Crypto: Coinbase CEO anticipates planned NFT marketplace more akin to Instagram than eBay


Brian Armstrong, chief executive officer of crypto exchange Coinbase Global Inc., said Tuesday that the company aims to provide a social experience through its planned non-fungible token, or NFT, marketplace, making the platform more akin to Instagram than eBay. 

“Traditionally Coinbase is focused on FTs — fungible tokens — and we’re equally excited about NFTs,” Armstrong said Tuesday during the company’s third-quarter earnings call. “I think it could be as big or bigger. We don’t know.”

Coinbase COIN, +0.98% aims to launch an NFT marketplace in the next quarter or two, joining the competition with OpenSea and rival exchange FTX, which recently launched its NFT marketplace. 

“I think having people follow your favorite artists or creators, and having a bit of content that gets populated from those people you follow, that can be really powerful,” Armstrong said. “And in addition, you can go there and buy an NFT if you really like it, and showcase it in your own social profile.” 

Armstrong also said he hopes Coinbase’s planned marketplace could make NFTs easier to use.

”So just simple things like, how do you connect your wallet? You know, hopefully you don’t have to install a Chrome extension,” Armstrong said. “And if your identity and your payment methods and everything are just already connected from your Gmail account, buying could be hopefully a one-click experience.” 

Alesia Haas, chief financial officer of Coinbase, said the company’s third quarter centered on the lower volatility in the crypto market compared to the second quarter.

“Our monthly transacting users and trading volumes — and therefore transaction fee revenue — all correlate with volatility,” Haas said.

During the third quarter, Coinbase’s total revenue declined to $1.31 billion from $2.23 billion in the second quarter, while transaction revenue totaled $1.09 billion, down from $1.93 billion in the second quarter.

During the third quarter, there was no change in Coinbase’s retail transaction fee rates, according to Haas. The exchange’s blended average retail-fee rates in the third quarter were lower than that in the second quarter, as “in a low-volatility period, we see our low-dollar-volume traders become less active,” Haas said. 

Read: Coinbase stock plunges from record high after revenue suffers from crypto’s summer slowdown

Haas also said that over time the company aims to have all its revenue and expenses “be crypto-denominated.”

The exchange invested $500 million of its cash and cash equivalents into crypto, while the company also allocates 10% of its quarterly net income into crypto investments, according to Haas. 

When asked about opinions on the approval of bitcoin futures ETFs, Haas said that “while our business today is entirely spot, we do have ambitions of launching a futures-trading business in the future and apply for approval to do so in the US.”

In September, Coinbase applied with the National Futures Association to register as a futures commission merchant.

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