In a recent interview with Bloomberg at the Players Technology Summit in San Francisco, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said that Bitcoin adoption and use is growing every year. However, he suggested that real mass adoption of Bitcoin as a payment solution is going to take time. Armstrong compared the industry’s growth with that of the internet nearly two decades ago:
"Remember that in 2001, the internet went through this crazy bubble where everybody’s expectations were way ahead of the actual value and it crashed down. But a lot of good companies got started in the trough as well – companies like Facebook, which later turned out to be a very big company. So, the same thing is happening. People’s expectations are all over the map, but I think the real-world adoption and usage is pretty steadily increasing each year.”
Armstrong also said that critics like Jamie Dimon and Warren Buffett are wrong, and observed that attitudes about digital currency have changed in recent years:
“If you go back six years, it was actually nine out of ten people I talked to were crypto skeptics. Now it’s getting harder and harder to find crypto skeptics. There probably are still some out there, but it’s becoming contrarian to be a crypto skeptic instead of the other way around. So, I think just like all new technologies when they first come out, people are skeptical – and then they start to see real-world use cases and they get a little bit more excited.”
Armstrong also said that he is bullish on the potential for more organic adoption of cryptocurrency in the next three to five years, particularly in countries going through economic crisis. He then responded to a question about cryptocurrency’s actual usage rate by acknowledging that people are not commonly using it in “brick and mortar” stores. Rather, he said, the early use cases are things like online crowdfunding, gaming, and new user-generated content sites.
“I think it will be quite some time before you cross the streets and go to Starbucks in the U.S. and pay with crypto just because the financial system in the U.S. works pretty well for most consumers. There’s a higher pain point in other areas.”