Brian Armstrong says bitcoin is 'most important asset in crypto', confirms Coinbase Lightning integration

Quick Take

  • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said bitcoin is the “most important asset in crypto” while confirming the crypto exchange’s decision to integrate the Lightning Network.
  • Armstrong’s announcement follows previous discussions and feedback on how to implement the Bitcoin Layer 2 network.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong reiterated his stance on bitcoin, calling it the "most important crypto asset," while confirming the crypto exchange's decision to integrate Bitcoin's Lightning Network after completing a consultation process.

"The team did a great job digging into this, and we've made the decision to integrate Lightning," Armstrong wrote on X (formerly Twitter) today. "Bitcoin is the most important asset in crypto and we're excited to do our part to enable faster/cheaper Bitcoin transactions."

The Coinbase co-founder added that it will take some time to integrate the Layer 2 network, urging users to be patient. Armstrong first suggested Coinbase would integrate the Lightning Network at some point in the future in April.

The Lightning Network is a second-layer solution of payment channels built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, designed to enable fast and low-cost transactions. 

How we got here

Armstrong's comments follow a consultation process kicked off in August requesting feedback on how to best implement Lightning.

That process began after Armstrong responded to an X post from Block CEO Jack Dorsey asking, "Why do you continue to ignore Bitcoin and Lightning? What 'crypto' is a better money transmission protocol and why?"

"We’re looking into how to best add Lightning. It’s non-trivial, but I think worth doing. I’m all for payments taking off in Bitcoin," Armstrong said at the time. "Not sure why you think we’re ignoring Bitcoin — we’ve onboarded more people to Bitcoin than probably any company in the world. Let’s build it together."

Coinbase protocol specialist Viktor Bunin led the initiative, posting that he was "particularly keen to get insights on lift to add support, UX flows, open source tooling, service providers and edge cases."

In July, two weeks before announcing the consultation, Bunin was criticized for his Bitcoin knowledge after suggesting every major upgrade requires a hard fork. "Turns out I'm wrong," Bunin replied. "They've all been soft forks lately. My bad, but also, the bitcoiners dunking don't know the first thing about literally any other network, so I don't feel so bad."

Lightning Network adoption

Lightning Network adoption has continued to grow over the past year, with a current total capacity of nearly 5,000 bitcoin ($128 million), according to The Block's data dashboard. However, this has fallen 12.5% from a peak of 5,640 bitcoin in July.

Coinbase will join several major crypto exchanges offering Lightning Network services to users, including Binance, which completed the integration in July, Kraken and Bitfinex.

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