Being Bitcoin [BTC]-centric did not prove viable for us, says Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong


The end-of-the-year cryptocurrency market behavior has been quite surprising, with an extended bear run being overturned by rapid price surge. The recent bullish run caused a lot of cryptocurrencies to increase in value and protect their support levels as well. The major highlight of the surge was Bitcoin [BTC]’s breach above the $4000 mark, a phenomenon that also resulted in rank changes on the cryptocurrency charts.

During this time period, Brian Armstrong, the Chief Executive Officer of Coinbase spoke to Chris Dixon, a Coinbase board member and serial entrepreneur about Coinbase’s inception and the company’s ideology of branching out to other cryptocurrencies.

Armstrong started by saying that the cryptocurrency market always goes through big run-ups that are enormous and the market automatically corrects the prices back by 50%-60%. He stated that there is a new price plateau every time a correction occurs and this pattern has been repeated several times in the cryptocurrency market. The CEO spoke about how Coinbase, during its inception was understaffed and the company’s only motto was to play the long game.

The Coinbase official said that when the company began, Bitcoin was considered as the only legitimate digital asset drawing an analogy with the existence of the TCP/IP as a strong foundation. He further added that the scaling debate on Bitcoin was the spark that made Coinbase realize that the focus has to be shifted to other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum [ETH]. In his words:

“The emergence of factions during the Bitcoin debate was the one that surprised me the most. The scaling debate and Bitcoin’s fork talk made us realize that we need to be more than a Bitcoin-centric company.”

The head of the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US was frank in admitting that the ‘one protocol to rule them all’ could not be applied to the cryptocurrency industry, which is what forced Coinbase to venture into other cryptocurrencies.

Coinbase was also in the news recently when Asiff Hirji, the COO of the company, spoke about the exchange’s trading volume being affected due to the bear market. Speaking about the price slump, Hirji stated:

“We had a number of institutions come in and practically invest in us, we basically took money for a rainy day. None of those investors were betting on the price of Bitcoin today, tomorrow, or even a year from now… But if you have a long-term constructive view of where crypto is going, we are the best-leveraged bet on crypto you can find.”

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