Coinbase wants to claim commerce, says CEO Brian Armstrong

Brian Armstrong, the Co-founder of Coinbase and one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in the United States, spoke about the use cases of Bitcoin and retail resurgence, during his recent Ask-Me-Anything [AMA] session.

Mike Dudas, the Founder of The Block, asked whether he expected a retail resurgence in 2019 or 2020. To this, Armstrong stated that he tries “not to play the game” of predicting “what’s gonna happen.” He further stated that it was “okay” if the retail resurgence took place in 2019 or 2020, adding that he wanted the industry to focus “less and less” on the trading aspects of cryptocurrency. He said,

“[…] generally, I want the industry to […] focus less and less on, you didn’t even say trading in your question but I’m assuming maybe incorrectly assuming that that’s what you’re referring to. I don’t want people to focus so much on trading in the price.”

Armstrong added that he wanted the space to focus on building “more use case for crypto,” where more applications will be introduced in more countries, making cryptocurrencies commonman-friendly.

Further, the Co-founder also stated that Coinbase was expanding to other countries and was “always getting” more fiat payment integrations, when asked whether Coinbase was trying to get more fiat on-ramps.

When asked what he would use Bitcoin for, Armstrong stated that he used to give Bitcoin worth $5 or $10 to anyone who was interested in the cryptocurrency, adding that this practice has been going on for around seven years now. Armstrong then spoke about the general use-case of Bitcoin, stating that the “last area” to be disrupted by cryptocurrencies was going to be normal payments, where people use it to buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

“digital currency is actually going to be used more on the fringes first, and slowly move mainstream so the fringes are […] power users of money […] need to send a million dollars to someone [or] invest in something in ten minutes […] a developer who’s trying to […] automate you distributions of payment to thousands of people”

He further stated,

“[…] then on the other side you have people who are unbanked, […] emerging markets, Venezuela, this is kind of where give crypto is playing and so crypto is sort of playing most strongly today at the edges […] and I think it’s slowly gonna work its way into the middle […]”

Armstrong added that Coinbase was working towards achieving this and building the “crypto economy,” not only in terms of onboarding people to buy and hold, but also to connect these people. This, in turn, would create more opportunities for people to participate in more things related to crypto like voting, staking, and lending and borrowing. He added,

“[what] we want to actually claim is commerce. We want to start to try to integrate that into our consumer app to like surface what are the things that people can buy. Let’s put it there right in front of them in the app and let them know about places they can spend crypto so that’s how we want to build the crypto economy at Coinbase […]”

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