Coinbase has closed an industry-record $100 million USD funding deal, after what it called a year of “unprecedented growth”. CEO Brian Armstrong said digital currencies and blockchain technology are now at their “Netscape moment”.
Coinbase to Expand Team, Invest More in Ethereum Browser
The round is possibly the largest single funding injection for a company in the cryptocurrency and open blockchain space. It was led by high profile technology investor IVP, with participation from Spark Capital, Greylock Partners, Battery Ventures, Section 32 and Draper Associates.
Coinbase said it will use the money to open a new GDAX exchange office in New York City. It will also invest further in its Toshi browser project for Ethereum-based apps, and increase the size of the company’s engineering and customer support teams.
“This represents a major milestone for our mission to create an open financial system for the world,” CEO Brian Armstrong posted on the company blog.
The $100 million would begin phase three of Coinbase’s “secret master plan” to build the digital economy, he added. This involves building more user-friendly customer interfaces for digital currency apps, to reach over 100 million people. It appears to refer primarily to the Toshi interface for Ethereum.
Armstrong: Turning Point for Digital Currencies and Blockchain
Armstrong said digital currencies are having their “Netscape moment”. For those not old enough to remember, that refers to the release of the Netscape web browser in 1994, which suddenly made the Internet accessible to the masses.
Though Internet infrastructure had already existed for years, it took Netscape and other similar projects to help people understand what benefits the technology could bring.
Investor IVP is a major Silicon Valley venture capital firm, specializing in later-stage funding. It has backed well-known technology firms including Netflix, Dropbox, GitHub, Twitter, and Snap.
If the amount of money pouring directly into bitcoin and other digital currencies is a sign, Armstrong could be right. However most of that money is simply buying and trading the tokens themselves. The industry still has some way to go to make blockchain useful (or even indispensible) to ordinary people.
Will Coinbase’s latest raise have a big impact? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images via Coinbase, YouTube