Coinbase’s Reddit AMA: ‘It’s like Amazon in the early days’

Brian Armstrong compares Coinbase to Amazon in the early days in terms of innovations that will benefit customers.

The CEO of U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase Brian Armstrong has apologized for poor customer support and revealed the company could integrate with DeFi protocols in a comprehensive Ask Me Anything session on Reddit. 

The Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) posted on March 17 had amassed over a thousand questions and responses from members of the social media platform. Company CEO Brian Armstrong and CFO Alessia Haas finally got around to responding to a few of them a week later on March 23.

There was also a video that accompanied the AMA, which was a first for a company going public, in which the firm chose to address the questions with the most votes, value to the community, and relevance to its upcoming listing.

One of the most popular questions was from a Coinbase customer of four years regarding poor customer service with the user (Reverseengineer_24) claiming that support likes to “hide behind layers of ineffective automated workflows.”

Armstrong responded with an apology but adding that the company has been overwhelmed recently with the surge in cryptocurrency prices:

“Just probably three, four months ago, we were getting about 25,000 customer support inquiries a week. And within say, four weeks, it jumped to 100,000 or more.”

He added that the problem was being addressed and the company had quadrupled its capacity by bringing on at least 600 or more customer support agents this year alone. Haas chimed in stating that Coinbase is also “making investments on the product side to reduce the friction that we see a lot of customers call in and offer complaints about.”

When asked about the potential threat of decentralized exchanges like Uniswap Armstrong said Coinbase will evolve to allow integration and access to them in the same way that Amazon allowed third-party sellers to list products on the platform.

‘It’s like Amazon in the early days, Jeff Bezos thought, “Hey, why don’t we allow third-party sellers to put their products on there as well?” People thought he was crazy […] He realized that, well we want to create value for our customers, and in the long run, that’s what’s going to make us a valuable company.”

He added: “So we always try to think about what does the customer want and give them that, not what does Coinbase want.”

Another extremely popular question regarded preferential access to shares for Coinbase customers or an airdrop similar to the ICO model. Armstrong responded that there will be a listing but no preferential treatment for anyone, adding that regulatory issues would hinder any kind of token or stock airdrop for customers.

Alessia Haas said Coinbase had investigate a security token, but ended up settling on a direct listing:

“It was really important that we were able to offer a security token that was native to crypto and could be treated like an ERC-20, could be used in DeFi, and have all of the features of crypto that we all have come to love. And until we can offer something that we feel like meets the customer or an investor, in this case, experience that we want it to have, we’ve found that we couldn’t pursue that at this time.”

Armstrong was also asked about users buying Coinbase stock via the exchange to which the answer was an emphatic no as the shares will only be listed on the NASDAQ Global Markets Platform.

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