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Crypto Diversification: Coinbase Broadens Focus, Targets 1B People

Crypto Diversification: Coinbase Broadens Focus, Targets 1B People 101
Brian Armstrong touring the new Coinbase office in San Francisko in July 2019. Source: Twitter, @brian_armstrong

Major crypto companies are building their long term growth strategy and looking for ways to diversify their businesses. Crypto exchange Binance said earlier this year that it wants to become an infrastructure builder, and now, its competitor, U.S.-based Coinbase, confirms that it aims to be "less about trading".

Coinbase started as a place for people to buy crypto, Bian Armstrong, CEO of the company said during a livestream on Friday, “and that’s still what the majority of our customers do, it’s what the majority of our revenue comes from”, given that the two big revenue-generating products are the main consumer app and Coinbase Pro.

In five-year’ time, Armstrong sees Coinbase being “less about trading” and “actually helping grow the crypto economy […] taking all these people who got into crypto, usually doing this solo activity of buying a little bit, […] but actually starting to connect those people into this economic graph and getting people to actually go use crypto for more things.” L.J. Brock, Chief People Officer at Coinbase, during the same livestream added that Coinbase will use those five years to be the place for people to develop their crypto education and careers, which is going to seed crypto economy through startups.

Also, in the same period of time, Armstrong is hoping to see thousands of companies that are crypto first – they raise money and take all their payments in crypto, and have a global audience since day one.

“We’ll have like a billion people accessing an open financial system through our products every day”, says Armstrong. Since they’re building a lot of products, Coinbase will be a multi-product company that has repeatable innovation, according to him,

Coinbase raised a lot of money from great investors, says Armstrong, so even in the down cycles of crypto, they might’ve slowed the hiring, but were "always growing." While there may be short-term volatility, the overall trend is "up and to the right", adds Brock, saying “you’re on a rocket ship now”.

In October 2018, the company was valued at USD 8 billion following a mega funding round when Coinbase raised USD 300 million to accelerate its global expansion.

Meanwhile, their competitor that is about to enter the U.S. market, Binance hopes to become an infrastructure builder, “so that other people can build buildings in the city.”
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"We want Binance to either build the infrastructure ourselves, or invest in other projects that build infrastructure [such as exchanges, wallets, faster blockchains, more decentralized exchanges]," Changpeng Zhao, CEO of the company, said in February 2018.

In either case, both exchanges are already reviewing their product portfolios and strategies.

For example, Coinbase just killed its Bundle product less than a year since its launch, but it also released a new group of signalling tools that gives the users a look into actions of its top 10% traders.

Binance, which launched margin trading recently, on the other hand, decided to burn their staff’s BNB tokens. According to some commentators, "Binance is arguably beginning to find its own token as much of a hindrance as a help to its own business plans."

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