The recent market rally has pushed the Bitcoin above $4,000 level, ending a year-long painful fall for the digital coin. Now to know how 2019 will fair for the Bitcoin, or for that matter, the overall cryptocurrency market, CNBC brought the president of Coinbase, Asiff Hirji, on-air for its Fast Money show. Hirji was asked questions about a range of issues including Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, change in the valuation of Coinbase and company’s rumored plan to bring an IPO. Here’s how he responded.
When asked what he thinks about the recent surge in the Bitcoin prices, Hirji replied that it’s not surprising that the Bitcoin has made a comeback. He emphasized on the point that crypto industry has gone through a lot of innovations in the last year with a considerable increase in the number of new projects and engineers joining the stream. Hirji also said that during the last year when Bitcoin was approaching highish $20,000, Coinbase cautioned the investors and advised them to think hard whether to purchase Bitcoin at such a high price. He said that the users were notified about the fact that many times the prices of the currency surge abnormally high and one should exercise restraint in such circumstances. He also recalled severe criticism the company faced back then for its advice to the customers.
In response to the financial market query, Hirji replied that things keep on changing and nothing remains as good or as bad as they appear to be. To put things in perspective, he also quoted one of the famous sayings of Warren Buffett, “one needs to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”
Trading platform, Business, and volumes
Hirji was also questioned about Coinbase strategy of adding new assets to its trading list recently and whether it has to do something with the falling Bitcoin prices and the company’s intention to boost trade volumes. To this, Hijri replied by throwing light on some facts and figures. Three years ago, Hirji commented, Bitcoin was the only thing that mattered in the cryptocurrency market, but now there are around three to four thousand coins. He said that the company would keep on adding new currencies which matter for the customer in as many countries as they can cover legitimately. The top echelon noted that these new additions are also part of the new technological innovations that industry has started witnessing of late.
Institutional Investors and IPO
When asked about the increased interest of institutional investors in the cryptocurrencies, Hirji replied that it is natural for the institutions to look out for a valid platform and strong custodian for their investment. He added that Coinbase is the most compliant and regulated trading platform when it comes to the digital currency and his company is the only one to have a strong custodial solution for institutional investors. He also revealed that the company is quite aware of the importance of the derivative market and has already on-boarded a significant number of institutions on its platform.
When confronted with the question that whether the valuation of Coinbase changes according to the change in the prices of Bitcoin, Hirji replied in the negative and said none of its investors is looking for short-range price gains. In fact, most of the investors on Coinbase, according to Hirji, are looking at the long-term investment prospects. He, however, accepted that like other players in the market, the revenue of Coinbase has also taken a hit because of the decrease in trading volume. When asked about whether Coinbase is soon coming out with IPO, Hirji replied that there is no immediate proposal to bring an IPO and the company is currently focused on building a great platform to increase its trading volume.