By Nana Murugesan, VP, International and Business Development
Coinbase will adopt a go broad and go deep approach to scale globally in order to further its mission of bringing more economic freedom to each and every individual and business around the world. Leadership roles are now open across the globe to build our international presence.
- Go Broad: launch foundational products that are a gateway to Web3 and crypto in every country*
- Go Deep: launch localized infrastructure and public facing products with a full suite of services
I joined Coinbase around a month ago to lead business development and international operations teams to further our mission, strategy, and culture around the world. In this blog, I wanted to share our international strategy, how we are thinking about building our international operations, and the exciting leadership roles we just opened up around the world for those interested to join us!
By its very nature, crypto is global and decentralized, and as stated in our blog yesterday, we have an ambitious mission to increase economic freedom in the world that will rely on our ability to bring our products to customers globally. Crypto can have a seismic impact in driving toward a more equitable global economy. This is for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to, the fact that in new high growth markets, the barriers to entry into the traditional financial system may be beyond the reach of many citizens. For instance, traditional financial systems may require official identification or a credit history to access financial services and the security it provides. In larger, more diversified economies, we take these things for granted, but in many parts of the world, they’re unavailable to a majority of the population.
There are billions of people around the world who are underbanked or unbanked. According to the World Bank’s Global Financial Inclusion database, 1.7 billion adults are unbanked, and while the number of underbanked is harder to identify, it’s an issue that impacts almost every country. Yet two-thirds of those identified as unbanked own a mobile phone that could help them access financial services. These numbers are even worse for women, who are roughly 10 percent less likely than men to have access to financial services. Where women are not financially empowered, the trend lines are also more profoundly negative, correlated to a less established civil society and the seeds of undemocratic norms. These are precisely the types of challenges that crypto is uniquely equipped to solve.
Economic freedom is unevenly distributed around the world. Crypto enables economic freedom. At Coinbase, we believe everyone deserves access to financial services that can empower them to create a better life for themselves and their families, regardless of their location, gender or socioeconomic status.
Going global is complicated and this is compounded by rapidly evolving regulatory international frameworks for crypto. Our approach globally will be consistent with our approach in the United States: we will work with governments and regulators in different markets, and will always aim to be the most trusted and compliant crypto company in any market. As our co-founder & CEO Brian Armstrong has said, “clear rules of the road allow for technological innovation and investment and give the public and policy makers confidence that these markets are fair.” That is why, in Brian’s words, “we see [regulation] as a business enabler.” We will take that perspective in our global expansion.
A key first step of our strategy is to hire experienced regional and country leaders across the globe. We are now kicking off an extensive global expansion strategy, with hiring and investment plans to enter these markets which will ultimately allow Coinbase to serve customers more locally:
- Americas — Latin America, Canada
- EMEA — Europe, Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
- APAC — South Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania, North and East Asia
[Link to newly opened Regional Managing Directors, Country Directors, and other Global & Regional Leadership roles. And, keep an eye out for more roles opening in the coming months]
With these leaders in place, we will develop and execute on in-market plans to (1) launch our products, (2) establish our presence with top local talent, (3) grow our customer base, (4) build our business, and (5) collaborate closely with our external constituents [including regulators, financial institutions and partners]. In parallel, we will explore new market entry through acquisitions.
To accelerate the growth of the cryptoeconomy globally, Coinbase Ventures will double down on regional investments, adding to our portfolio of platforms such as CoinSwitch Kuber and CoinDCX in India, Bitso in Latin America, and Rain in the Middle East.
We understand that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work as each market is unique, with its own set of opportunities, challenges, political dynamics, and cultural norms. To address this, we plan to take a go broad and go deep approach.
Coinbase’s mission is to increase economic freedom in the world, and we take this commitment seriously. The first tenet of our global strategy is to get crypto into the hands of any person who wants it, regardless of their financial status. This means we may enter international markets at scale with our decentralized and non-custodial products such as Coinbase Wallet. This allows us to offer local communities a light-weight, user-controlled, simple and secure interaction with the crypto economy and to enable fun experiences such as NFT drops from local creators. As regulatory frameworks and markets develop, we will look to go deep, as elaborated below.
In those countries that have clearly defined crypto regulation and there is a clear path for us to offer services in a way that is fully compliant with local laws and with a reasonable content moderation philosophy, we will plan to provide access to a full suite tailored to the local market. For our retail customers, this includes our custodial, full-fiat trading products, such as our main Coinbase App, and products that host user generated content (or include social features) such as our upcoming Coinbase NFT marketplace. For our institutional customers, we will plan to offer a full suite of advanced prime brokerage services, including custody and private client support.
I am excited to embark on this journey, and I look forward to providing updates along the way. At Coinbase we’re building an open financial system for the world and we’re always looking for top talent ready to do the best work of their careers to help us get there. If you think this could be you, we’re hiring!
*Subject to local regulation.