With its Nasdaq listing, the exchange will provide on-ramps for many investors. But it’s also changing the system from within.
After a dramatic week in which the crypto industry’s eyes were on Coinbase’s Nasdaq debut, it’s time to step back and reflect. Plenty of pixels and airtime has already been beamed. Plenty of analysis has been performed about the valuation and growth outlook. But not enough has been said about what I think is the long game.
Some have wondered if Brian Armstrong, Coinbase’s CEO and co-founder, is “selling out” by going public. A business that was built around an asset group created to eliminate the need for centralized gatekeepers ends up joining the centralized system. How could he?
I don’t think Coinbase going public is contradictory at all. Look deeper, and you see a strategic move to influence the system from within.
By joining the ranks of listed companies, Coinbase is now part of the traditional financial establishment. Only, it’s not, really.
It still is a business premised on assets that do not function like traditional assets, and that permit a level and speed of innovation unlike any before in the financial industry. It is still, through and through, a crypto business.
This is more far-reaching than it sounds: It’s not just about providing a platform for the buying and selling of crypto tokens. That’s significant, and currently accounts for 96% of Coinbase’s net revenue. But it’s “just” the on-ramp. It provides a relatively easy way for new investors to take their first steps into crypto – but it won’t change traditional markets.