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Crypto Banking Wars: Will Coinbase or Binance Become The Bank of The Future?

Crypto Banking Wars: Will Coinbase or Binance Become The Bank of The Future?
Can the early success of major crypto exchanges propel them to winning the broader consumer finance market?
https://reddit.com/link/i48t4q/video/v4eo10gom7f51/player
This is the first part of Crypto Banking Wars — a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become the bank of the future. Who is best positioned to reach mainstream adoption in consumer finance?
While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this powerful technology to reach the masses. We believe a crypto-native company, like Genesis Block, will become the bank of the future.
In an earlier series, Crypto-Powered, we laid out arguments for why crypto-native companies have a huge edge in the market. When you consider both the broad spectrum of financial use-cases and the enormous value unlocked through these DeFi protocols, you can see just how big of an unfair advantage blockchain tech becomes for companies who truly understand and leverage it. Traditional banks and fintech unicorns simply won’t be able to keep up.
The power players of consumer finance in the 21st century will be crypto-native companies who build with blockchain technology at their core.
The crypto landscape is still nascent. We’re still very much in the fragmented, unbundled phase of the industry lifecycle. Beyond what Genesis Block is doing, there are signs of other companies slowly starting to bundle financial services into what could be an all-in-one bank replacement.
So the key question that this series hopes to answer:
Which crypto-native company will successfully become the bank of the future?
We obviously think Genesis Block is well-positioned to win. But we certainly aren’t the only game in town. In this series, we’ll be doing an analysis of who is most capable of thwarting our efforts. We’ll look at categories like crypto exchanges, crypto wallets, centralized lending & borrowing services, and crypto debit card companies. Each category will have its own dedicated post.
Today we’re analyzing big crypto exchanges. The two companies we’ll focus on today are Coinbase (biggest American exchange) and Binance (biggest global exchange). They are the top two exchanges in terms of Bitcoin trading volume. They are in pole position to winning this market — they have a huge existing userbase and strong financial resources.
Will Coinbase or Binance become the bank of the future? Can their early success propel them to winning the broader consumer finance market? Is their growth too far ahead for anyone else to catch up? Let’s dive in.
https://preview.redd.it/lau4hevpm7f51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=2c5de1ba497199f36aa194e5809bd86e5ab533d8

Binance

The most formidable exchange on the global stage is Binance (Crunchbase). All signs suggest they have significantly more users and a stronger balance sheet than Coinbase. No other exchange is executing as aggressively and relentlessly as Binance is. The cadence at which they are shipping and launching new products is nothing short of impressive. As Tushar Jain from Multicoin argues, Binance is Blitzscaling.
Here are some of the products that they’ve launched in the last 18 months. Only a few are announced but still pre-launch.
Binance is well-positioned to become the crypto-powered, all-in-one, bundled solution for financial services. They already have so many of the pieces. But the key question is:
Can they create a cohesive & united product experience?

Binance Weaknesses

Binance is strong, but they do have a few major weaknesses that could slow them down.
  1. Traders & Speculators Binance is currently very geared for speculators, traders, and financial professionals. Their bread-and-butter is trading (spot, margin, options, futures). Their UI is littered with depth charts, order books, candlesticks, and other financial concepts that are beyond the reach of most normal consumers. Their product today is not at all tailored for the broader consumer market. Given Binance’s popularity and strength among the pro audience, it’s unlikely that they will dumb down or simplify their product any time soon. That would jeopardize their core business. Binance will likely need an entirely new product/brand to go beyond the pro user crowd. That will take time (or an acquisition). So the question remains, is Binance even interested in the broader consumer market? Or will they continue to focus on their core product, the one-stop-shop for pro crypto traders?
  2. Controversies & Hot Water Binance has had a number of controversies. No one seems to know where they are based — so what regulatory agencies can hold them accountable? Last year, some sensitive, private user data got leaked. When they announced their debit card program, they had to remove mentions of Visa quickly after. And though the “police raid” story proved to be untrue, there are still a lot of questions about what happened with their Shanghai office shut down (where there is smoke, there is fire). If any company has had a “move fast and break things” attitude, it is Binance. That attitude has served them well so far but as they try to do business in more regulated countries like America, this will make their road much more difficult — especially in the consumer market where trust takes a long time to earn, but can be destroyed in an instant. This is perhaps why the Binance US product is an empty shell when compared to their main global product.
  3. Disjointed Product Experience Because Binance has so many different teams launching so many different services, their core product is increasingly feeling disjointed and disconnected. Many of the new features are sloppily integrated with each other. There’s no cohesive product experience. This is one of the downsides of executing and shipping at their relentless pace. For example, users don’t have a single wallet that shows their balances. Depending on if the user wants to do spot trading, margin, futures, or savings… the user needs to constantly be transferring their assets from one wallet to another. It’s not a unified, frictionless, simple user experience. This is one major downside of the “move fast and break things” approach.
  4. BNB token Binance raised $15M in a 2017 ICO by selling their $BNB token. The current market cap of $BNB is worth more than $2.6B. Financially this token has served them well. However, given how BNB works (for example, their token burn), there are a lot of open questions as to how BNB will be treated with US security laws. Their Binance US product so far is treading very lightly with its use of BNB. Their token could become a liability for Binance as it enters more regulated markets. Whether the crypto community likes it or not, until regulators get caught up and understand the power of decentralized technology, tokens will still be a regulatory burden — especially for anything that touches consumers.
  5. Binance Chain & Smart Contract Platform Binance is launching its own smart contract platform soon. Based on compatibility choices, they have their sights aimed at the Ethereum developer community. It’s unclear how easy it’ll be to convince developers to move to Binance chain. Most of the current developer energy and momentum around smart contracts is with Ethereum. Because Binance now has their own horse in the race, it’s unlikely they will ever decide to leverage Ethereum’s DeFi protocols. This could likely be a major strategic mistake — and hubris that goes a step too far. Binance will be pushing and promoting protocols on their own platform. The major risk of being all-in on their own platform is that they miss having a seat on the Ethereum rocket ship — specifically the growth of DeFi use-cases and the enormous value that can be unlocked. Integrating with Ethereum’s protocols would be either admitting defeat of their own platform or competing directly against themselves.

Binance Wrap Up

I don’t believe Binance is likely to succeed with a homegrown product aimed at the consumer finance market. Their current product — which is focused heavily on professional traders and speculators — is unlikely to become the bank of the future. If they wanted to enter the broader consumer market, I believe it’s much more likely that they will acquire a company that is getting early traction. They are not afraid to make acquisitions (Trust, JEX, WazirX, DappReview, BxB, CoinMarketCap, Swipe).
However, never count CZ out. He is a hustler. Binance is executing so aggressively and relentlessly that they will always be on the shortlist of major contenders.
https://preview.redd.it/mxmlg1zqm7f51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=2d900dd5ff7f3b00df5fe5a48305d57ebeffaa9a

Coinbase

The crypto-native company that I believe is more likely to become the bank of the future is Coinbase (crunchbase). Their dominance in America could serve as a springboard to winning the West (Binance has a stronger foothold in Asia). Coinbase has more than 30M users. Their exchange business is a money-printing machine. They have a solid reputation as it relates to compliance and working with regulators. Their CEO is a longtime member of the crypto community. They are rumored to be going public soon.

Coinbase Strengths

Let’s look at what makes them strong and a likely contender for winning the broader consumer finance market.
  1. Different Audience, Different Experience Coinbase has been smart to create a unique product experience for each audience — the pro speculator crowd and the common retail user. Their simple consumer version is at Coinbase.com. That’s the default. Their product for the more sophisticated traders and speculators is at Coinbase Pro (formerly GDAX). Unlike Binance, Coinbase can slowly build out the bank of the future for the broad consumer market while still having a home for their hardcore crypto traders. They aren’t afraid to have different experiences for different audiences.
  2. Brand & Design Coinbase has a strong product design team. Their brand is capable of going beyond the male-dominated crypto audience. Their product is clean and simple — much more consumer-friendly than Binance. It’s clear they spend a lot of time thinking about their user experience. Interacting directly with crypto can sometimes be rough and raw (especially for n00bs). When I was at Mainframe we hosted a panel about Crypto UX challenges at the DevCon4 Dapp Awards. Connie Yang (Head of Design at Coinbase) was on the panel. She was impressive. Some of their design philosophies will bode well as they push to reach the broader consumer finance market.
  3. USDC Stablecoin Coinbase (along with Circle) launched USDC. We’ve shared some stats about its impressive growth when we discussed DeFi use-cases. USDC is quickly becoming integrated with most DeFi protocols. As a result, Coinbase is getting a front-row seat at some of the most exciting things happening in decentralized finance. As Coinbase builds its knowledge and networks around these protocols, it could put them in a favorable position to unlock incredible value for their users.
  4. Early Signs of Bundling Though Coinbase has nowhere near as many products & services as Binance, they are slowly starting to add more financial services that may appeal to the broader market. They are now letting depositors earn interest on USDC (also DAI & Tezos). In the UK they are piloting a debit card. Users can now invest in crypto with dollar-cost-averaging. It’s not much, but it’s a start. You can start to see hints of a more bundled solution around financial services.

Coinbase Weaknesses

Let’s now look at some things that could hold them back.
  1. Slow Cadence In the fast-paced world of crypto, and especially when compared to Binance, Coinbase does not ship very many new products very often. This is perhaps their greatest weakness. Smaller, more nimble startups may run circles around them. They were smart to launch Coinbase Ventures where tey invest in early-stage startups. They can now keep an ear to the ground on innovation. Perhaps their cadence is normal for a company of their size — but the Binance pace creates quite the contrast.
  2. Lack of Innovation When you consider the previous point (slow cadence), it’s unclear if Coinbase is capable of building and launching new products that are built internally. Most of their new products have come through acquisitions. Their Earn.com acquisition is what led to their Earn educational product. Their acquisition of Xapo helped bolster their institutional custody offering. They acqui-hired a team to help launch their staking infrastructure. Their acquisition of Cipher Browser became an important part of Coinbase Wallet. And recently, they acquired Tagomi — a crypto prime brokerage. Perhaps most of Coinbase’s team is just focused on improving their golden goose, their exchange business. It’s unclear. But the jury is still out on if they can successfully innovate internally and launch any homegrown products.
  3. Talent Exodus There have been numerous reports of executive turmoil at Coinbase. It raises a lot of questions about company culture and vision. Some of the executives who departed include COO Asiff Hirji, CTO Balaji Srinivasan, VP & GM Adam White, VP Eng Tim Wagner, VP Product Jeremy Henrickson, Sr Dir of Eng Namrata Ganatra, VP of Intl Biz Dan Romero, Dir of Inst Sales Christine Sandler, Head of Trading Hunter Merghart, Dir Data Science Soups Ranjan, Policy Lead Mike Lempres, Sr Compliance Vaishali Mehta. Many of these folks didn’t stay with Coinbase very long. We don’t know exactly why it’s happening —but when you consider a few of my first points (slow cadence, lack of innovation), you have to wonder if it’s all related.
  4. Institutional Focus As a company, we are a Coinbase client. We love their institutional offering. It’s clear they’ve been investing a lot in this area. A recent Coinbase blog post made it clear that this has been a focus: “Over the past 12 months, Coinbase has been laser-focused on building out the types of features and services that our institutional customers need.” Their Tagomi acquisition only re-enforced this focus. Perhaps this is why their consumer product has felt so neglected. They’ve been heavily investing in their institutional services since May 2018. For a company that’s getting very close to an IPO, it makes sense that they’d focus on areas that present strong revenue opportunities — as they do with institutional clients. Even for big companies like Coinbase, it’s hard to have a split focus. If they are “laser-focused” on the institutional audience, it’s unlikely they’ll be launching any major consumer products anytime soon.

Coinbase Wrap Up

At Genesis Block, we‘re proud to be working with Coinbase. They are a fantastic company. However, I don’t believe that they’ll succeed in building their own product for the broader consumer finance market. While they have incredible design, there are no signs that they are focused on or capable of internally building this type of product.
Similar to Binance, I think it’s far more likely that Coinbase acquires a promising young startup with strong growth.

Honorable Mentions

Other US-based exchanges worth mentioning are Kraken, Gemini, and Bittrex. So far we’ve seen very few signs that any of them will aggressively attack broader consumer finance. Most are going in the way of Binance — listing more assets and adding more pro tools like margin and futures trading. And many, like Coinbase, are trying to attract more institutional customers. For example, Gemini with their custody product.

Wrap Up

Coinbase and Binance have huge war chests and massive reach. For that alone, they should always be considered threats to Genesis Block. However, their products are very, very different than the product we’re building. And their approach is very different as well. They are trying to educate and onboard people into crypto. At Genesis Block, we believe the masses shouldn’t need to know or care about it. We did an entire series about this, Spreading Crypto.
Most everyone needs banking — whether it be to borrow, spend, invest, earn interest, etc. Not everyone needs a crypto exchange. For non-crypto consumers (the mass market), the differences between a bank and a crypto exchange are immense. Companies like Binance and Coinbase make a lot of money on their crypto exchange business. It would be really difficult, gutsy, and risky for any of them to completely change their narrative, messaging, and product to focus on the broader consumer market. I don’t believe they would ever risk biting the hand that feeds them.
In summary, as it relates to a digital bank aimed at the mass market, I believe both Coinbase and Binance are much more likely to acquire a startup in this space than they are to build it themselves. And I think they would want to keep the brand/product distinct and separate from their core crypto exchange business.
So back to the original question, is Coinbase and Binance a threat to Genesis Block? Not really. Not today. But they could be, and for that, we want to stay close to them.
------
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Subreddit Stats: GoldandBlack top posts from 2016-08-01 to 2019-06-12 11:22 PDT

Period: 1044.74 days
Submissions Comments
Total 1000 55684
Rate (per day) 0.96 53.28
Unique Redditors 295 6531
Combined Score 220956 394481

Top Submitters' Top Submissions

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  2. 26598 points, 114 submissions: Anen-o-me
    1. Laws for thee but not for me! Cop destroys civilian property and flips off citizen, citizen flips him back and gets mobbed by cops (936 points, 308 comments)
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    4. Another brutally honest comment on the US army post (630 points, 79 comments)
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    8. What most Americans have been indoctrinated to think. (493 points, 23 comments)
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  3. 17675 points, 81 submissions: Anenome5
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    6. Supreme Court poised to limit police power to seize property --- fucking finally (456 points, 44 comments)
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    8. Former Reddit CEO Pao: "Regulation will give them an excuse to take on people and their bad behavior." --- Regulation against hate speech would give companies cover to censor political opponents in a way that they wouldn't have to take personal responsibility for. The Gov forced them, they can say. (411 points, 80 comments)
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  5. 4507 points, 26 submissions: properal
    1. Record Number of Americans Call Government Our Biggest Problem (486 points, 35 comments)
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    4. Trump quietly signs largest wilderness preservation bill (354 points, 88 comments)
    5. Muslim youth group cleans up national parks amid government shutdown (Private individuals taking care of things, I thought only the State could handle this task) (307 points, 24 comments)
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    7. "imagine checks without taxes" Almost 100k likes on Twitter (292 points, 56 comments)
    8. PepsiCo sues 4 Indian farmers for $150,000 each for ‘infringing its rights’ by growing the potato variety used in its Lays chips (285 points, 72 comments)
    9. Yellow vests: Protesters in Paris set fire to dozens of cars in anger at millionaire Notre Dame donations - Demonstrators voice frustration at equivalent of £770m raised for cathedral while workers' demands remain unmet (277 points, 77 comments)
    10. Next Venezuela: Bolivia rolls out Universal Healthcare (240 points, 46 comments)
  7. 3703 points, 21 submissions: LibertyAboveALL
    1. Illinois may tax private retirement funds to pay public worker pensions (396 points, 103 comments)
    2. Voters in Switzerland approve stronger gun control laws by nearly two-thirds despite resistance (304 points, 155 comments)
    3. Mom Arrested For Leaving 8- and 9-Year-Olds Home Alone for Less Than an Hour (264 points, 69 comments)
    4. Bartender charged for serving man who allegedly went on to kill 8 people (259 points, 148 comments)
    5. The Insane Battle To Sabotage a New Apartment Building Explains San Francisco's Housing Crisis (193 points, 78 comments)
    6. U.S. Student Loan Debt Sets Record, Doubling Since Recession (175 points, 72 comments)
    7. Chinese teens are rejecting Communist Party propaganda and the government is freaking out (167 points, 29 comments)
    8. Julian Assange offers job to fired Google employee who wrote "anti-diversity" memo - "Censorship is for losers." (161 points, 50 comments)
    9. Ben Shapiro's view on Assange arrest is getting him roasted by many of his fans in the YT comment section. Hilarious! (159 points, 124 comments)
    10. Africans are being sold as slaves in Libya. Thanks, Hillary Clinton. (156 points, 22 comments)
  8. 2862 points, 10 submissions: vfhuuuuu
    1. "The welfare state is the oldest con game in the world. First you take people's money away quietly and then you give some of it back to them flamboyantly" - Thomas Sowell (613 points, 51 comments)
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    3. I basically just sat through 6 hours of statist propaganda (304 points, 113 comments)
    4. TIL that you're not required to wear a seat belt in New Hampshire if you're over 18 (304 points, 81 comments)
    5. Latinos are twice as likely to vote Libertarian than the general population (303 points, 130 comments)
    6. A Christmas Carol: A play about a greedy man becoming generous through social interaction, not state-sanctioned violence. (238 points, 30 comments)
    7. Last month, Washington DC raised taxes on Uber and Lyft to pay for it's shitty Metro system. To give you an idea of what this money will be used for; the city plans on spending $320 Million dollars to build ONE station. (162 points, 50 comments)
    8. In Bermuda, where Black and White people make roughly equal amounts of money, the IQ gap between races does not exist. (151 points, 193 comments)
    9. Just a quick reminder that the Republican party is just as anti-liberty as the Democrats, and "Libertarians" that support it should be ignored and downvoted. (117 points, 106 comments)
    10. Being a Gay Communist is as ironic as being a Jewish Neo-Nazi. (112 points, 65 comments)
  9. 2768 points, 7 submissions: LosFajitas
    1. When a capitalist tries to sell his product or service for the highest price they can get, they are seen as greedy. When a worker tries to sell their labor for the highest price they can get, they are seen as noble and deserving. (488 points, 138 comments)
    2. Liberals: We need to end the two party system! *Howard Schultz announces possible presidential run as an independent * Liberals: WOAAAHH THERE BUDDY SLOW DOWN! (444 points, 54 comments)
    3. I'm looking forward to the Democratic Primary because it's going to be one giant competition on who can give people the most free things. (408 points, 132 comments)
    4. It's no longer about revenue, taxes are now punitive measures. (400 points, 134 comments)
    5. "Judges Plead Guilty in Scheme to Jail Youths for Profit" oh but that can never happen in gov courts (358 points, 67 comments)
    6. Andrew Yang is one of the most arrogant people I have ever seen speak (355 points, 243 comments)
    7. Anyone else hate when people refer to a presidential candidate as "the person who will save this country" (315 points, 34 comments)
  10. 2264 points, 12 submissions: ayanamirs
    1. People Are Hiring Private Police Squads in Detroit (HBO) (375 points, 64 comments)
    2. Paul Krugman (Nobel 2008) (321 points, 52 comments)
    3. If you want #bitcoin to rise, teach Austrian Economics to people. (212 points, 167 comments)
    4. "A lot of people disagree with me, but I think people should be happy to pay taxes" < Obama to brazilians (210 points, 62 comments)
    5. Dutch national newspaper urges people to sell all their Bitcoins as it undermines the government, could destabilise the economy and reduces the power of central banks. Sounds like a reason to buy to me (192 points, 32 comments)
    6. US socialists can't deal against brazilians (167 points, 39 comments)
    7. Could someone please explain this? (161 points, 23 comments)
    8. Guns Law in Brazil is very restricted. 63880 deaths by year. (154 points, 27 comments)
    9. Look this answer (123 points, 134 comments)
    10. Congratulations To Bolivarian Socialism - Venezuela Now Has To Import Oil From The US (120 points, 18 comments)

Top Commenters

  1. JobDestroyer (7914 points, 897 comments)
  2. natermer (4011 points, 342 comments)
  3. Anen-o-me (3256 points, 535 comments)
  4. MasterTeacher123 (3201 points, 176 comments)
  5. Lemmiwinks99 (3185 points, 439 comments)
  6. E7ernal (2549 points, 472 comments)
  7. Anenome5 (2463 points, 430 comments)
  8. nosmokingbandit (2320 points, 174 comments)
  9. Perleflamme (2226 points, 634 comments)
  10. phaethon0 (2216 points, 144 comments)

Top Submissions

  1. Does that sound like a work of a journalist? by deleted (1064 points, 115 comments)
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  3. The Most Perfect Libertarian Meme I Ever Did See... "Unchecked People" by Anenome5 (843 points, 45 comments)
  4. Capitalism's Evil Quest... by Anen-o-me (827 points, 77 comments)
  5. Amazing way to not pay Taxes by ArbitraryOrder (794 points, 71 comments)
  6. Free Assange by Anen-o-me (714 points, 77 comments)
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  8. His name was Gary Webb. by TrainingWeekend (675 points, 66 comments)
  9. Presented without comment by newimprovement (658 points, 152 comments)
  10. Spread this far and wide! by Anenome5 (654 points, 146 comments)

Top Comments

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  4. 247 points: hairguythrowaway4171's comment in Lawmakers in Hawaii Propose Repealing Second Amendment
  5. 245 points: kurwacudownie's comment in Cop slaps phone out of teens hand and flips off teen.
  6. 240 points: properal's comment in Were doomed: "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's 70% tax on the super-rich is more popular than Trump's tax cuts, new poll shows" --- democracy sucks.
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  8. 235 points: TheKleen's comment in Don’t Lower the Voting Age, Raise It
  9. 231 points: Boltrag's comment in After Winning a $15 Minimum Wage, Fast Food Workers Now Battle Unfair Firings
  10. 229 points: MarshmellowPotatoPie's comment in Does that sound like a work of a journalist?
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[Table] IAmA: We are Rooster Teeth and celebrating our tenth anniversary. AMA

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Link to my post
Questions Answers
Go Joel #1 -Joel. I fear I've broken Reddit. page looks like a subway map to me. How do you get downtown? ~Joel. I am now replying to my own Redditing.
What got you into finance/the stock exchange? Besides the obvious like making money and all that? Being poor.
This is an excellent thread. -Joel Joel, do you have any questions for me? -Joel.
Joel, what's it like being Joel? Feels like I wearing a burlap sack.
Do you think increased oversight is a good thing? By who? Just kidding, oversight is impossible.
Where are you Joel?!?!!? In a room with people typing...Feels like they're taking the SAT's or something.
Should I be investing in Gold? Yes, massive central bank printing all over the world. Everyone locked in a currency war. Bitcoin suddenly makes sense.
So, any thoughts on the FED? They will never stop printing. They can't. Not till we run into a currency crisis ~Joel.
Yes, Joel, how does Reddit work? ~Joel. Seems like you mostly reply to yourself ~Joel.
I love how Joel is in his own little world here, gathering Karma to create his own currency. Can i turn it into bit coins? ~joel.
Can you beat Jack in a wrestling match? If Jack invented a game where he made the rules and one of the rules is 'Joel can't win' I would still win. ~Joel.
How much did it cost to get Urban Dictionary to say this about you? Yikes. ~J.
So... Itchy? Exaclty ~Joel.
Last question, how on earth did you know to sell Apple when you did? You must brag about it all the time. Got it from an analyst who posted on zerohedge. ~joel.
You don't get computers for the SAT's, im sorry to say. If you're not cheating. ~ Joel (You should try cheating.)
Wait... there's no ~J on this comment. For all we know, this could be Jack. I'm not taking financial advice from Jack. Unless its about BRCOQ stock. This is my favorite response. ~J (except the brcoq thing, don't know what this is)
So should people start looking into Bitcoin? Yes. ~J.
So we should encourage them to print faster, so we can move onto effect currency management sometime in the near future. God, not sure it's possible to print faster...Well, Japan.
Will joel make out with joel? Kickstarter.
Man, I am really good at this. ~Joel. Pretty sure I can reach the bottom right side of the page. ~Joel.
What do you think is your critical advantage over Jack that allows your superiority at everything? Timing. Timing is everything. ~joel.
If the entire Rooster Teeth office was involved in a bloody fight to the death, where there can be only one winner, who would emerge victorious? One horse sized Joel.
Joel, do you have any questions for me? -Joel. Yes, Joel, how does Reddit work? ~Joel.
Seems like you mostly reply to yourself ~Joel. Man, I am really good at this. ~Joel.
Do you do this in front of a mirror a lot? Mostly do other things in front of the mirror. People. -Joel.
Oh my god Joel I can't even. Me neither. ~Joel.
Internet. Internet ~Joel.
Pretty sure I can reach the bottom right side of the page. ~Joel. Hi. I am JJ Abrams, director of the new Star Wars and Star Trek movies. AMA! ~Joel.
Where is the squiggly? ~
You guys have a large and passionate following, and much of it is made up of people who are involved in video games and internet culture. Your audience also skews pretty young. Because of this, a significant portion of your fan base is, well...pretty socially awkward. Also, and you don't have to delve into this if you don't have time, but obviously there's some (well-deserved) concern with the RT subreddit. It seems that the least mature are the most vocal, and that makes for pretty lame and shallow content. It often comes off like a middle school gossip forum, or the shitty pre-teen parts of tumblr. Do any of you ever consider pushing for a presence of RT staff in the subreddit to head off idiot rumors/misconceptions before they become nonstop circlejerks like they so often do? It is easy to focus on the awkward, but that really is a tiny portion of the people I meet personally. I myself am SUPER socially awkward but after meeting people at various events for the past ten years I've gotten better at it.
The secret I've discovered is, if someone is uncomfortable and doesn't want to talk, I do the talking for both of us. I begin sort of asking myself questions I get frequently and then answering them. It is the easiest way to help make someone comfortable since I basically can jump start the conversation. We do keep an eye on the /RoosterTeeth subreddit and any time we spot information that is way off base or incorrect, we step in and correct folks.
What if your legs... didn't know that they were legs? Still working on finding an answer for this one.
Edit: [Context] (Link to www.youtube.com. Barbara.
With so many millions of fans, does it ever feel like you have lost a great deal of your privacy? It seems as if a lot of people are very interested in the details of your private lives. If so, how do you deal with this? Not having complete privacy is just one of those things you have to deal with, but sometimes it does get weird. One time Gus and I were at Dragoncon and I noticed a group of people looking at pics of me on their computer. They had taken paparazzi-type snapshots of me with a long lens while I was walking into the bathroom (but not going to the bathroom thankfully). That was one of those moments I realized we should probably start being careful about privacy. Now that several of us have kids it's definitely something you think about because you don't want it to affect their lives. - Matt When I got divorced two years ago, the only reason I didn't talk about it was because my ex could not respond to anything I said on the same level. She doesn't have a podcast with 3M listeners or a YouTube channel with 2B views. With two kids, it's very important to not imbalance that relationship, especially at a volatile time like that. Everyone is different when it comes to privacy. I actually care a little less than most people I think, but I did get skeeved when Reddit posted my old home address (don't bother looking I don't live there anymore). FYI, that's why I said some people in the subreddit were weird. All that being said, there are certainly people in life that I follow and their personal lives are interesting to me. So I understand the trade off. But don't be fooled -- social media is not personal lives. People will cherry pick the best moments of their lives and present them on Twitter and Facebook. They even polish them to look a little better. Don't get too wrapped up in other people's lives and compare yours to theirs. We all have our own joy & sadness, our share of heartbreaks & happiness. Only one-half those moments tend to make it onto a Facebook wall.
Would you say you got elijah Wood? Yes, I Wood say that. Also, marry me.
Barbara.
Is #DanTheMan moving to the US now that SlowMoGuys is part of Rooster Teeth? He's busy protecting the Queen or something.
Gus.
How different is it for Gavin and Michael doing Immersion from Geoff and Gus doing it? Luckily Gav and Michael have a good back and forth. It is different than the back and forth Geoff and I have, but they work well together, which is super important.
When did Matt become the CEO of Roosterteeth? And why? I stepped down on April 1, 2012 after nine years as CEO. Matt was the best choice for the job.
It's very easy to sit in place and hold on to titles and protect your domain, but if you want to run a succesful business you have to be objective. Sometimes changes need to be made even if the thing that needs to be changed is you.
Best explanation -- the guy who took us from one person to forty people is not the guy that is best equipped to take us from forty people to five hundred people.
A lot of things have changed under Matt but one thing remains the same -- each year is our best year. The company is stronger than ever thanks to him.
Burnie.
I posted the comment in the thread but i'll throw it here, what is everyone's titles or job duties now? Maybe current projects people are focusing on or along those lines. Matt: CEO.
Burnie: Head of Board/Creative Director.
Joel -- Commerical Production.
Geoff: AH.
Gus: Podcast & RTX.
Yvonne: VP of Operations.
Alan: Biz Dev.
Kath: Lead Producer.
Monty: Monty.
Did anybody think it was an April Fool's joke? It was not publicly announced. And we don't make April Fools jokes. --Burnie.
Do you see Roosterteeth expanding that largely in the future? Yes.
From 40 people to 500? Yes.
Do you think there will be different offices in different cities? Burnie.
Who is the main video editor for RvB? --when did they start video editing? Man, that was a lot of questions. I need another beer. -Gus.
Did they have Battletoads? Gus.
Without your current jobs, where would you be at today? What career paths would you have pursued, something in the game industry? I would probably be living in Toronto, interning at an Ad Agency. That was the plan before these guys were all, "hey lol u r kewl, come to Austin loloololol"
Barbara.
I was the President of a telecom company before this. I probably would be doing that still.I've made a terrible mistake.
Burnie.
To the new guys: What were the first few days/weeks like working at Rooster Teeth? How do you compare it to your other jobs? Working for Rooster Teeth was something I never imagined would happen, so the first few days were a bit surreal. It didn't take long for it to feel like home, though. I've never worked at a job where it felt like a second family until I came to RT.
Barbara.
I didn't have a job before working here so I figured all workplaces are like this.
Jordan.
My first week at Rooster Teeth was extremely different from my last job. I came from a corporate environment so immediately things were much more laid back in the RT office. The best thing though, was how welcoming everyone was. Everyone here was so nice and welcoming which was great having come from another city. And of course there's always tons of laughs at any given moment.
Holly.
Terrifying. Every day, I anticipated fucking up and getting fired. It was just incredibly overwhelming. There I was, some college kid/gamestop employee sitting next to a bunch of professionals. Literally every person at Rooster Teeth is here because they excel at something, whether it be writing, editing, cinematography, etc. I simply felt like I wasn't worthy... and to be honest, I still can't believe I'm still here.
Oh, and working at Gamestop was pretty bleh. Know your alphabet and sell magazines. "Thank you for calling Gamestop, where we buy and sell used games! This is Miles! How can I help you!?"
Miles.
There are lots of creepy people on the internet, and they seem to focus a lot on you, Barbara. Do you get upset by this, amused by this, or what? You may be surprised, but this doesn't upset me one bit. Something I learned REALLY early on by having a strong online presence is that people on the internet don't treat you as they would in real life, and you can't take anything to heart.
"Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind" is a way I've always lived my life, so I'm never bothered by negative/creepy comments, because I know that there are people who support me, and that's what I pay attention to. The love I receive from the RT Community is something I wouldn't trade for the world, and some gross/mean comment isn't going to make me forget that.
Barbara.
For the AH guys, what Let's Play (besides Minecraft) has been your favorite to do? And what games would you want to film next? Assassin's Creed Multiplayer -- Jack.
Baseball where Geoff shit's himself -- Gavin.
Olympics Part 1 -- Geoff.
Mari0 -- Ryan.
Let's Play Worms -- Ray.
Minigolf -- Michael.
Rooster Teeth: The Movie. Who would you cast? I would cast Joel. As everyone. Comedy will ensue.
Barbara.
Barbara: How are you dealing with life that lacks poutine? Sometimes I'll just cover Gus with cheese curds and gravy and cry.
Barbara.
10 years ago, if someone told you this is where you'd be now, how would you react? What would you say to him/her? What would you say has been your greatest influence in the writing for RvB throughout the years? I was convinced this project wouldn't last. I refused to buy a car or even rent a decent apartment because I knew at any moment this would all end and I'd be on the street. I'd say to myself "go ahead and get a decent car, getting stranded on the side of the road every other day isn't worth it."
Do you all enjoy writing/acting/filming the more serious aspects of RvB (e.g. the Freelancer storyline), or do you prefer the more comedic elements (the Blood Gulch crew, et al)? We wanted to do our own event for years (we used to want it to be purely internet based and call it dot com con). I'm pleased with the expansion but I wish we were even bigger. I can't wait to fill out the Austin Convention Center. RvB passed my wildest expectations about four weeks in. Everything after that has been experienced with a healthy mixture of gratitude and disbelief. Writing influences are hard to pin down. The movie Dark Star was a major early influence. After that, Lost was a weird influence in that I felt it was turning the sci-fi genre into mystery and I was determined to fight that.
Anyways, that's all I had. Thank you all so much for doing this AMA, keep producing awesome content and I'll keep watching (and loving) all of it. RTX 2013 is what I'm most excited about!!!
Of everything we do, I like playing characters as an actor. That's easier for me to do when I write them.
Just wondering, to start the evening on a bummer, Any big regrets? Missed oppurtunities? I remember you were talking about a show that was Wreck it Ralph like in Theme and story, Whatever happened to that? Edit: The link to the concept piece for break room Link to roosterteeth.com. No huge regrets really, but I do wish we had started doing live action content sooner. There are plenty of other projects like that we haven't had time to get to and it's always tough to find the balance between developing new content and making sure the current shows maintain their quality and consistency. - Matt That show was Break Room. We did an concept piece for it waaayyy back in 2007. You can probably find a clip of it somewhere. It's mothballed for now but may revive if we get to a point where it won't look retroactively derivative of Wreck It Ralph.
Any news on the Strangerhood 2??? Ray is working on it as we speak. But not really.
Jack.
Joel, do you have any more "Joel and ___ Play" games in mind? One coming next week.
Next week ~joel.
I actually tried to post the Kiniectiamals...kinitiamals...the cinnamon attack bear video on here. it was my only post here ever. I did it 30min after we released the video. Someone else has already posted it and I only got 1 up vote. It was like high school all over again. very depressing, haven't been back to reddit since then.
How was working with Elijah Wood? Awesome. I got to work with him once before on a movie called The Faculty and I remembered him being a very cool guy. That was before LOTR, and even with all that success he's still totally down to earth and easy to work with. He nailed literally every single take for RvB first try. - Matt.
He's an absolutle legend and we were very lucky to have him in the cast of Season 10. You should all go follow him on his twitter account: @woodelijah.
Burnie.
I got to talk to him at RTX briefly. I got my first boner that day.
Barbara.
Is Joe enjoying his retirement? Yes. Let me see if I can grab a picture of him. --Burnie.
No offense to you guys, but Joe was probably my favorite employee at RT. Seriously the most chill cat I've ever seen. If you had to work with someone who vomited on your workspace and whose shit you literally had to clean up you wouldn't be so enthusiastic.
Gus.
Who makes the most noise in the company? Michael. Especially on Thursdays. You better hope you don't have a meeting that day in the conference room (which shares a wall with the AH office).
Barbara.
Miles. I showed him the Bane voice trick just so he would put a goddamn cup over his mouth.
Burnie.
As a college student who would love to work for a film/Entertainment company like Roosterteeth, what kinds of things really stick out in a resume? I listen to the podcast religiously and it seems like most employees start out as fans. Fuck the resume, make a god damned reel! Everybody looks the same on paper...resumes are an exercise in who is the best liaexaggerator. A reel shows actual talent and what you're enthusiastic about.
Gus.
When is Burnie and Gus going to be in a Let's Play!? It's a sad fact, but we all need to realize that not everyone at Rooster Teeth can be in every production. It's just not possible. I had a lot of fun on some of the early Let's Plays (before they were called that) but when it's time to pick what I want to work on, I like to focus on narrative content (like RvB) and over-the-top live action shows (like Immersion and the podcast).
I was really bummed just last week when I had to be in Atlanta and could not participate in a really awesome live action shoot here in Austin. But I was in Atlanta for Immersion and the 10th anniversary live stream. So, I can't really feel bad about that. You just have to choose what you want to work on. --Burnie.
If you could be any type of tree, what type of tree would you be? (Gus said he would be a "tree that doesn't ask stupid questions" at NY Comic con 2011) Birch please, I'd be all types of trees. Oak-ay, but seriously, I've been pining to be poplar all my life, so I'd spruce myself up a bit and choose the Evergreen. --Barbara.
For the staff with kids, what do your kids think you do at work all day? My kids think I "rooster teeth" all day. They use it as a verb. I get home and they ask, "daddy, did you rooster teeth today?" And I say, sure did and it was awesome. I'm hoping they don't ever learn what "rooster teeth" is a euphemism for. - Matt.
If you had to get rid of one employee, who would it be and why? Joe the Cat.
Gus.
Joel because he throws things at me and sends me videos of screaming cats.
Barbara.
Hey RoosterTeeth! Are there any plans to update/fix your iPhone app and perhaps add iPad support? I'd love to be able to watch my fave episodes on the go and it isn't working right now... YES! Working on our mobile presence is super high priority right now. We want to fix our iOS presence and make something for the Android market as well. It is on the roadmap of stuff to get to, we just have to finish up some other things first.
Gus.
What moment in your career would be permanently burned in your memory? There are a bunch, most of them involving the community. I will still say that entering the ballroom for the first RTX and being almost physically overwhelmed by the energy and enthusiasm of that audience is something I will never forget. Also seeing Gus naked so many times is burned in memory too, but I'm wishing I could forget that. - Matt.
What "celebrity" actor would you love to have do a part in an upcoming season of Red vs. Blue? Lindsay Lohan or Olivia Wilde.
Gus.
How does it feel to wake up every morning knowing you work for the greatest company in the world? With morning wood.
Barbara.
What can you tell us about Immersion? Can't wait to see Michael and Gavin in the new season. We have one new episode in the can. That will be a "between season" episode of the show. We are giving the TV networks a few more weeks to look at Immersion before we go forward there or take it off the table and makes Season 2 for the web.
Burnie.
Did the employees you hired out of the community (Gavin, Barbara) have the same character in person as they did on the site? We didn't hire anyone without actually meeting them first...
Burnie.
Hey Rooster Teeth , I have more of a request then a question. I am actually making a L4D2 map based on the RoosterTeeth office. pics! Now I'm wondering if you could give me a hand and send me a floor plan and/or some photos from around the office for reference, It would help me so much. Would you also like our alarm code you burglar???
a question, Was it awkward meeting Gavin for the first time, considering he was only 15? Gus.
Boobs or butts? Boobs.
Link to i.imgur.com
Gus.
How many episodes of Immersion 2 will there be? And what are you most excited to show us in the coming months? We don't know for sure. I have eight on paper right now, not including the one we just filmed. --Burnie.
Do you have plans for international organization such as Rooster Teeth UK or Rooster Teeth AU? Why on earth would we need that? That's a terrible idea.
Is that something you'd even consider? Gus.
Hi Roosterteeth. I'm sorry that I stole rvb to use as my internet handle. Seriously, I use it for everything. I only did it because I love you. Yeah, we will be filming a new intro for the podcast which will incorporate the listener submitted theme songs. Brandon said he wants to film the intros next week, but I don't know if we'll have the time. It is a priority and we hope to have it done in the next couple of weeks.
That being said, are podcast theme songs ever coming back? Podcast is just not the same without them. Gus.
How are babies made? Gus makes a note on his spreadsheet.
Barbara.
Simple question: Do you guys have as much fun at work as it seems? Absolutely, but there is even more work going on than you would think. It is the busiest job I've ever had.
Gus.
Will there every be another actual season of RT Shorts? RT Shorts are back, and we are already working on new episodes of Season 5!
Gus, I love you. How are the shingles going? Long gone my friend.
Gus.
Every job has its highs and lows, but Roosterteeth seems like an amazing company to work in. What are some of major lows about working at RT ? if there are any. Sometimes the work hours are really tiring and stressful. During our location shoot earlier this week I was incredibly ill. In fact I was so sick that I was laying on the ground trying to sleep and whenever I needed to be on camera I would load up on cold medicine and try not to hack up a lung. When you have limited time to accomplish a shoot you don't have the luxury of taking a day off.
Gus.
What was it like to first realize how much Rooster Teeth was taking off? They told us to turn off our electronics, then the plane started moving really, really fast.
Barbara.
We talked about the early days on the Tenth Anniversary Livestream. That should be out soon if not already.
TL;DW It was crazy. We played catch up for most of the first year.
Burnie.
What would any of you say is the most significant technological development that has changed the way RoosterTeeth has operated in any capacity? The rollout of Adobe's Flash video codec really changed the way video is delivered on the web. It reduced our server costs by 2/3 overnight. And within a year we went from PAYING to host our own videos to being paid to do it.
What's the strangest thing you've ever found knocking about in the RoosterTeeth office? At the old office downtown sometimes bums would poop in milk jugs and leave them on our back door. Unless it was Joel doing that. Never asked. - Matt.
What are your hopes for RWBY? The trailers sure make it look amazing, and I'm curious about where you see this project taking your group in the future. I hope RWBY can do many things, the most important having people be able to identify with the many characters in the story. There will definitely be someone for everyone. I think that any art or writing can be good so long it resonates with a truth that the viewer can relate to.
Monty.
For Barbara: Is there anyone in the company who supports your prolific use of puns? From a fan and fellow punster keep doing what you're doing! Every now and then Gus will give me props on one. Everyone else responds with groans. They don't know real humor.
Barbara.
What's the relationship that Rooster Teeth has with Tumblr? Caleb made one a little while ago -- are you guys doing anything else with it? Speaking personally, I love to see the enthusiasm that the Tumblr community has for RT and the people at RT. We don't really have a use for Tumblr for our own stuff, but we definitely recognize it as a great outlet for awesome community content.
Barbara.
Me, every time I get on Tumblr.] ([Link to weknowmemes.com)
Burnie.
(But I do check FuckYeahBurnieBurns. Those people are smart as hell.)
Seeing as new episodes of Immersion are coming, what is the most fun you have had filming an episode of Immersion? This one we just shot was really fun, but probably my favorite Immersion shoots were the Video Game Car and Zombie Horde. The RTX attendees did a fantastic job on the horde video and every one was in such great spirits it felt like a big party. The video game car one was great because we were just figuring everything out and that discovery process is always fun. Plus we all had time at the end to actually drive the car and it was a blast. Little known fact - I had the fastest time around the track. I still suck at non-real life games. - Matt.
, thank you guys for all of your fucking awesome content. I've loved every minute of it. To whoever is there currently, what has been your career highlight? The highlight of my "career" (I guess technically it was when I started at RT) was the day it was announced that I was hired. I have never experienced such an out-pour of love, support, and kind words from so many people at once. It's a day I will remember for the rest of my life.
What has been the funnest thing you have done at the office your whole career there? I think I laughed the most when we were filming the short where Burnie steals Gus's beard. I literally had to hit record and leave the room for all of Burnie's dialog because I kept laughing out loud through every take. - Matt.
Hello Roosterteeth! What was it like for you when you signed your first autograph from a fan? It was weird. In my head I'm like, "I'm totally ruining this poster". I think the guy thought I was Kara. Oops.
Barbara.
Have you guys and girls all managed to stay friends inside and outside of the office? Totally. Except right now Joel is throwing rolled up pieces of paper at me and I don't like it. Fuck Joel.
Barbara.
Has any Rooster Teeth employee ever been arrested? Not while on the clock. Other than that, I don't know.
Gus.
I have been handcuffed twice, once in Mexico. But never arrested.
Burnie.
P.S. Don't get handcuffed in Mexico.
Last updated: 2013-04-09 07:36 UTC | Next update: 2013-04-09 13:36 UTC
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