It hasn’t been the best of Christmases for the stock markets and let’s face it, Santa hasn’t exactly gone overboard when it comes to crypto. However, according to a CNBC Fast Money interview with Coinbase President Asiff Hirji, it hasn’t been all bad.
A Year of Innovation
When asked what happened to crypto in 2018 after such promise and expectation this time last year, Hirji reminded CNBC that Coinbase warned investors to be cautious.
In fact, in 2017, just when Bitcoin fans were starting to think all their Christmases had come at once, the world’s most regulated exchange dealt a cold blast of reality harsher than a Russian winter reinforcing that prices may be overinflated.
However, he went on to say that there had never been more innovation or institutional buy-in of crypto as there was in 2018, despite the fact that trading volumes were down.
Not for the Faint Hearted
When asked about the BTC price [coin_price] impact and its effect on his business, Hirji began to dance around the issue like any good president saying that years ago, Bitcoin was the only thing that mattered. Then along came Ethereum, and now there are around 3,000 to 4,000 cryptocurrencies out there but that:
There are probably 200 or so that matter.
Despite dealing a harsh hand to the flailing 2,800 cryptos or so that don’t make the grade, he said:
You should assume that (Coinbase) will over the course of time add all the cryptocurrencies that matter in as many geographies as we are allowed to add them.
He affirmed that he was full of expectations for the year ahead and that this was the start of the next great wave in crypto.
What Happened in 2018?
When asked why 2018 failed to deliver the institutional investor boost that everyone hoped would happen, Himji responded that buy-in was at an all-time high:
We’ve had hundreds of institutions onboard onto our custodian platform.
He added that they needed a valid venue to trade on and a qualified custodian to store with, as well as liquidity, and that Coinbase has the most compliant and regulated solution out there.
Despite the dreadful year of 2018 for retail investors, 2019 would continue to be a good year for institutions going into crypto, he argued.
The Coinbase IPO?
When quizzed about a possible IPO for Coinbase and how its valuation must be affected by the lower prices, he recalled when the company was valued at $8 billion earlier this year, reinforcing that none of the investors were then betting on the price of the asset “today, tomorrow or even a year from now.”
“If that’s your time horizon, as an institutional investor, you shouldn’t be touching this [cryptocurrencies].
But, if you have a long-term constructive view of where crypto is going, we’re [Coinbase is] the best-leveraged bet on crypto that you can find.
Himji did admit, however, that the company’s revenue was directly tied to trading volume and that trading volume was way down, concluding:
We have a long way to go before we do an IPO.
What do you think about the Coinbase president’s comments on investing in crypto? Share your thoughts below!
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