The Senior Deal Lead of Coinbase Ventures, Katherine Wu, stepped down from her post after only five months.
Wu leaves Coinbase
Coinbase, one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world, is looking for a new Senior Deal Lead. Katherine Wu announced that she had left the exchange to pursue an engagement at Archetype, an early-stage crypto investment firm. On her Twitter account, Wu said:
“Today is my last day at Coinbase. Sometimes you take that leap of faith and it just doesn’t land quite right- that’s ok! Eternally grateful for the amazing people I’ve met & proud of the work I’ve done.”
Wu also said that she would continue to invest and support Coinbase – which she called “the best founders in the crypto ecosystem” – but that she was also excited to explore side projects.
After Ms. Wu joined Coinbase in September 2021, the Coinbase Ventures arm led by her had a record 2021 year and invested in almost 150 crypto startups. That amounted to more than 90% of the total sum invested by Coinbase Ventures since its start in 2018. Wu, who had previously worked at Notation Capital and the well-renowned crypto analytics platform Messary, will now join Archetype, another crypto venture capital firm. Headed by Ash Egan, a former ConsenSys Ventures co-founder, Archetype’s portfolio includes DAO builder Syndicate and Meow.
The future of crypto exchanges
Coinbase, which had a spat with the SEC in the past, is one of the biggest crypto exchanges in an increasingly competitive market. Other exchanges like Binance and FTX are digging into Coinbase’s market share, but that isn’t the only problem. The emergence of decentralised exchanges may soon pose a real threat to centralised exchanges.
Currently, decentralised exchanges are still hampered by blockchains’ poor scalability and performance issues. Either blockchains cannot handle the necessary data or do it at high transaction costs, or their user experience leaves much to be desired (and often all of the above). But with the emergence of zero-knowledge-proof scaling solution, all of these problems will be mitigated and decentralised exchanges should become much more competitive and eat into the market shares of their centralised rivals.
Then there is regulation. The SEC has already targeted Coinbase, but the US government has made it clear that it is not yet done with regulating cryptocurrencies. Centralised exchanges are probably going to be up there on the to-be-regulated list (together with stablecoins). Crypto veterans have long been warning about the dangers of keeping your coins on these exchanges, as their custodial solutions are far from ideal in the long run.
As things stand today, centralised exchanges are in a good position. Most crypto beginners use them over decentralised alternatives because they are easy to understand and interact with and much reminiscent of bank accounts that users are familiar with. However, Coinbase and friends will need a good plan to stay competitive in the long run. Maybe the new Senior Deal Lead already has one.