Do you (crypto) Yahoo!?

Mar 29, 2018  David Kieve, Cryptopunk

Ya-who?

A good way to tell how old you are is whether you remember Yahoo! And AOL. Remember Yahoo!’s catchy tagline? Ah, those were the days. Google doesn’t even have one, unless you count the “Let me Google that for you” joke (no, “Don’t be evil” does not count). To those who remember the “good old (Internet) days,” Yahoo! was ubiquitous as the Google, the Craigslist, the Weather.com, the go-to email, and so much more. It was the definitive verb of the early Internet era.

Where did Ya go?

But then Yahoo! just vanished. First, its market share was taken away by upstarts like Google. Then, it lost its share of our minds. These days, we only think of Yahoo! when it pops into the news reel, always with some version of “hey, remember this company from back when?” intro. Didn’t it go bankrupt? Didn’t it go through multiple failed buyouts? Didn’t Marissa Mayer come down from Google to save it? (Spoiler: she failed.) There was even something on the news about it selling its share in China’s hugely popular Alibaba. It’s as if David Bowie wrote about Yahoo!:

“Oh no, not me
We never lost control
You're face to face
With the man who sold the world”

Look ‘hoo is back!

Continuing our lyrical journey, guess who’s “back, from outer space”? (No, not Elon Musk’s Roadster, not for another million years at least). Yahoo! seems to really want to claw its way back into relevance by getting in on the hottest game in town: crypto. Better yet, they want to build a cryptocurrency exchange. Yes, the company who couldn’t hold onto its dominance of the Web 1.0 wants a piece of the Web 3.0 pie.

Sidenote: This “return of the Ya-di” move is being pulled off by Yahoo! Japan. Why does Yahoo! even have an office in the most technologically advanced country in the world? Is it headquartered in a history museum? (Japan does have captivating ancient history exhibits.)

Not playing softball

This news could have been easily dismissed if not for Yahoo!’s partner on this: Softbank - a very big and serious Japanese bank with a global reach. These guys are no yahoos (couldn’t resist). The plan is a classical business case too: they are buying a lesser-known exchange, BitARG, for 2 billion yen (around 19 million USD) and are pumping even more money (and tech, UX, financial & legal tools, etc.) into it to make the exchange a serious contender.

Will you Yahoo! your crypto?

With Binance and Coinbase adding (or at least planning to add) decentralized exchange capabilities and other new features, and with so many other exchanges coming onto the market with solid tech, rockstar teams, and big money behind them - will there be room for Yahoobase? Will you feel safe placing your Bitcoin to Stellar trades on Bithoo? Will you settle the bill after a night out with buddies with “Just Yahoo! me”? Before you get too adventurous, make sure to test your trading on a simulator that accounts for the realistic way in which crypto markets work - so even a yahoo can learn and become smarter investors.