With 20 million user accounts this year, Coinbase serves as many customers as Fidelity Investments. Headquartered in San Fransisco, the digital exchange giant currently operates in 190 countries and boasts $1 billion of revenue, all achieved in the six years since its inception.
Spreading Itself Thick
As Coinbase serves minor individual investors all the way up to large hedge funds, it has access to a broad and diverse customer base. And it is looking to grow that even further, with an increase in capacity and team, having recently hired such high-profile employees as Rachel Horowtiz, a former high-level employee at Facebook and Twitter, as its new Vice President of Communications.
It also bought Earn.com – a site allowing people to earn digital currency by completing small “micro” tasks. The acquisition cost $100 million, but also included the hiring of Earn.com’s CEO Balaji Srinivasan – also a former venture capitalist at Andreessen Horowitz, as the new Chief Technology Officer of Coinbase.
Indeed, in their May 18th blog post, they highlighted their last 90 days’ progress:
Over the last 90 days we have:
- Increased our support team by over 150%
- Decreased our average time to first response to < 10 hours for 95% of incoming volume today.
- Because of these measures, we are able to resolve issues faster and have decreased the backlog by 95%
SEC Registration on the Cards?
Back in April, the Wall Street Journal reported that Coinbase were investigating the possibility of becoming a licensed brokerage, registering with the SEC. Indeed, it is concerns over the current regulatory environment that have seen Coinbase stand by their decision to restrict trading to four cryptos only. Certainly, an approved and established relationship with the SEC would allow them to increase this offering and therefore their customer base.
The Cost of Success
Of course, a company that is focused on crypto has to ride the waves. There is no doubt that Coinbase and other exchanges will have suffered major hits after Bitcoin dropped from $20,000 to less than half that value, where it still sits today. And Coinbase suffered another hit when it misinformed its customers over the scheduled release of Bitcoin Cash on its site.
However, it remains one of the world’s largest exchanges, and is beefing up just in time for the major competition – partly in the form of the Jack Dorsey-owned Square – to arrive to take them on.