Inside Coinbase's game plan to be a one-stop shop for Wall Street's biggest investors

Episode 54 of Season 3 of The Scoop was recorded remotely with The Block’s Frank Chaparro and Brett Tejpaul, Head of Institutional Sales, and Greg Tusar, Head of Institutional Product, at Coinbase.

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Hundreds of institutions are looking to Coinbase as a trusted, publicly-traded exchange to create tailored crypto solutions for them. Now, as traditional finance firms begin to deploy capital into crypto services, Coinbase sees itself at the forefront of facilitating that institutional adoption.

“I think we're moving away from the designation of Coinbase as an exchange to being a much more complex organization,” said Coinbase's Greg Tusar, whose crypto brokerage startup Tagomi was acquired last year.

On this episode of The Scoop, Coinbase head of institutional sales Brett Tejpaul and head of institutional product Greg Tusar join for a discussion on Coinbase’s pace of growth to meet client demand and how the company is building itself into a full-scale prime broker.

“We're focused more on the future of finance and DeFi,” said Tejpaul of Coinbase's goal to combine its custodianship, exchange, brokerage and DeFi services for institutional clients. He went on to say that they have filled out some 250 requests for proposals from clients to build crypto products for their firms. The longest such RFP is a whopping 800 questions long, according to Tejpaul. 


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“Just think through what it takes to, first of all, to answer 800 questions and think through how many people are working through and processing through that,” said Tejpaul.

The execs also touched on Coinbase's role in growing retail interest in stablecoins and altcoins, citing how some 75% of clients own more than Bitcoin, 80% own some Ethereum and Tejpaul estimated that 50% of that group also own at least 5 or more cryptocurrencies. “And all that's happened in the course of a year or so.” Said Tejpaul. 

Coinbase is growing its business with direct investment, expanding its sales team from 7 to 60-odd people in less than half a year, Tejpaul noted. The company is also focusing on growing its product base by creating a variety of familiar instruments for traditional finance institutions, which include providing means for institutions to gain sub-custody, tap into stablecoin utility to leverage DeFi protocols, and by creating capabilities for DeFi, smart contracts, and NFTs for broad institutional participation.

Beyond that, as Coinbase pushes itself to evolve, demand expansion is evidently applying pressure to provide as many services as possible to a range of institutional clients by facilitating the creation and adoption of their own crypto offerings. According to the execs, this is fueling growth in institutional revenue.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Frank Chaparro is the Editor At Large at The Block. Chaparro started his career at Business Insider, where he specialized in the intersection of digital assets and Wall Street, market structure, and financial technology. Soon after joining Business Insider out of Fordham University, Chaparro was interviewing top finance and tech executives, including billionaire Mark Cuban, “Flash Boys” star Brad Katsuyama, Cboe Global Markets CEO Ed Tilly, and New York Stock Exchange President Tom Farley. In 2018, he become a sought after reporter in the crypto world, interviewing luminaries such as Tyler Winklevoss, the cofounder of Gemini, Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Circle, and Fundstrat head Tom Lee. He runs his own podcast The Scoop and writes a biweekly eponymous newsletter. He leads special projects, including The Block's flagship podcast, The Scoop. Prior to The Block, he held roles at Business Insider, NPR, and Nasdaq. For inquiries or tips, email [email protected].