The CEO of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, recently announced that his company’s custodian service now manages at least $1 billion in crypto assets. He was speaking in an onstage discussion at the Consensus 2019 event on Wednesday. The company has reached a milestone development for the management of large capital investors and institutional investors.
The comments were first reported on May 15 as part of an on-stage discussion recorded during the event. Armstrong said that the $1 billion in assets under management (AUM) was accrued within 12 months after launch. When asked about the status of institutional involvement in the crypto industry, Armstrong said:
“We launched our custody 12 months ago, we’ve just crossed $1 billion AUM or institutions, 70 institutions have signed up, adding about $150 million AUM a month, so, to a large degree that has been a success.”
He explained that the institutions do not want their funds to just sit idly while in custody. He explained that:
“They want to be staking and voting, doing governance on-chain,” Armstrong said. “I think that will grow rapidly.”
Bitcoin Still on Top
Armstrong said that the most popular asset among the institutional investors still remains as Bitcoin. But the interest for other virtual currencies is growing. Coinbase today offers services for 30 altcoins for institutions which includes staking-as-a-service for some. The company is diversifying and expanding its coverage across the world.
As we announced earlier, Coinbase deepened its stablecoins trading support expanding USDC to 85 countries. Furthermore, the company has already launched crypto-to-crypto trading services in 50 additional countries. Consequently, Coinbase has a presence in a total of 103 jurisdictions today. According to the company, stablecoins could become a viable solution for protection against inflation. It will be functional in those countries where consumer prices may inflate by 10–20% in 2020.
Armstrong and Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures partner, acknowledged that the institutions involved in cryptocurrency are not just the big, traditional players like BlackRock. Wilson stated:
“The token funds and venture funds will make up the first two big institutional funds. For them [traditional institutions] to take their chips and go all in, I don’t see that in the next year or two.”
Wilson also added that:
“When people read in the Wall Street Journal that institutions are coming to crypto they think Goldman is coming, but in reality, maybe 100 token funds in the U.S. and 100 in Asia are all in so far.”
The Coinbase trading platform designed for more advanced traders, Coinbase Pro, has seen considerable institutional involvement too. Currently, the platform has over 60% of its total trading volume coming from institutions.
Although it is so far a success, Coinbase’s end goal does not stop at the company being the sole custodian of user funds. Armstrong dreams about users taking an active role in the custodial process. The company is also interested in the development of a self-custody solution. For that reason, it is discussing the development idea with Israeli-based startup StarkWare.
“I would love to be in a world where people could self-custody … and still participate in exchanges, we’re talking to people at StarkWare about that,” Armstrong added.