Brian Armstrong Envisions Coinbase Eventually Becoming a 'Super App'

Coinbase will look more like Tencent's WeChat than the simpler crypto exchange interface of today, CEO Armstrong said.

AccessTimeIconJun 22, 2023 at 5:03 p.m. UTC
Updated Jun 26, 2023 at 8:18 p.m. UTC

NEW YORK — Coinbase (COIN) CEO Brian Armstrong, undeterred by the recent consequential lawsuit from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), retains a grand vision for the exchange's platform to become a global "super app" like the popular WeChat.

Super apps bundle together a wide array of activities like financial services, booking appointments with a doctor and much more. Tencent's WeChat is one of best-known.

In Asia, for "some time ... people have apps that they use [for] digital money in all kinds of areas of their life," he said Thursday at the State of Crypto Summit organized by Coinbase and the Financial Times in New York.

"I think that in Coinbase, this case, we want to be that super app, but it's all going to be based on these decentralized protocols," Armstrong said, adding that the app will be used not just for money and assets, but also for social interactions.

A decentralized application, or dapp, is like the programs found in mobile devices but with the added feature that they use blockchain technology. By decentralizing, dapps can create a digital economy of peer-to-peer services that keeps users' data out of the reach of large organizations behind it.

The SEC recently accused Coinbase, one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world, of operating as an unregistered broker, exchange and clearing agency at the same time, soliciting customers, handling orders, allowing for bids and acting as an intermediary all at once, in violation of U.S. securities laws.

The lawsuit, along with a similar action against Binance, has sent waves throughout the industry.

Edited by Aoyon Ashraf.


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Eliza Gkritsi

Eliza Gkritsi is a CoinDesk contributor focused on the intersection of crypto and AI.

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