CoinDesk began publishing in May 2013, and was founded by serial entrepreneur Shakil Khan. Khan is also an investor in BitPay, a bitcoin payment processor. In September 2013, Jon Matonis, former executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation, joined CoinDesk as a contributing editor. CoinDesk also provides guides to bitcoin for those new to digital currencies. In January 2016, CoinDesk was acquired by Digital Currency Group for an estimated amount of US$500K-600K. In January 2017, the company acquired Lawnmower, a blockchain data and research platform. In January 2021, the company acquired TradeBlock, a cryptocurrency data analytics firm.
The CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (CoinDesk BPI) was launched in September 2013. The Bitcoin Price Index is an average of bitcoin prices across bitcoin exchanges, and began by using price data from Bitstamp, BTC-e and CampBX. Although Mt. Gox data was not used initially, due to withdrawal concerns for US customers, in November 2013, Mt. Gox was added to the BPI due to "a reduction in the risk premium and the option of additional deposit/withdrawal methods". The Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange was eventually removed from the index in February 2014 after its "persistent failure to meet the index's standards for inclusion".
The index was restored to an average of three exchanges in March 2014 with the inclusion of Bitfinex price data, according to CoinDesk: "Since the decline of Mt. Gox, we have observed that Bitfinex has been able to sustain a dramatic increase in its share of the total volume of U.S. dollar-denominated bitcoins traded".[needs update]
Publications which have referenced the Bitcoin Price Index data or price include the BBC, WSJ, Reuters, NY Times, CNBC and Bloomberg.
In February 2014, CoinDesk released its first 'State of Bitcoin' report. The aim of the report is "to provide an overview of key cryptocurrency trends, challenges, and opportunities, while also highlighting the most important developments over the last year”. A follow-up report in Q2 2014 highlighted that venture capital investment in bitcoin companies was up 28 percent compared to the previous quarter, and that VC investment was pouring into European Bitcoin startups.