A Vision for Crypto—Designing for 25 Million Customers

Zach Krasner
10 min readApr 25, 2019

Bitcoin’s 2017 infamous price run sparked Coinbase into hyper-growth. Competition in the crypto space intensified with the entrance of names like Square, Robinhood, and Binance. For a “startup” with 25 million customers and a world-changing mission, solving Coinbase’s design challenges would be critical for the company many considered to be the face of cryptocurrency.

Scaling Coinbase

Go back to the end of 2017. Bitcoin was up 153% on the month and was knocking on the door of $20,000 per coin for the first time. For as many challenges and confusion as there were around Bitcoin, there was one thing people knew—they wanted in. Coinbase was at the center of it all as the most trusted and easiest way to buy and sell crypto. But while there was demand for hundreds of crypto assets, many of which could be traded with competing services, Coinbase could only offer three.

Crypto was evolving and the company found itself well positioned, but in an awkward adolescent stage. In addition to customers’ demand to add more cryptocurrency assets, the entire crypto space needed trust-building—people were craving authentic news, timely…