Leading digital currency company Coinbase has announced that it will support more cryptocurrencies in 2017, in a bid to become a digital currency company not just a bitcoin company.
Brian Armstrong, co-founder and CEO at Coinbase, made the announcement in a blog post. He said that Coinbase started the process of becoming a digital currency company with the support for Ethereum.
“It’s incredibly difficult to predict the future and the digital currency industry is no exception…Rapid change seems to be the only certainty. For this reason, you’ll see Coinbase and GDAX continue to support more crypto-currencies in 2017. As the most popular retail exchange (Coinbase) and institutional exchange in the U.S. (GDAX), we want to make it easy for people to use all types of digital currencies”, he said.
Calling bitcoin as the “reserve currency of the digital currency space”, Armstrong says that bitcoin is like digital gold – an asset class that people resort to in times of trouble. However, he highlighted its drawback saying that it has not become a scalable payment network, and doubts that it will ever make this leap.
“I think an open payment network is where the greatest potential lies for digital currency to improve the world…But I’ve come to accept that Bitcoin may not fill this role, and that is ok. It is still a very valuable technology in the world as an asset class, and that is perfectly fine”, he added.
To that end, he noted that an opportunity has emerged for other protocols to fill the payment network gap, adding that Ethereum seems the most likely candidate at the moment. Armstrong said that if proof-of-stake is successful this year, it will be a major breakthrough providing a sustainable advantage. Moreover, he also noted that while ICOs show no signs of slowing down, Ethereum makes it very easy to issue new tokens. He believes that new tokens built on top of Ethereum will find all sorts of use cases, from virtual worlds to prediction markets.
Armstrong said that while bitcoin’s guaranteed scarcity makes it an attractive property from an investment point of view, Ethereum has yet to determine its inflation policy. According to him, bitcoin will continue to flourish as an asset class, while Ethereum may emerge as the preferred option for payment networks and custom tokens.
“Our goal going forward is to not play favorites, or support one digital currency more than any other, but simply to make it easy for customers to buy and sell whatever digital currencies they want. In this way, we can help support growth of the entire digital currency industry”, Armstrong concluded.