Brian Armstrong Reviews the Decade in Crypto –

On January 2, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong shared his thoughts in a Medium post. In that post, he was commenting on how the cryptocurrency space has progressed in the past 10 years.

This post gained inspiration from Fred Wilson’s article on technology that highlighted various events over the past decade. Armstrong started with bitcoin noting that the flagship crypto has not failed once in its entire ten-year history. In spite of any skepticism leveled towards Bitcoin’s survival, the Binance CEO said that the virtual currency has thrived in the last decade:

“There were over 379 articles written, prematurely declaring the end of Bitcoin. Not only did Bitcoin survive, but it also thrived, becoming the top-performing asset of the decade. The naysayers were proved wrong and we learned an important lesson about human nature: most big breakthroughs are contrarian ideas that people dismiss and ridicule at the start.”

Coinbase Has Thrived

Armstrong also mentioned that his Coinbase crypto exchange has also thrived in the past ten years. He said that many thought that his exchange would crash but it has succeeded. Armstrong also stated that when he thought about launching Coinbase, many thought that he was crazy for trying to create a custodial cryptocurrency exchange and wallet. He wrote:

“The best hackers in the world were trying to break into crypto exchanges, and Mt. Gox along with many others had suffered breaches. Through a combination of luck and skill, Coinbase managed to weather the barrage of attacks, and created many novel methods of key storage which improved with every passing year.”

Since it was founded in 2012, Coinbase has grown to operate in at least 100 countries worldwide. Moreover, the company has also created core products to support crypto adoption and ease of use. Also, the company set up a Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX) meant for trading various cryptos.

Additionally, Coinbase offers an API for merchants and developers to create applications and accept payments in digital currencies. Armstrong pointed out that while technology debates are the norm, there is always a strong sense of emotion that is associated with digital currencies and blockchains. He added:

“I believe what made this more vitriolic than other technology debates I’ve seen (emacs vs vim, iOS vs Android, etc) is that once people own a particular coin they have an inherent conflict of interest and emotions take over.”

Though that might be the case, the Coinbase CEO pointed out that the existence of strong emotions has helped in the advancement of the blockchain and crypto space. That has resulted in multiple currencies and blockchains taking the lead.

The Takeaways

Armstrong goes into much more details on his Medium post. Here are the takeaways:

  • Coinbase never failed: In the past decade, Coinbase made crypto easier to use and has developed several core products to support mass adoption.
  • Surviving the crashes and bubbles: The crypto industry advanced even with the crashes and bubbles that followed. That has attracted the attention of top-performing companies and investors.
  • Bitcoin never failed: In spite of the rollercoasters, Bitcoin has turned out to be the top-performing digital asset of the decade.
  • App adoption took a bit longer than expected: When Dapps started taking off, there was minimal adoption until the rise of DeFi in 2019.
  • Competition emerged: As new cryptos were developed and blockchain protocol changes emerged, competition increased rapidly in the crypto space. That has driven rapid innovations.
  • The ICO boom and bust: Most of the companies that did initial coin offerings failed miserably in the delivery of real-world products even though they are sitting on piles of cash.
  • Regulations: when bitcoin was starting, it was entirely unregulated. However, regulators and governments came in and now cryptocurrency is continuously becoming a regulated industry.
  • Exchanges realized most value: Over the last ten years, the exchanges ranked as the best business models in the crypto space.
  • Institutions grew: Initially, crypto just attracted the retail investors with most institutions adopting a wait-and-see strategy. However, with more developments coming up in the space, an ever-increasing number of institutions is coming on board.
  • Stablecoin adoption increased: These tokens came in as an answer to the high volatility associated with cryptocurrency. Many companies like Facebook and central banks like the People’s Bank of China are striving to introduce stablecoins in 2020.

With all these developments coming in, it appears that the crypto industry is set to have another great decade ahead.