Rumours of a possible Coinbase acquisition have been percolating for years, but at least two prominent members of the bitcoin and crypto communities think large financial institutions will wait too long to pull the trigger on such a deal. Blockchain CEO Peter Smith and venture capitalist Tim Draper shared their thoughts on the matter with Fortune Senior Writer Jen Wieczner at the recent Web Summit conference in Lisbon.
Banks Won’t Be Able to Afford Crypto Companies
Bitcoin was originally started as an alternative to the global banking system, so some would see it as a bit of a let down if the platforms built on top of these public blockchains were eventually owned by the likes of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Wieczner asked Smith for his opinion on the matter during a panel discussion around crypto’s roller coaster of a year at Web Summit.
“I’ve talked to these institutions for years now, and we work with some of them,” responded Smith. “The challenge for them is by the time they realize they need to go all-in on the strategy, they probably won’t be able to afford one of the large crypto companies.”
Smith noted that the growth in the crypto space has been much faster than what’s seen in the fintech built around the legacy financial system because bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are global, while the current financial system is fractured into separate geographic regions. This allows the likes of Blockchain and Coinbase to achieve scale at much faster rates.
“If you compare our numbers or Coinbase’s numbers to another fintech startup from a similar period, [we’re] usually like 20x to 30x the other fintech startup — this sort of legacy system fintech startup,” said Smith.
Draper: Goldman Sachs Better Start Buying Bitcoin Now
Draper agreed with Smith in terms of Goldman Sachs and other large banking institutions’ inability to acquire these crypto platforms. In Draper’s view, anyone who wants to acquire a large crypto platform will need to do so with cryptocurrency rather than fiat currency.
“They better start buying bitcoin if they’re going to try to buy one of these amazing crypto platforms,” said Draper. “Nobody with a crypto platform is going to want to sell for ‘political’ currency.”
Smith added that he would personally never sell in such a scenario.
Draper also managed to tie this topic of conversation into his $250,000 bitcoin price prediction before the end of the panel discussion.
“If Goldman [Sachs] recognizes that they can only buy Coinbase with bitcoin and they can’t use that fiat junk, then this won’t work for them and they’re going to have to buy it up and the [bitcoin] price will go up,” said Draper.