Within a decade, 1 billion people will have used or tried crypto, up from about 200 million currently, Coinbase Global Inc,. Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong said at the Milken Institute Global Conference on Monday.
“My guess is that in 10-20 years, we’ll see a substantial portion of GDP happening in the crypto economy,” Armstrong said, speaking at a session with ARK Investment Management LLC CEO Cathie Wood.
His comments come at a time of turbulence in crypto markets. After hitting an all-time high of almost $69,000 in November, Bitcoin has been falling in value. The world’s biggest cryptocurrency is down about 17% since the beginning of the year.
The chorus of skeptics’ voices has gotten louder, but Armstrong and Wood, whose Ark is one of the biggest Coinbase investors, have shown a united front. Wood is seeing promise in even decentralized finance, a lightly regulated corner of crypto where people can trade, lend and borrow tokens directly, without intermediaries like banks.
“In the case of DeFi and next-generation internet, we are seeing a lot of financial companies losing talent to crypto,” Wood said. “So they have to take it seriously, or else they are going to be hollowed out.”
Regulatory uncertainty in the U.S. continues to impede crypto’s advance, Wood said. Regulatory clarity in crypto has been happening at a much slower pace than with the internet, she said.
At the same time, “it’s been harder and harder to meet a true crypto skeptic in D.C.,” Armstrong said, adding that about 50% or more people in Washington are pro-crypto now.