Brian Armstrong, the co-founder and chief executive of the world’s leading cryptocurrency trading platform Coinbase, believes the world usage of virtual currency is still growing. Overall, an entrepreneur remains positive about the cryptocurrency future, despite the bearish market conditions this year.
“People’s expectations are all over the map, but the real world adoption has been steadily increasing,” Coinbase’s CEO said while speaking at the Bloomberg Players Technology Summit in San Francisco.
Armstrong told Bloomberg that his company’s growth was in line with bitcoin’s price movements.
“This technology is going through a series of bubbles and corrections, so we’ve actually been through four or five of them now, where Bitcoin made this big run up in price and there’s kind of irrational exuberance and then it corrected back 60-70%. Each time it does that it’s at a new plateau, and it’s matched the growth of the company,” he said.
In the beginning, the exchange had around 500 new users joining the platform each day and after the first bubble it had 5,000 users signing up daily. Last year, he said, when almost all cryptocurrencies hit their record highs, the company was adding nearly 50,000 people a day. Moreover, the exchange helped its users trade $150 billion in cryptocurrency the previous year.
When questioned about the recent negative comments by JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who said bitcoin is a “fraud” and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, who called it “rat poison squared,” Armstrong said both were wrong and added that most people are usually skeptic when new technologies like cryptocurrency appear, but when they see their potential and real-world applications they get more excited. Nowadays, he noted, it is “getting harder and harder to be a crypto skeptic.”
As far as ICOs, Armstrong called them an “important innovation”, which provides an opportunity for startups all over the world to raise capital.
When asked about the real adoption rate, Armstrong admitted that the majority of cryptocurrency usage is still in the investments sector and only 10% is used in real life in the US.
“People are not using it necessarily in brick-and-mortar stores or like at Starbucks or something like that,” he said, adding people are using it more online, with use-cases including online crowdfunding, games, and user generated content sites like Twitter or Reddit. “I think it will be quite some time before you cross the street to Starbucks in the US and pay with crypto.”
During an interview, Coinbase’s CEO highlighted strong potential the cryptocurrency has in countries with tough economic situation, such as Venezuela, as it allows people to get real time payments directly in their hands, avoiding intermediaries.
“I’m bullish on that in the next three to five years, I think you’ll see countries that are going through economic crisis, where everybody has the internet and a smartphone, you could see people organically adopting crypto as an alternative,” Armstrong said.
Coinbase, meantime, continues to introduce improvements to its platform and just few days ago it raised cryptocurrency trading limit to $25,000 per day. Besides, it has recently introduced a new plugin to allow online stores accept cryptocurrency payments from their global customers.