Examining the Split Reactions to the Coinbase Listing

“They used to be revolutionary,” one former user said.

By Daniel KuhnLayer 2
AccessTimeIconApr 16, 2021 at 4:34 p.m. UTCUpdated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:41 p.m. UTC
By Daniel KuhnLayer 2
AccessTimeIconApr 16, 2021 at 4:34 p.m. UTCUpdated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:41 p.m. UTC

Coinbase on Wall Street is widely seen as validating bitcoin, but a lot of bitcoiners aren't feeling validated. Why are so many hardcore bitcoiners so disgruntled?

Well, as others have pointed out, Coinbase just isn’t all that punk rock. The cypherpunk movement from which Bitcoin sprang advocated for privacy and self-empowerment in face of meddling governments and corporations. A centralized exchange – even one responsible for onboarding tens of millions of people into the revolution – is just another intermediary. (And an expensive one at that: 97% of Coinbase's revenues come from transaction fees that are above industry averages.)

This article is excerpted from The Node, CoinDesk's daily roundup of the most pivotal stories in blockchain and crypto news. You can subscribe to get the full newsletter here

“The fact that a company like Coinbase went public makes it clear that custodial solutions have product-market fit and, honestly, it’s sad,” perennial nomad and Bitcoin promoter Katie Ananina said in a direct message. If punks chant “Oy,” bitcoiners rally around “not your keys, not your coins,” a reminder that “radical ownership” only comes from taking possession of your money.

In a similar vein, Coinbase’s public listing solidifies the exchange’s place among the Silicon Valley and Wall Street set. For some, the exchange’s “mission-focused” attitude towards crypto adoption is an artifice. So, asking bitcoiners whether they like Coinbase is like asking crust-punks whether they like Johnny Rotten.

Prominent Bitcoin personality Brekkie von Bitcoin says he bought his first BTC from the exchange but thinks Coinbase “has lost the thread.” Perhaps most glaring is that the Silicon Valley-based company has signed surveillance contracts with the government. “They used to be revolutionary,” he said.

Then there’s the exchange’s poly-crypto approach to the industry. Von Bitcoin admits Coinbase was a needed agonist for bitcoin but it’s guilty of “promoting every altcoin under the sun.” New users might confuse various altcoins for cheaper versions of BTC, a sort of identity theft.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Coinbase’s willingness to list bitcoin forks. Investor Stephen Cole went as far as saying “Coinbase attacked Bitcoin” by supporting competing, payments-friendly versions – “BitcoinXT. Bitcoin Classic. Bitcoin Cash.” – of the original cryptocurrency.

Some are turned off for less ideological reasons, namely Coinbase’s history of going down during market rallies and higher-than-average trading fees. Not to mention the perennial complaints of lackluster customer support.

Bitcoiners are a strong-willed, vocal bunch. But even their calls to blacklist the exchange might be drowned out by traders barking for the exchange to list dogecoin.

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Trending

1
CoinDesk - Unknown
How Are Institutions and Companies Investing in Crypto?

From putting bitcoin on their balance sheets to setting up shop in the metaverse, the ways brands and institutions are investing in cryptocurrencies continues to expand.

CoinDesk - Unknown
2
CoinDesk - Unknown
Consensus 2022: Hollywood, Colleges, Conferences vs. Crypto

The state of crypto and economics live from Consensus 2022 in Austin, Texas.

CoinDesk - Unknown
3
CoinDesk - Unknown
Bitcoin se estabiliza cerca de $21K; inversores esperan evitar otra caída el fin de semana

Los analistas se cuestionan si BTC podrá mantenerse por encima del umbral de $20.000 en un clima de desconfianza entre los inversores.

CoinDesk - Unknown
4
CoinDesk - Unknown
Market Wrap: From GBTC Discount to Short Bitcoin ETF, Traders See Reasons for Optimism

It's hard to imagine that data showing traders piling into a trade designed to profit from further bitcoin price declines might be bullish, but that's how some analysts are interpreting the signal.

CoinDesk - Unknown