Coinbase CEO Talks Down Bitcoin Adoption

Bitcoin may be outperforming beleaguered cryptocurrency brethren – but look out below, at least for now.

Forbes reports that Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong stated that even though cryptocurrencies are seeing a bit more adoption globally, it will not be enough to underpin prices.

Said the CEO, according to Forbes: Mass adoption, in use cases where the marquee crypto is used for payments, will be a long way away.  He made his comments to Bloomberg at the Bloomberg Player’s Technology Summit in California.

“I think it will be quite some time before you cross the street to Starbucks in the U.S. and pay with crypto,” he said.

Armstrong’s predictions, of course, come as bitcoin trades at roughly $6,000, a level breached not long ago, and as much as 70 percent off highs seen at the end of last year.

The Starbucks analogy was made as the giant earlier this month said that, indeed, customers will not be able to use bitcoin or other digital currencies at the company’s eponymous stores. In the meantime, Starbucks is working with Intercontinental Exchange and Microsoft on a new digital platform that will include cryptos. But there are likely additional steps involved, as consumers would have to change cryptos into fiat and then conduct commerce.

The slow pace of adoption might be illustrated in Armstrong’s estimation that roughly 10 percent of cryptocurrencies are actually used for purchases done online. In addition, he said, bubbles and corrections proceed apace. The potential for adoption is there – as he said, “people’s expectations are all over the map, but real-world adoption has been going up.”

But barriers exist where governments will, in fact, deter that adoption across individual transactions and bank initiatives.  As an example, Armstrong offered Iran. Thus, the investors who have been early buyers into the cryptocurrency realm may see short-term pain.

Armstrong added that countries and economies where turmoil reigns will see strong adoption of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. He stated that such embrace would occur in countries such as Turkey over the next three to five years.


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Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. In the December 2019 Mobile Card App Adoption Study, PYMNTS surveyed 2,000 U.S. consumers for a reveal of the four most compelling features apps must have to engage users and drive greater adoption.