COIN) looks the other way from sports sponsors as it kicks off in Australia

To M: Yes, we are going to meet policy makers. At Coinbase, we are pro-regulation because we believe that having a reasonable basis for regulation will help drive mass adoption. Recent signals from the new Australian government have been quite encouraging, they seem to be pushing through some of the laws that were started by the previous government.

There’s a lot going on internationally in other jurisdictions such as the EU, so I think it’s a very good time for the Australian government to step up and provide some legal clarity, but also to protect consumers.

What do you think of the regulations that have been proposed so far?

To M: Overall we think it’s pretty good. There are more details to iron out, and it’s a rapidly changing environment, so there are new questions popping up all the time. But we are in favor of what we have seen so far.

Recently, I was speaking to a number of local crypto exchanges who were concerned about the number of international crypto exchanges setting up shop in Australia. What do you think of the local competition?

John: There is a lot of humility at Coinbase when we enter a new market. We have recently made expanding the international market a priority, and my advice to Nana and the team when they come to a place like Australia is that everyone has to win.

We have analyzed the local players very closely, but we also compare ourselves to other major global exchanges which are much more visible in this market than we have been, for example, one of them sponsors the AFL.

Coinbase has a strong governance legacy outside of the US, and when you look at consumer protection and the legacy of royal commissions in Australia, you have to be careful how you play in this market.

Coinbase is the largest crypto exchange in the United States.Credit:PA

We want to enter (Australia) with an offer that we believe is broader than what local exchanges can offer, both on the retail side and on the institutional side. We also see a fairly sophisticated population of traders here who are really starting to understand this whole space in terms of asset class.

You have already mentioned sports sponsors, is this something envisioned for Coinbase in Australia?

John: Anyone coming to Australia knows how important sport is, so we’d like to be involved in something meaningful, and we believe it will appeal both to the public and for our own purposes. In the United States, you can look at a lot of the work that we do with the NBA, and luckily basketball is incredibly important there as well. So watch this space.

There has been a lot of criticism lately from consumer groups recently comparing crypto ads to gambling ads and saying they should be regulated. Is this something that concerns you when considering sponsorships?

girl: I don’t think we take that approach. I understand the logic of your question and I think some companies have [gone too far]. But we want to stimulate cultural relevance. Sometimes it’s just about getting your brand out there and making sure you’re able to support gamers – a lot of them are creators and are very interested in the NFT and Web3 space.

We’re very excited about empowering creators, and sport is a big part of that. Every country we go to, every culture has its own passion points, and obviously in Australia the sport is huge. And I think there’s always a layer of creators underneath that fuels that consumer relevance and that particular point of passion for this country.

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John: Regarding your point about speculation and other negative connotations with the industry, we are going to stay deep and wide and invested in the ecosystem, even in an extended crypto winter period. We are not backing down on any of the initiatives in this environment where perhaps other smaller exchanges may face challenges.

Related to this, there is a bit of the idea that this crypto bear market is worse than the ones we have seen previously. There were big meltdowns, Coinbase’s own CEO had to come out and publicly declare that the company was not bankrupt. Do you think this downturn is worse than any we’ve seen in the past?

girl: Every time we have a crash, I feel like it’s worse than the previous ones. But every time the crypto winter has happened, good things have come out of it, although it is very difficult when it actually happens. There’s a consolidation happening, where people who are in the industry for the wrong reasons are pushed out.

The other thing it does is it really helps all businesses, including us by the way, to focus because in a bull market it’s really hard to focus. But I would say it certainly lines up with some of the ups and downs that we’ve had in the past. So, at least for us, that’s how we see it.

To M: What is a little different this time is that we have a crypto winter at the same time as the macro environment has become much more challenging. Crypto trades more like a tech stock now, where people thought it was, to some extent, an inflation hedge. So I think there has been a market readjustment.

I should just say from the Coinbase side, how well capitalized we are, which is a message, obviously, that Brian [Armstrong] and others have given, which may escape people.

What do you think the future holds for crypto? Will we be able to buy a cup of coffee with Bitcoin in five years?

John: I think people don’t really appreciate the longevity of stablecoins. If you’ve listened to various reserve bank governors around the world, it’s important to let the private market drive development and innovation in this space. There will be very tech-driven niches of the economy that will benefit from blockchain and crypto.

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