(audience clapping) – Good evening, everyone My name is Brian Armstrong, I'm the Co-Founder and CEO of Coinbase, and I wanna tell you a little bit about what we're all about as a company

Where we're going in the next 10 years and how we're gonna actually get there So we call that our mission, vision and strategy And I'm gonna start off by just telling you a story So when I was in college, I started a company with my roommate It was a tutoring company, we got a bank account set up, we started to have some money flowing through it, and one day I got a call from the bank, and it started asking me all these scary questions

Are you an aggregator of funds? Are you a high risk merchant? Do you have business policy and procedure in place? And do you have this license? And I was kinda taken aback, I mean I almost felt like I was being treated like a criminal or something I felt like I was trying to do something good for the world, and suddenly I was facing this inquisition of questions Fast forward a few years later, I was a software engineer at Airbnb, we were moving money to 190 countries all over the world, and this is a photo of Cuba, of Havana One day somebody came and they tapped me on the shoulder, and they said, we need to turn off all the listings of Cuba And I was kind of upset about that because these were people who had opened their homes to strangers from all over the world

And there was this rule, this regulation, that US companies, we couldn't do business with them, and we had to turn them all off and affect their livelihood So throughout my life, you know, this was just two small examples, but there were many literal examples like this Whether it was something got messed up on my credit score, or I was trying to, you know, I had a bank overdraft fee, or I was trying to send money somewhere and my credit card got declined I always had this visceral sense that there was something really broken and kind of inefficient about the financial system And it seems just kind of like it wasn't keeping up with the rest of the world in terms of improving

It seemed like it was holding back innovation and people were trying to do good things in the world And so in 2010, I was home with my family for Thanksgiving, I was having kind of an introvert moment where I just went off to my room to get away from everybody in my family for a little bit of alone time And I started reading on the internet, I came across this paper, the Bitcoin whitepaper by Satoshi Nakamoto And this spark kind of went off in my head, I was like, wow, this seems really important Like I didn't even really fully understand it the first time I read it

But it was talking about how the world could have something kind of like the internet, that was decentralized and global, but instead of for moving information around, it was for moving value around and money around And I got really excited because I felt like this might be part of the solution to make a financial system that was more fair and more efficient and open to everybody And so I kind of couldn't stop thinking about Bitcoin for about a year and I went to all these meetups in San Francisco, and I finally started coding a prototype on nights and weekends, which eventually ended up becoming Coinbase This was a slide from our seed deck, our seed roundup pitch deck And tonight, you know, this is sort of the origin story of Coinbase, I wanna tell you, just give you an update about our thinking, this is actually one of the first time we've shared this with an external audience

We're gonna talk about just what we wanna create in the world with this company, how we're actually gonna get there, what are all the steps through these three sections Okay, so I wanna introduce you to this term economic freedom Economic freedom is something that a bunch of organizations out there, they try to measure about all the countries in the world And they kind of rank them and they score them And economic freedom measures a whole bunch of things

One of them is property rights, which is this idea that if you own something, can it be taken away from you without your permission? It also looks at how easy it is to send money and goods and services internationally It checks, you know, if you wanna start a business, is there a lot of bureaucracy, a paperwork, or do you have to bribe somebody to get a license or something like that or can you just do it in a few days? It also looks at the inflation rate in countries Some of you might have seen countries like Venezuela going through hyper inflation and people's wealth, especially the poorest people, tends to be eroded by inflation It checks, if you wanna start a business or work at a business, how able to do that are you? And it even looks at things like corruption, you know, are people having to pay bribes to get things done? And so economic freedom is this really broad term People tend to think of it as it's sort of a measure of can you make money or what's the growth rate of the economy? And that's part of it but it actually affects all sorts of things in these countries

And it's positively correlated with some things that you maybe wouldn't think of, like the income of the poorest people, or how well the environment is treated Even self reported happiness, right? And it's negatively correlated with these things that we don't want less of like corruption and even war So you can see economic freedom in these countries You know, again, here's Cuba This was 60 years ago, and here it is in modern day

And it looks relatively the same But by contrast, if you look at a country like Singapore, one of the highest economic freedom countries, 60 years ago it was this swamp land, and now it's this bustling metropolis And you can even see economic freedom from out of space So this is North and South Korea You know, these two places have roughly the same natural resources and geography and everything, but it's just their difference in economic policies have created these dramatically different outcomes

And so economic freedom is getting better in the world, very slowly So over the last 25 years or so, it's gone up about three percentage points by this metric But the vision for Coinbase is that we can actually bend this curve and materially change the economic freedom of the entire world by what we're gonna build And that's what we're gonna talk about next So that's really the vision for Coinbase, is creating more economic freedom for every person in business in the world over the next 10 years

All right, so what are we gonna do to actually make that happen? Well what we're gonna do is create what we call the open financial system Which just means that we're gonna use cryptocurrency and the smartphone revolution, things like that, to actually inject economic freedom into these countries all over the world And it might not be immediately obvious to people, I know it wasn't for me Why does cryptocurrency actually enable more economic freedom in the world? And if you go back to those things I mentioned in the beginning, some of the things that economic freedom measures, you know, if you look at property rights, well cryptocurrency actually is a great way to give people wealth that can't be taken away from them There's user controlled wallets, even these things called brain wallets, and even if you use the hosted wallets on Coinbase, oftentimes people still have much better property rights than they do in their home countries

In terms of free trade, well cryptocurrency is inherently global, it works everywhere in the world In terms of easier ways to start a business, cryptocurrency is democratizing the way that companies raise money and you can accept payments globally from day one Cryptocurrency is now even helping fight inflation So Stablecoins are being sent into places like Venezuela And people are able to start the companies that they wanna start and work at them with Smart contracts

Even corruption is being affected by cryptocurrency because there's also organizations where you wanna have the entire thing be done out in the open, on public ledger So that anybody can audit it, see where every payment is going So cryptocurrency is a huge enabler of economic freedom and it's also this other trend that's happening, which is the growth of smartphones So increasingly, even the poorest people in the world have access to the internet and smartphones and they can now have a bank in their pocket That's really the opportunity

That's the secret that Coinbase is founded on, the belief that right now at this moment in history, because cryptocurrency got invented and everybody in the world can have access to a smartphone, we can inject economic freedom really into all these countries around the world So that's what we're actually building, to make this vision a reality We're gonna help create that open financial system for the world And I just wanna go through the strategy now Let's break that down, that's a pretty high level goal

There's really a few ways that we're gonna make that happen So if you wanna create a new economy, an alternative economy that is more fair, is more free, is more efficient, it's open to everybody, the first thing you need to do is just help millions and millions of people in the world get access to cryptocurrency and just store it securely And then we need to start to be able to enable people to use it and also to earn it Because not everybody has disposable income to actually invest in cryptocurrency They might need to earn it by doing a job or completing a task

And lastly, we need a thousand companies to get built, that start to accept cryptocurrency and use it, for a true economy to be built Because an economy is made up of thousands and millions of participants, not just one company like Coinbase And so this ties into the three pillars of our strategy, which we call Enable Crypto Investing, Connect to Cryptoeconomy, and then Grow the Cryptoeconomy So I'm gonna touch on each of these just briefly All right, so Enable Crypto Investing

Still today, the primary way that people get into cryptocurrency, and many of you nodding, this is probably true for you, is someone told you about it and you decide to buy a little bit as an investment And so most of the money in the world is tied up in fiat currencies and one of our major roles at Coinbase is we're providing this very reliable trusted safe bridge between this original financial system and the cryptoeconomy so that a lot of the wealth that's tied up in the world can move into cryptocurrency So that means we're a brokerage, we're an exchange, we're a custodian; those are three of the business' products that we've built that have done really well Those are kind of like the foundation for this economy, necessary infrastructure, if you will And to make those successful over the coming three, five and 10 years, we have a lot of work to do

I mean we need to keep adding more and more assets to the platforms that our customers wanna trade, there's gonna be millions of these tokens out there, as companies start to issue them to raise money and all kinds of things We need to keep launching our products in more and more countries So we're in about 100 countries today but not with full functionality; and every country in the world needs reliable bridge between fiat and crypto We also just need to keep making cryptocurrency apps easier to use It's still way too complicated if we're gonna get to be a billion people using cryptocurrency

These little concepts like, you know, private key or you're sending to an address We need to keep making these easier and easier So this is the first step, enabling crypto investing You know, investing is really a solo activity People buy and they come back and they check their balance a couple of times a month or they might trade a little bit more

But an economy is not just about one person or each of these people in a silo You need to start to connect them together And that's what we mean by this second phase It's actually taking a variety of products and services that Coinbase offers and beginning to connect them into that primary account, where so many people today are holding their cryptocurrency So we call this kind of an economic graph, sort of like a social graph, but instead of there being people, who are sending messages and likes and things like that, there's people in companies and the edges between them are you know, things like Send and Receive, Buy and Sell

And we're adding new economic actions all the time like Borrow and Lend, or Spend and Pay So we've launched some products that helped this start to happen One of them is called Coinbase Earn, it allows people to actually earn cryptocurrency by completing small tasks Maybe in the future, even getting a job that pays in cryptocurrency And we also launched something called Staking which is a way for people to earn more cryptocurrency on their assets

With Coinbase Commerce, we've started to enable spending of crypto, whether it's at a point of sale here or it's online We even launched a Coinbase debit card in the UK So we're using that to kind of help people spend the crypto in their primary account And you know, in Coinbase Pro, we've enabled people to start to borrow and lend, or we will in the near future, which is another important action in any economy, you want people to be able to borrow and invest that way So connecting a cryptoeconomy is really about taking our suite of products, commerce and earn and things like that, and beginning to connect them into that primary account where 30 million people have signed up to hold their cryptocurrency with us

Okay, so the last pillar in this strategy is about growing the cryptoeconomy in total And this idea is really that Coinbase can't do it alone There needs to be thousands of companies out there and it's almost like when the internet first got started, you know, there was some traditional companies that tried to make their way into the internet, with varying degrees of success But there was also this whole new crop of companies that were internet native, like the dot coms, or is what they used to be called Now it's almost every company in Silicon Valley is built on the internet

And the same thing is already happening with cryptocurrency We're seeing a whole new wave of startups that are built that are crypto-native You know, they raised money with crypto, they're accepting crypto as maybe even the only form of payment that they accept And so part of growing a cryptoeconomy is investing, like I said With Coinbase Ventures, we've now invested in about 50 or 60 of these companies

But we actually are gonna enable an entirely new ways of fundraising There's things like security tokens are being created, and initial exchange offerings, which is a way for new companies to raise money in cryptocurrency We're also surfacing these 3rd party apps and companies We're beginning to surface them into our products So here's a screenshot of Coinbase Wallet, and you can browse to the DApp screen

A DApp is a decentralized app And one of the most popular apps that is this app called Compound So we're beginning to give people the ability to access any sort of application or company out there in the cryptoeconomy Especially ones that we didn't create And lastly, we're gonna build this infrastructure, decentralized infrastructure, in a few ways

One is, this is a screenshot here, sort of a mockup of what decentralized identity might look like Which is a really interesting topic It's a way for people to control their own data, an identity in the cryptoeconomy And we may even start to make available some of our internal APIs Almost like AWS for crypto, to the external world, to help those companies, those startups, build on the infrastructure that we use to build our own products internally

So these are the three pillars in our strategy You can see that each of our products actually fits into one of these pillars today We're doing a lot of things And even there in the bottom right, GiveCryptoorg, is a nonprofit that we created which is helping grow the cryptoeconomy

You know there's going to be a lot of companies in the cryptoeconomy and I just wanna touch on what I think we can do different and really contribute to this So the first thing is that Coinbase has built a brand around trust We've had 30 million people signed up that trust us to store their cryptocurrency We're the largest custodian out there And by really focusing on compliance from an early day, that enabled us to get these bank partnerships and the bridge into the traditional financial system

And we focused a lot on cybersecurity too You've probably heard about all the challenges out there with crypto companies facing cybersecurity incidence I think we've become the best in the world at that, and so people really trust us The second one is about a real focus on usability and quality And so as I mentioned earlier, cryptocurrency can be pretty intimidating and pretty difficult to use

And our goal is to get, you know, the next 100 million or more people to start to use cryptocurrency, it's gotta be way simpler And so I think we could go even much further than that, but we've probably built the best brand for that today And lastly, people come to Coinbase because there's a whole bunch of products that they might wanna use and they actually all work together pretty well And so we start to leverage our distribution between our products in a way that I think is really powerful So this is our vision, our mission, our strategy, it's what we're all about as a company, what we're trying to create in a world, and how we're gonna get there

And I guess I just wanna wrap up by saying that we are just at the very beginning of this journey So yes, we've got 30 million people who signed up and have gotten a little bit of cryptocurrency with us, that's amazing But our vision is to have a billion people in say five to 10 years accessing an open financial system through our products every day And when we've done that, we will have materially changed the economic freedom of the world and we'll have bent the shape of that curve So that's the vision that we're trying to create and hopefully you all found it helpful

Thank you (audience clapping)