Coinbase, Genesis Highlight Massive Institutional Growth at MicroStrategy Conference

More retailers are interested in NFTs, and that can lead them to hold more crypto in their treasuries, says Coinbase Institutional's chief.

Feb 2, 2022 at 7:35 p.m. UTC
Updated Feb 2, 2022 at 8:59 p.m. UTC

Stephen Alpher is CoinDesk's co-regional news chief, Americas. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk’s disclosure threshold of $1,000.

Institutions now make up 50% of Coinbase's business, up from 10% three years ago, the head of Coinbase Institutional said Wednesday during MicroStrategy's Bitcoin for Corporations conference.

Brett Tejpaul told MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor that increase in business has prompted an increase in the institutional group's size, from about a dozen people to 150. Institutions need to know they can transact their business in large volume, and that will be even more important in coming years, he added.

A far more recent emerging theme, he said, is retailers interested in non-fungible tokens (NFT). This may lead these companies into holding bitcoin in their treasuries, once they are comfortable with the concept, and then accept customer payments in crypto, said Tejpaul.

Tejpaul also noted institutions are getting comfortable holding stablecoins, from roughly $10 billion three years ago to $150 billion today. Stablecoins keep institutions in the cryptocurrency ecosystem during those times when they’re not comfortable holding bitcoin, he added, noting there was a marked increase in stablecoin usage at the same time as bitcoin’s plunge during December and January.

Michael Moro, CEO of digital prime brokerage Genesis, told Saylor his company’s derivatives business is about eight times larger than a year ago, with borrowing against bitcoin and borrowing to buy bitcoin also showing strong growth. He also agreed with Saylor there has been an “avalanche of hedge funds” entering the bitcoin space over the past year.

Genesis is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, CoinDesk's parent company.

UPDATE (Feb. 2 20:25): Corrects spelling of Brett Tejpaul's name.


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Stephen Alpher is CoinDesk's co-regional news chief, Americas. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk’s disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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Stephen Alpher is CoinDesk's co-regional news chief, Americas. He holds BTC and ETH above CoinDesk’s disclosure threshold of $1,000.

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