Banks might think that idea was quite cute. San Francisco based Coinbase are the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. They have 11 million users and 200 staff. Lloyds bank have 30 million users and 75k staff. Wells Fargo have 70 million users and 270k staff.
=> Were the FIRST ever regulated Bitcoin exchange in the US > 2015
=> They launched the FIRST ever Bitcoin debit card in > 2015
=> The were the FIRST ever crypto company to raise $100 Million in a series D funding round in > 2017
=> They are the FIRST ever crypto company to reach unicorn status, announcing a billion dollar valuation in > 2017
>>> Will they be the first Crypto company to disrupt the mainstream? <<<
At the time of writing this Coinbase are on track for 1 million sign-ups this month (October 2017)
Coinbase have been getting some heat on social about the latest Bitcoin fork. Coinbase isn’t for “traders”. But they are considered the easiest exchange to use for those clueless about Crypto. So when Coinbases communication on the latest fork was so confusing that Satoshi himself would be scratching his head. It attracted some negativity — rightly so. Let’s not forget the strides that Coinbase have taken in making crypto mainstream…
A few weeks ago Coinbase announced instant purchases and remittance on transactions. Users can buy bitcoin and withdraw funds more like your mainstream bank experience. In September they introduced phone support for customers. Rather than the support ticket system most exchanges provide. You’ll likely get through to speak to a real person quicker than calling Lloyds or Wells Fargo. General crypto community advice is not to hold any funds on exchanges for security reasons. Exchange then withdraw to a safer place so they say. Coinbase added vaults in September for their remaining currencies — Litecoin and Ethereum. A minority consider this to be as safer place to hold your cryptocurrency as errr.. A bank?
You can spend your crypto on a Visa card like a regular bank. You can make and receive transactions like a regular bank. You can store your crypto in Coinbase like a regular bank. You can get the support of a regular bank. What do mainstream banks have left?
Of course very few employers will pay you in Bitcoin into your Coinbase wallet yet. Your money on Coinbase isn’t recognised by the financial world if you want to get a mortgage. Your money is protected by governments in a traditional bank and you can earn interest (nobody pays Bitcoin’s interest rate!). There’s no direct debit facility yet on offer at Coinbase. Yet. You heard it here first.
Last year Coinbase made their mission statement public. Here’s the headlines since it’s lengthy…
“Many good ideas never happen due to the high friction of payments. It is a major hurdle in launching a business. In the future, it shouldn’t matter if you’re a hot Silicon Valley startup, or a 16-year-old in Mumbai with a new idea. If you build something people want, it should be available to everyone on day one.
If the world’s payments ran on an open protocol (that no one company or country controlled) we’d see a huge efficiency improvement, in the same way that email or SMS spread around the world as an open standard.
About 1/3 of the world lives on less than $2 per day, but 90% of them don’t have access to a bank account. The traditional banking business model (earning interest on deposits) doesn’t work for people with very little money. Our belief is that digital currency on smartphones will bring financial services to many people in the developing world, and this will help level the playing field.”
It has a great sentiment and it’s clear Coinbase are thinking global in every aspect of their business. For me it’s not so hard to imagine how Coinbase could become a global banking force. Especially without the restrictions that domestic banks have. Sure they do get hacked and users accounts get stolen fairly often. But they are fighting battles to take crypto mainstream. Which is a worthwhile fight for everybody in crypto.
Let’s Cut Coinbase some slack :)