A recent rally pushed Bitcoin over $4,000, providing a holiday gift to investors after an almost a year-long bear market.
CNBC’s Fast Money show brought Coinbase president Asiff Hirji on-air to talk about the changing market and the outlook for cryptocurrencies in 2019.
Hirji was also asked if Coinbase’s valuation had been affected by the bear market and about the rumored IPO.
Bitcoin’s Santa Rally
Show host Melissa Lee asked Hirji about the sudden surge in Bitcoin’s price during the holiday season.
Hirji said that “it’s not surprising” that Bitcoin has bounced back.
He also said the industry had witnessed a lot of innovation in the last one year with a big increase in crypto engineers and several new projects launched.
He said that when Bitcoin was moving towards $20,000 Coinbase notified its users that sometimes price moves far beyond the fundamentals and they must think hard about whether buying at this price is right for them.
He noted that Coinbase received a lot of negative press for this at the time.
Regarding financial markets, he said that things are not always as good or as bad as they seem. And mentioned the famous Warren Buffet quote:
“Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”
Lee also asked him the reason why Coinbase has added new assets recently weeks with falling Bitcoin prices, asking whether the exchange was trying to boost trading volume.
Hirji commented that Bitcoin was the only thing that mattered three years ago, but now there are three to four thousand coins in the market. He added:
“There are probably 200 or so that matter, and you should assume that we will, over the course of time, add cryptocurrencies that matter in as many geographies as we are allowed to add them.”
He also noted that this is the start of the next great innovation in technology.
Institutions, Coinbase Valuation, and IPO
Hirji was also asked about the rise of institutional investors in the crypto markets to which he replied that institutions need a qualified custodian and a valid platform, adding that Coinbase has “the most regulated and most compliant venue on the planet and we have the only qualified custodial solution in the space.”
A healthy derivatives market could also be crucial in the mix, and Coinbase has already on-boarded hundreds of institutions to their platform.
When asked whether Coinbase’s valuation changes according to Bitcoin prices, Hirji replied by saying that none of Coinbase’s investors did so based on the short-term price of the asset.
He said they were looking at a long-term investment. Hirji stated that Coinbase is the best-leveraged bet for crypto you can find.
However, he said that Coinbase’s revenues are down just like everyone else in the business due to lower trading volumes.
He also said that the company is a long way from an IPO and is currently focused only on building a great business.