In brief

  • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong compared the crypto industry to the birth of the Internet.
  • Armstrong spoke as Coinbase prepared for its direct listing on the Nasdaq.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said that the crypto industry will create a wave of new companies in much the same way that the Internet did, in an interview with CNBC. He argued that this innovation will benefit countries that embrace this nascent technology.

Armstrong explained that when the Internet came out, many governments were wary about how it would evolve and whether they would still be able to control the flow of information. He acknowledged that some countries, such as China, went so far as to try to control the Internet as much as possible.

“But most places in the free world embraced the Internet, after some trepidation, and it turned out to be a really huge advantage for the country because of all the new companies that got created there, some of the largest companies in the world now,” Armstrong said.


“The same thing’s going to happen to cryptocurrency,” he added.

Coinbase CEO: The US should have a CBDC

The Coinbase CEO made his comments in a discussion about whether countries will start to develop their own versions of cryptocurrencies, known as central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

He said that it’s likely many of them will, and argued that the U.S. should have its own CBDC based on the dollar. “In fact, every major country is probably going to have a central bank digital currency in the near future is my prediction,” he said.

Armstrong added that Coinbase is happy to help governments around the world create digital currencies, if they so wish.


But could this threaten the rough and ready crypto industry?

Not so, Armstrong said, arguing that the crypto economy will be seen as “a complementary thing to the traditional economy.” He added that, “governments that embrace it are going to stand to benefit from it enormously, along with all their citizens.”

Coinbase’s direct listing

Armstrong’s comments come as Coinbase goes public in an historic direct listing on the Nasdaq, the first major cryptocurrency business to do so. It’s a watershed moment for the crypto industry, with a number of other companies watching closely as they mull their own listings.

It’s one of the biggest tech offerings in recent years, with predicted valuations reaching as high as $100 billion based on early private transactions. Coinbase’s stock, trading under the ticker COIN, is set to go live at a reference price of $250.

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