$1.4 Trillion in Bitcoin (BTC) Transacted Last Year, $15,000 Average TX Size, Fintech Entrepreneur Reveals

Catherine Wood, the founder and CEO of ARK Investment Management, a New York-based firm focused on “thematic investing” such as “Industrial Innovation” and the ”Next Generation Internet,” has argued that Bitcoin (BTC) should be a part of every portfolio.

There's "A Void In Research" When It Comes To Disruptive Technology

Wood, an economics and finance graduate from the University of Southern California, also noted that she founded ARK Invest in order to focus on “disruptive innovation” as she believes it’s “a void in research.” She added that “the appetite for this kind of research is much greater with the retail investor than the institutional investors … and we’re trying to change that.”

Her comments came during a recent interview on Anthony Pompliano’s podcast “Off the Chain” in which she revealed that some of the world’s top platforms (according to her research) will be built around “DNA sequencing.” Wood believes private firms and organizations are “going to bring real science into healthcare decision-making” which will help cure many diseases.

She also thinks the emerging Robotics industry including 3D printing will drive the next wave innovation and potentially introduce other paradigm-changing technologies. Additionally, Wood said energy storage solutions will make a significant impact on the future economy as entrepreneurs like Elon Musk have really helped in reducing the costs associated with developing and utilizing battery technology.

Nearly Impossible To Use The Traditional Financial System

Because of groundbreaking research led by Elon Musk, “by the early 2020s, the average electric vehicle will be cheaper than a gas-powered vehicle,” Wood revealed. Notably, she also predicted that blockchain technology will revolutionize how traditional business processes are managed and conducted. Commenting on the potential impact of distributed ledger technology (DLT), Wood remarked:

Blockchain represents such a profound change [from the way we’re doing things now] that people just do not understand … Last year, there were $1.4 trillion in transactions over the Bitcoin blockchain. The average size of the transaction was $15,000.

Unlike many other analysts who claim that cryptocurrencies are primarily used to finance illicit activities, Wood said in her interview that there are many other easier ways to conduct illegal transactions (although she did not specify what these were). Going on to elaborate on the inefficiencies in the traditional financial system, she noted:

It’s [nearly] impossible to convert from one traditional currency to the other. You have to go through the USD … [pay] up to 25% in commission fees. This is a huge unmet need. No financial infrastructure … You’ve got PayPal at half of that (there are also Venmo, Apple Pay).

Wood also pointed out that “Visa is not even an order of magnitude greater” when compared to the number of transactions it has processed to those settled on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Coinbase Commerce Now Lets Merchants Accept USD Coin (USDC)

On Monday (May 20), Coinbase announced that "Coinbase Commerce", which provides non-custodial cryptocurrency payment solutions, now allows businesses to accept fully dollar-collateralized stablecoin USDC.

History of USDC

As CryptoGlobe reported on 26 September 2018, "USDC Coin" (USDC for short) was launched on that day by Goldman-funded FinTech startup Circle Internet Financial (better known as "Circle"). This is a regulated fully-collateralized dollar-backed stablecoin that was originally announced on 16 May 2018. USDC is based on an open source fiat stablecoin framework developed and governed by the CENTRE project.

Circle said at the time that the problems with existing fiat-backed solutions (such as Tether's USDT) were that they "have lacked financial and operational transparency, have operated in unregulated jurisdictions with unknown banking and audit partners, and have been built as closed-loop ecosystems and closed proprietary technologies."

In contrast, Circle's USDC stablecoin deals with these issues by "providing detailed financial and operational transparency" and "operating within the regulated framework of US money transmission laws, reinforced by established banking partners and auditors." USDC tokens are ERC-20 compatible (meaning that they run on the Ethereum blockchain); they are minted, issued, and burnt/redeemed based on network rules defined by CENTRE. 

Coinbase's Previous Involvement With USDC

On 23 October 2018, Circle announced that Coinbase (another member of the CENTRE consortium) was making USDC available to its customers on Coinbase Consumer and Coinbase Pro, and that customers could "tokenize dollars into USDC and redeem USDC into dollars through both Circle and Coinbase."

Then, on May 14, Coinbase said via a blog post titled "Expanding USDC crypto trading globally" that:

  • It was making USDC trading available on Coinbase Consumer and Coinbase Pro in 85 countries.

  • It was doing this to help "accelerate the global adoption of crypto trading" and to provide wider access to "a stable store of value."

  • There are more than 300 million USDC tokens currently in circulation today, and that USDC is supported by 100+ ecosystem partners.

  • Stablecoins "have the potential to materially improve the lives of people in countries where inflation is eroding wealth." 

  • Coinbase serves customers in 103 jurisdictions.

Coinbase Commerce and USDC

Coinbase Commerce was launched on 14 February 2018. Coinbase described Coinbase Commerce as a new service that "enables merchants to accept multiple cryptocurrencies directly into a user-controlled wallet," and that in contrast to its previous merchant products, it was "not a hosted service, so merchants have full control of their own digital currency." Four cryptocurrencies were supported back then: Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC).

Coinbase Commerce can be "directly integrated into a merchant’s checkout flow or added as a payment option on an e-commerce platform." Initially, the only e-commerce platform supported was Shopify, but on 6 August 2018, support for WooCommerce was added.

Yesterday's blog post said that now Coinbase Commerce has added support for stablecoin USDC, thereby allowing "businesses to accept payments online in the same way they’re able to accept cash in-store." 

Here are a few things to note about Coinbase Commerce:

  • "Coinbase Commerce doesn’t charge any fees to process payments."
  • "Coinbase Commerce accounts are completely separate from Coinbase accounts."
  • "You can use the withdraw functionality to send cryptocurrency to an address associated with your Coinbase account."

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