At the Blockchain Futurist Conference, I talked to Dan Kim, Coinbase’s VP of Business Development and Head of Listings. I had the opportunity to ask Dan Kim about Coinbase coming to Canada, regulations, and the bear market. Here’s our conversation.
I started my conversation by asking Dan how the conference had been so far.
I love coming to Toronto. The overall vibe is something that is really, really kind of cool to be in. The conference has been great. It’s just really cool to hear about all the energy here in Toronto, about all things blockchain, but you don’t really get to feel it until you are in an environment where people are celebrating all the wins, and all the things that we still need to do.
So very exciting that talks are great, you know, a lot met a lot of partners here a lot of just people who believe in what we’re doing. And, you know, it’s really cool to just connect with folks in the city where, you know, durian was, was actually born, right. So very pleased to be here.
We’re celebrating our entry into Canada. More specifically, we recently announced the integration of Interac, which you probably 90% of Canadians use. It was like 74%, before the pandemic so clearly, something’s going in the right direction. We are just here to really celebrate that at this conference
Canada has been just a really very interesting and a hotbed for a lot of stuff that we’re doing in industry. We have over 200 folks (employees) here and most of them are engineers. We have offices here (in Toronto) and in VancouverWe’re just doing a lot of things to build relationships with retail investors, institutional investors, and developers and builder., We’re creating the next generation of apps and dapps.#
Next, I asked Dan about Canada’s regulations and how they differed from the United States.
I like to look at regulatory frameworks as a way to really encourage and drive the innovation that this industry needs. Builders, developers, consumers, they all are curious and interested in excited about this next generation of technology that we will call crypto, blockchain, and web3. And for that, to really flourish a lot of agencies and countries need to really invest in defining clarity, clear regulatory framework.
And that’s one of the things we love about being in Canada. We really have a really strong relationship with the regulatory agencies here and are excited about working with them, as our partner to drive this industry forward, as opposed to driving it sideways or worse, backwards, right? And look, because of that, I think this is gonna be one of the most interesting areas and geographies to watch in the next couple of months.
Dan’s insight into Canadian regulatory structure was very interesting. Before our interview, Dan and I had a brief discussion on their being a lack of crypto being used at the Futurist conference. Thus, I decided to ask him about the lack of use in a crypto conference and how it could be fixed.
I love that question. I feel like if you look at crypto and web3, if you look at a lot of the hype, or the things that we talk about, it’s like solving or creating things that we don’t necessarily need or may not need to solve today. It’s (This event is) a great showcase for technology. But what can I do with it today? That’s one of the things that Coinbase and myself and my teams are just very passionate about as utility. Because we really believe and see crypto as a way to do things better.
So one example is, hey, we’re at a crypto conference, right? Why did lines so long? We’re still accepting Fiat for payment (which) I don’t have any by the way. I saw a bathroom attendant accepting Fiat tips in a jar. Maybe they should take crypto tips. So why don’t we just make it easier for people to use crypto in our daily lives and show them these really simple use cases?
One of the things we’re working on right now is hey, can we tip Uber drivers or Lyft drivers with crypto? Can you tip bathroom attendance with crypto?
Number two is the onboarding problem. Like if you show them, what can be done, how do you get them to start and, and get into crypto? And you know, instead of like deciding which chain you’re on, or what kind of currency you’re gonna use, you know, it’s really about just demonstrating, hey, it is very easy for you to get into crypto and start using it. Let’s just do that in the easiest way possible. Our (Coinbase) wallet is really focused on achieving that level of utilization.
So number one is like show utility. Number two is making it easy for them to onboard and add crypto. And number three is start to expand that from that, and, and take everything that people know about crypto and apply it to everyday life, meaning NFT may not just be digital artwork, it might be identity. I think that’s what the world needs for crypto to really become, what it’s what it can become.
I couldn’t agree more with Dan’s explanation of making it easier to onboard people and ease of use. However, one thing that may prevent people from onboarding is security concerns especially after some of the negative stories that have come out about centralized exchanged. Thus, I asked Dan about how he felt about security and ensuring people’s funds are safe.
You talk to any other company, they’ll say our number one priority is keep our customers safe and assets safe. We’re talking about money. We’re talking about finance. So, a lot of the investments we make on every one of our product areas are all focused on security. We are the one that first to have MPC, multi party financial security in our wallets, which is one of the key pillars of what you’ve what you’ve heard, as well as a service. And even with our Coinbase retail and wallet apps, we have quite a strict standard when it comes to which assets you can put onto the platform.
So I also did a listings team, which the team that engages the project teams to make sure your tokens and you know the assets that you aren’t scams, and then there’s good people behind them, right. So, we invest a lot into making sure that we know who we’re dealing with, that our architecture is very safe. We monitor a number of blockchains and make sure that we know what’s going on. And we just never compromise on security.
Its great to see Coinbase prioritizing customers’ safety. Next, I asked Dan whether we would see the market highs like we did previously in 2021.
If I knew that, I think I think I’d be probably the different field. I’ll tell you this, I think we’ve learned a lot over the past couple of years, whether it was defi or NFTs or whatever the craze is. These are all representations of people who are just getting super excited about technology. And we saw a lot of ebbs and flows. I think people compare that to the stock market. That’s where the term bear in bold terms come from, and, you know, stock market, in many ways has a correlation to the economy. So I think that kind of analogy makes sense.
I think with crypto there is some exposure to economy abroad. Everyone has that same exposure. But to me, I think it’s, that’s not the right way to look at the industry or the ecosystem. I think it’s really about where we in the entire spectrum are of where blockchain technology is going. And whether it’s bear or pull, or up or down, I think we’re still in the very early stages of building but now there’s going to be normalization of harmonization in terms of how we build or how we monitor or how we regulate.
I think the next time people are willing to launch whatever’s the next exciting project in web3, you’ll have a lot more informed approach to delivering that excitement versus just like random stuff that we’re just gonna put out there. Because that’s what happened before. So long way of saying, I think we’re gonna get smarter, we’re gonna get a lot more cautious. And we’re going to be a lot more useful. Because you’re gonna start looking at utility, reality, and real life use case versus like imaginations.
I concluded my interview by asking Dan how he felt about how he felt about the Canadian market and Coinbase coming to this country.
I feel great. You know, this is the response is not just come from builders or enthusiasts, it’s come from everyday investors as well. I read a report that stated a year ago, only 13% of Canadians owned crypto in a wallet. And I think by the end of this year, the forecast is 30%, which is a lot. That’s a third of the 40 million really out here. The educational systems are great. A lot of universities are really honing in on the kind of the underlying technology of blockchain.
And I think the way businesses and governments have really supported the growth of technology here, it’s going to really create a very vibrant ecosystem here. I’m really looking forward to making sure that I invest a lot of my time, which is really focused on building developers here in Toronto, because it really is fascinating to see this much positivity and optimism around what blockchain can do, and have the right regulatory mindset that’s going to facilitate healthy progression versus, you know, kind of the uncertainty and other parts of the world that are causing people to like kind of walk away from engaging, right. So super excited to be here. I look forward to being here a lot more over the next year. And you know, our we have our one of the biggest teams outside of the US is here. So yeah, we love we love we love Canada.
Metaverse Insider would like to thank Dan Kim for his insight during the busy Blockchain Futurist Conference.
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