
The values of the Bitcoin community itself also make for great remote company values: transparency, delivery, not trusting - but verifying, and radical candor.
Even our weekly team Zoom meeting has a section dedicated to what’s going on in the market. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are the glue that holds our company together.
While our love for Bitcoin is what led us to create the world’s easiest to use Bitcoin wallet, Bitcoin also became the bedrock of our positive and productive remote company culture:
- It allows us to pay any of our people anywhere in the world, in minutes
- It’s ethos of transparency carries over to our company and creates trust, not bitterness, among team members via open salaries and financials
- And its use as payment ensures that anyone who works for us is a true believer in the technology and not a fly-by-nighter
While Bitcoin might not work for every remote company, it definitely worked for us. As more and more companies adopt remote culture, we hope that our experience using Bitcoin will help others adapt to the remote work paradigm.
This content is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified licensed advisor before engaging in any transaction.