Speaking with MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor at the Bitcoin for Corporations conference, Head of Coinbase Institutional Brett Tejpauln said institutions now make up 50% of his company’s business, up from 10% three years ago. Alongside, Coinbase’s institutional group size has grown from about a dozen to 150. What Tejpauln began to see emerging in the last year, and what’s needed even more in coming years, is boosted liquidity as institutions need to know they can transact in large volume.
A far more recent emerging theme, he said, is retailers showing interest in their first NFT deals. This is an initial step to these players eventually holding bitcoin in their treasuries, said Tejpauln, as the NFTs are likely to lead to the companies accepting payment in crypto. Initially, they’ll instantly convert back to dollars, but as their comfort level grows, they’ll begin to keep the bitcoin on their balance sheets.
Tejpauln also took note of speedy stablecoin usage growth – from roughly $10 billion three years ago to $150 billion today. Stablecoins are important, he said, because they keep institutions in the cryptocurrency ecosystem during those times when they’re not comfortable holding bitcoin. To wit, he pointed out a marked increase in stablecoin usage alongside bitcoin’s plunge in December and January.
Taking the virtual stage a bit later was Michael Moro, CEO of digital prime brokerage Genesis, and he had a similar theme to that of Tejpauln. Asked by Saylor about rumors of an “avalanche of hedge funds” entering the Bitcoin space over the past year, Moro confirmed as much. His company’s derivatives business is about eight times larger than a year ago, he said, with borrowing against bitcoin and borrowing to buy bitcoin also showing strong growth.
Genesis is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which owns CoinDesk.