In the eyes of many commentators, education and a lack of proper consumable information are what is stemming the adoption of Bitcoin and its ilk. Coinbase, the prominent San Francisco startup, is looking to change this, however, with Earn. This venture gives users a chance to earn digital assets in exchange for consuming content about cryptocurrency and blockchain.
Earn Ethereum-Based DAI Through Coinbase
Announced Monday, Coinbase Earn, the firm’s education portal, will be supporting DAI, the Ethereum-based algorithmic stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar. Users “around the world” can now earn up to $6 worth of the cryptocurrency by participating in three lessons, which outline what DAI is, what it can be used for, and how the Maker (MKR) protocol and economy ensures that the stablecoin is always valued at around $1. Each lesson, which involves a video and short quizzes, will reward the user two DAI.
— Coinbase (@coinbase) June 10, 2019
This news comes just days after Coinbase added EOS to Earn, collaborating with blockchain developer Block.one to make that happen. DAI and EOS now join Stellar Lumens (XLM), ZCash (ZEC), Basic Attention Token (BAT), and 0x (ZRX) as popular crypto assets supported by the educational platform.
Many see the “free crypto” approach as a way to draw people into the industry. And while some may hate Coinbase for “shilling altcoins” through the program, education for this industry, in particular, is proving to be of paramount importance. Many in the public, even tech-savvy university students, prefer dollars over Bitcoin and its altcoin brethren.
Case in point. a Youtube channel, Capital Creators, recently did an impromptu survey about whether students at a university in Boulder, California would hypothetically choose one Bitcoin or $1.
For some reason or another, most chose the $1, despite the fact that BTC is valued at a cool $7,900. Most respondents either didn’t know much about Bitcoin, wouldn’t know how to receive or use it, or claimed that they would like fiat because of its reliability and physicality. This comes in stark contrast to a report commissioned by Blockchain Capital that said a near-majority of 20-somethings intend to buy Bitcoin.
By incentivizing consumers to learn about cryptocurrency, Coinbase may just be doing the industry a favor. However, there is one drawback with Coinbase Earn: the onboarding process can be cumbersome for what some see as little value. Users are mandated to submit identification and go through the whole know your customer process before participating in Earn.
Shift In Strategy & Executive Exodus
This recent focus on Earn comes as Coinbase has undergone an ostensible shift in strategy, marked by a mass exodus of executives, even members of its C-Suite. Members of Coinbase’s executive team that have left recently are as follows: chief operating officer Asiff Hirji, a TD Ameritrade veteran; vice president Adam White, who left for the New York Stock Exchange’s Bakkt; vice president Dan Romero; chief technology officer, Earn co-founder Balaji Srinivasan; and Christine Sandler, who left for Fidelity’s Bitcoin play.
This exodus occurred within a span of eight months, and likely marks some internal instability within the firm’s wall.
In terms of shifts in product, we’ve seen Coinbase focus on custodial services and other institutional platforms. Coinbase Custody has continued to add assets and clients, with the firm’s chief executive, Brian Armstrong, recently telling conference-goers at Consensus that this service has over $1 billion worth of crypto assets under management, a fair 0.4% of the entire market.
The company has also scrapped its tacit commitment to Bitcoin maximalism, adding nearly, if not over 10 altcoins in the past year. This follows its support for only Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin for years on end.
It is unclear what changes Coinbase will see next, but the company seems to be changing gears at a rapid pace.