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Will Bitcoin Win Crypto Adoption Race? Coinbase CEO Not Sure

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 2 min read

There are elements that just might make crypto bigger this year, says Brian Armstrong, CEO of major crypto exchange Coinbase, but he’s not sure which blockchain will win the crypto adoption race in the more distant future. Bitcoiners are perplexed that the question was even asked, as to them the answer is obvious: Bitcoin.

Brian Armstrong. Source: a video screenshot, Youtube, a16z

Armstrong took to social media yesterday to give his opinion on the potential growth of crypto, as well as what may contribute to this development. A down stock market and interest rate cuts could lead to the growth in space in 2020, he argues, adding that it’s likely that the world’s governments will take to stimulating the economy in any possible way, including quantitative easing and expanding the money supply – that is to say, printing money, says the CEO.

“This may lead to a movement of funds into crypto, that are viewed as a hedge against inflation,” he says, and this “could be the year where the mindset of institutional investors begins to shift, from crypto as a venture bet, to crypto as a reserve currency.”

In order for crypto to grow, however, there are four key areas of development that the industry needs to work on, he explains:

  1. Scalability – blockchains that can get to at least thousands of transactions per second to get mainstream adoption of cryptos;
  2. Privacy – privacy coins will be needed;
  3. Decentralized Identity – a decentralized app (dapp) inside a wallet should automatically know the user; it will enable users to have reputation scores and attestation or claims around KYC (know your customers), which could unlock many use cases;
  4. Developer Tools – making it simple for developers to build apps, publish them, and get distribution.

But which of the teams that are currently “racing toward this prize” will be the winning blockchain and crypto in this scenario is still up for debate, Armstrong finds, which means, it won’t necessarily be the world’s number one, Bitcoin.

Bitcoiners, however, aren’t pleased by that insinuation. Many believe that Bitcoin is the logical choice and that Armstrong intentionally won’t say it. “Bitcoin as reserve currency. The rest is early stage venture bucket mostly,” says Gabor Gurbacs, Director of Digital Asset Strategy at VanEck, an investment management firm. “Say Bitcoin, Brian. You can do it!,” many are writing such and similar comments in the CEO’s Twitter thread, with some accusing Coinbase of being an enemy of Bitcoin.

“I’m sure he would deny it,” says Joe Weisenthal, editor at Bloomberg, “but it’s interesting to me that the CEO of the world’s most prominent Bitcoin-related company seems so skeptical of Bitcoin.”

On the other hand, Eric Wall, Chief Investment Officer of crypto fund Arcane Assets, argues that Armstrong’s “tweetstorm”, though on point, had “very little to do with which asset becomes global money, and everything to do with which chain will run decentralized finance.” He adds that these could end up being two different chains, while it’s still not clear if they’d use the same monetary asset.

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Now That Bitcoin ‘is Digital Gold,’ Which Crypto is For Payments?