In a recent interview during Money 20/20, an annual fintech conference, Asiff Hirji, the chief operating officer of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, was asked to predict crypto’s breakthrough “iPhone” moment.
Hirji says that there’s great promise in crypto, even though we still haven’t seen the breakthrough app that has created utility. He believes that stability in the crypto space will provide the foundation for such a moment to happen.
The interview comes just days after Goldman Sachs-backed startup Circle and Coinbase announced the launch of the USDC, a new digital dollar stablecoin.
“Fintech before crypto, and specifically a stablecoin, is like mobile before the iPhone came along.” He adds, “Now that we’ve got programmable, real, stable currency, you will see the innovation take off in crypto.”
"When are we going to have that iPhone moment?" asks @rhhackett of @FortuneMagazine to President and COO of @coinbase and General Partner of Andreessen Horowitz #money2020 #crypto @katie_haun @AsiffHirji pic.twitter.com/eRJAQENxdH
— Money20/20 (@money2020) October 23, 2018
The arrival of Bitcoin solved one of the hardest problems in computer science which was having a general protocol for building apps, according to Hirji. He compares Ethereum and its coin building capabilities to the Java or .net of the crypto space.
Hirji says crypto has two main use cases, one as a store of value and one as a platform that builds apps. He sees the breakthrough moment coming from the app-building arena.
“It will unlock the ability to create programatic money applications like we’ve not seen before, because now money truly is programmable. That’s the difference, and I think that’s going to be the iPhone moment for the industry.”
This year’s Money 20/20 was hosted in Las Vegas from October 21 – 24 and attracted over 11,000 participants.