Coinbase President on Crypto: ‘Be Greedy When Others Are Fearful’

On Thursday (20 December 2018), Asiff Hirji, President and Chief Operating Officer at crypto exchange Coinbase, talked about what some are calling Bitcoin's "Santa Claus Rally" (with the Bitcoin price up over 22% in the past week).

Hirji's comments came during an interview with CNBC's "Fast Money" show, which his hosted by "Melissa Lee and a roundtable of top traders."

What Makes You Optimistic About This Latest Bitcoin Price Rally?

"Yeah, look, if you remember about this time last year, when Bitcoin was up near $20,000, we had put out something at that time saying 'hey, sometimes things can get ahead of fundamentals', effectively reminding people to take really a hard look and see if this is right for them or not, and asking them to be careful. And we got a lot of negative process for doing that, but you recall we did that. And I think it's the old adage of 'things are never as good as they seem, neither are they ever as bad as they seem'. And to quote Buffett, 'be greedy when others are fearful, and be fearful when others are greedy'. So, I think that it's not surprising to me that we've had a bit of a bounce back. I think the amount of innovation that's happened in cryptocurrency over the last year has exceeded everything in all the years before it. And if you just look at the number of engineers who are going to cryptocurrencies and the number of actual projects that are being launched, we've never had as much innovation as we have today."

Are You Just Trying to Juice Up Trading Volume by Offering More Digital Assets to Trade?

"I can see why people might think that. I think the reality is that three or fours ago, Bitcoin was the only thing that mattered in cryptocurrency. Then, Ethereum came along. And now we are at a point where there's probably three or four thousand cryptocurrencies out there. There are probably 200 or so that matter. And you should assume that we will, over the course of time, add all the cryptocurrencies that matter in as many geographies as we are allowed to add that. This is the start, I think, of the next great wave of innovation in technology, and you should expect to see more and more cryptocurrencies over time."

Is the Stage Set for Institutional Investment?

"Great question! Institutions need a valid venue to trade on, they need a qualified custodian to store with. And they want to make sure that there's actual liquidity. We've built a lot of liquidity. We have the best, most regulated, most compliant venue on the planet, and we have the only qualified custodian solution in the space. So, we think we've laid a lot of the infrastructure to allow institutions to start to invest in cryptocurrencies... We've actually had hundreds of institutions onboard to our custodian."

Featured Image Courtesy of Coinbase