- Brian Armstrong says he remains bullish on crypto regardless of whatever crisis the industry faces;
- Armstrong believes in crypto regulation and sees crypto as a liberator;
- Doesn’t see Coinbase going the way of FTX,
- The Coinbase boss projects huge losses for his company this year.
Despite the fiasco going on in the crypto space today; billions of dollars getting liquidated every other day, crypto valuations barely scraping by, and trading volume at record lows—Coinbase founder and CEO Brian Armstrong recently reaffirmed his confidence in the crypto market, saying he’s “just as bullish on crypto as ever.”
Brian Armstrong’s Financial Times Interview
Brian Armstrong made the bold comments in a one-on-one interview with Hannah Murphy of the Financial Times on November 18, less than two weeks after the FTX collapse that scarred the market permanently. The 39-year-old crypto billionaire also noted that his company looks grossly undervalued after the stock (NASDAQ: COIN) slumped amid the harsh crypto winter.
Image Source: TradingView | COIN Daily Chart
Expressing his optimism for the future of the crypto industry, Armstrong said, “I’m glad that we’re helping the market kind of understand crypto cycles better… because that’s kind of been our history as a company, [that] we want to blaze a trail, legitimize the whole industry. We don’t mind being misunderstood or questioned for a few years. We’re playing this for the long term.”
Meanwhile, Armstrong is a firm believer in crypto regulation. He noted that the long-running debate over Bitcoin and crypto regulation being held by lawmakers in the US is a good development and will only make the top crypto companies, such as Coinbase, even better.
The Coinbase boss further narrated that despite the FTX fallout-induced market crisis, he plans to remain a vocal advocate for the crypto industry on Capitol Hill, adding that he sees more legislation targeted at the industry in the coming years. Armstrong explained that regulation around stablecoins, centralized exchanges, and custodians, as well as a better definition of what constitutes commodities and securities, will be the main focus of regulators. He said:
“There’s still probably 20%, I would say, of Congress where they’re either just very hostile to it (cryptocurrency) or are just ignorant of it, but it’s not the majority view at this point.”
Armstrong added: “We can hopefully get something there in the US and then go for the rest of the G20 as well.”
Armstrong Expresses Bullishness for Crypto, Lauds Coinbase
Speaking on the FTX collapse, Armstrong described FTX’s former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried as “one bad actor,” urging spectators not to judge the industry by this. Taking a second to brag about his company, he said that the events that transpired at FTX could “never happen” at Coinbase. Armstrong said in a previous interview that the FTX collapse was a result of “massive fraud” and mismanagement, or accounting slips, as some FTX defenders have described it.
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He also noted that one of the primary advantages of cryptocurrency is that it does not require you to rely on external (third) parties to get things done. The Coinbase CEO likened the law of cryptocurrency to “the laws of math, if you will, rather than the laws of men.” He added: “Can’t be evil is used instead of don’t be evil. That is what cryptocurrency promises.”
Speaking on blockchain technology, Armstrong believes it will introduce the necessary economic liberation across the world. He added that with blockchain technology, people can store their assets in such a secure way that they could never be taken from them.
Further expressing his views on crypto, Armstrong said his bullishness in crypto is because it offers solutions that cannot be found in the traditional financial system. He said it was significantly more difficult to move funds across the globe before the invention of Bitcoin and the broader crypto ecosystem. He claims the traditional financial system reached a point where innovation had died until Bitcoin came into the picture.
Image Source: Zigurat
While crypto has garnered notable adoption in recent years, the Coinbase boss argues that there’s still a lot to be done in this regard.
Expressing his disappointment with the crypto market’s reaction to ballooning inflation this year, he said:
“I thought that in a high inflation environment, people might use bitcoin more, like in the way you do with gold. I think it turns out we were a little bit early for that.”
Armstrong Projects Revenue Halving in 2022 for Coinbase
Every major actor in the crypto space has suffered to some extent from the fallout of FTX. For one, Armstrong said earlier in December that he expects revenue for Coinbase to fall by as much as 50% because of the FTX collapse, which he believes has affected investors’ confidence.
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As of the time of writing, Coinbase shares have collapsed by exactly 84.25 percent year-to-date (YTD) as the price scrapes inches away from its all-time low of $34.71. Speaking in an interview on the “David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations” show on Bloomberg, Armstrong said:
“Last year, in 2021, we did about $7 billion of revenue and about $4 billion of positive EBITDA, and this year, with everything coming down, it’s looking, you know, about roughly half that or less.”
Additionally, a Coinbase spokesperson further revealed that the company expects the revenue for 2022 to be less than half of that of 2021.
Coinbase previously put its projected 2022 loss at over $500 million based on adjusted EBITDA. That said, Armstrong’s revenue estimates are in line with the $3.2 billion forecasted by analysts.
While Armstrong has condemned the actions of Bankman-Fried, the distrust for centralized crypto exchanges such as Coinbase is rife and could lead to more meltdowns in the near future. Also, Armstrong’s bullishness in crypto in the face of all that is happening appears to be rubbing some in the wrong way. Coinbase and Brian Armstrong will have to do all in their power to survive the coming months and not go the way of FTX.