Brian Armstrong took to Medium to elaborate upon the Coinbase mission. The 100 person company, Armstrong notes, had grown too large for them to communicate daily with all of their employees, and therefore “we decided to craft a clear vision, mission and strategy for the company.”
While he describes the process to determine the vision, the mission and the strategy of Coinbase, Armstrong imparts the company culture “tends to look down on big meetings and ‘fake work.’” During the inquiry, Coinbase highlighted some digital currency fundamentals. Digital currencies would lead to innovation by simplifying payments.
“Payments can be frustratingly slow and expensive at times,” he writes. “Why does it take longer to wire money to Australia than to fly there? Why do U.S. bank transfers take 3 business days and not work on weekends? Why is there a 2–3% tax on almost every retail transaction in our economy (credit cards) when it is just moving bits from one data center to another?” Armstrong cites dependence upon the national market system as a hurdle.
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“It’s because each country (and payment company) is running its own proprietary system, and they don’t connect seamlessly with each other,” he states. Bitcoin-like technologies on an open protocol , Armstrong suggests, have the power to transform the world’s finances and economics.
“Among many changes, there would be an order of magnitude increase in the number payments sent per person each day, and the very definition of what a payment is could change (in the same way that more photos are taken since we all carry a high quality camera with us 24/7.),” the CEO writes.
In the Medium post, he discusses the world’s unbanked: “About ⅓ of the world lives on less than $2 per day, but 90% of them don’t have access to a bank account.” This can lead to catastrophe, he notes.
“However, nearly 100% of the developing world now has a cell phone, and by 2020 about 85% of them will have a smartphone .” That means they have the technology to access the cutting edge of payments and remittances.
“The traditional banking business model (earning interest on deposits) doesn’t work for people with very little money,” Armstrong writes. “Our belief is that digital currency on smartphones will bring financial services to many people in the developing world, and this will help level the playing field.”
Armstrong explains how they arrived at their vision:
We looked at these three themes:
- Imagine if anyone who had an idea for a product could have a global customer base from day one.
- Imagine if every payment in the world was as fast, cheap, and global as sending an email.
- Imagine if anyone with a smartphone had access to the the same financial services we enjoy in the developed world.
Coinbase wrote a statement based on this:
Bitcoin’s open and decentralized financial network will bring about more innovation, efficiency, and equality of opportunity in the world.
This is our vision of the world we want to see in ten years.
Coinbase’s mission includes “unlocking bitcoin’s potential”, “making bitcoin easy to use,” and “making bitcoin the most popular currency in the world.” Armstrong acknowledges that a large part of what Coinbase does is help “the digital currency movement grow.” He also describes this as, “providing the on and off ramps into finance 2.0” and “helping the world move to an open financial system.” With this in mind, he introduces the new Coinbase mission:
“The mission of Coinbase is to create an open financial system for the world.”
That is Coinbase’s short term vision. “Longer term there are more things we can do to help the network grow.” Coinbase also wants to remain the easiest place to buy and sell Bitcoin. That means growing Coinbase and adding as many countries and payment methods as possible. “It means building strong relationships with regulators and bank partners, and connecting to the traditional financial world (Wall St. banks, etc.).”
In its next phase, Coinbase foresees itself moving into “the next phase of adoption: apps.”
He explains: “In the future, you’ll see Coinbase build or buy other apps in the space to help drive consumer adoption.”
Featured image from Coinbase.