Brian Armstrong, founder and CEO of Coinbase, once famously said that he wanted to create the ‘Google’ of cryptocurrencies. It was an ambitious dream at the time, but his dream is getting more and more realistic with every passing day. Armstrong established his company six years ago when cryptocurrencies were unheard of, and, over the next few years, the company worked day and night to become the first crypto exchange to record a revenue of $1 billion.
According to the CEO, the company was signing up 50,000 new users per day when Bitcoin prices were as high as $19,000. Today, the company offers its service to 32 countries worldwide and its digital wallet is available in 190 countries. Additionally, it is considered the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S, with 20 million users and over $150 billion in trades. So, it’s clear why some experts may be concerned that this exchange might be taking an unbeatable position in the market, like Google has for web search.
Brian Armstrong has not gone unrewarded for all his work in this 6-year journey. Fortune puts him ahead of Rihanna in terms of wealth at the impressive number 20 in the top 40 under 40, making him the richest known billionaire in the crypto industry.
Every Move Looks Calculated
As the company began, it had to raise money from investors and managed to raise $217 million from companies such as Union Square Ventures, Ribbit Capital, Time Inc and even the NYSE—all of which gave the company a head start over other exchanges.
Following its impressive start, it has been improving its service and expanding its influence across the U.S and the world, and soon it may be impossible for any other exchange to catch up with it.
The San Francisco based company still has a lot to do, starting with supporting more coins on its platform, but, it seems it is already working towards this. Just last week the company announced that now its users could buy and sell Ethereum classic. This was just a month after the company announced that it was looking into adding five more altcoins to its platform: Stellar Lumens, Basic Attention Token, Cardano, Zcash, 0x. Although the company said that it was only exploring the addition of these coins, it shows its eye for expansion.
Who’s The Competition?
In the states, the main competition seems to be Robinhood, the commission-free trading app. Robinhood says it’s not interested in making any profit right now but rather wants to focus on customer base. Although it’s only available in 20 states, it has become very popular since it does not charge its users for trading, unlike Coinbase. It’s also clear that Robinhood is after Coinbase, as the company listed Ethereum classic just a day before Coinbase did the same.
Around the world, and, more specifically in the 32 countries Coinbase operates in, its biggest competitor would be Binance. This crypto exchange was founded a year ago by Changpeng Zhao in China and has quickly become a popular choice among traders. Toward the end of last year, the company went through a rocky phase as it had to move its headquarters from China to Japan following China’s ban on cryptocurrencies.
However, the company bounced from this and ended 2017 looking strong. This year the exchange has recorded some impressive numbers as it looks forward to the $1 billion mark. If anyone has the power to take away Brian Armstrong’s dream, it may be Changpeng Zhao.