Coinbase’s CEO shares his top 10 most exciting Web3 ideas

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Coinbase co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong is basking in the glow of a successful week as the value of his company’s stocks soared, riding on the rising hopes for a Bitcoin spot Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF).

Armstrong kept the good vibes going by sharing the 10 ideas he’s “most excited about” in the Web3 space.

“We’re actively developing numerous projects at Coinbase, but considering the vast landscape, it’s not possible to tackle everything. Therefore, I thought I’d share these ideas,” Armstrong said during a Twitter Spaces session.

Shortly after Armstrong disseminated his thoughts, Messari co-founder Ryan Selkis responded to each idea with his views. We’ve added some of his most valuable insights to the relevant ideas below.


Armstrong proposed the notion of a “flatcoin” that tracks the Consumer Price Index (CPI), presenting a substantial opportunity for the crypto economy to evolve. He envisioned a decentralised coin that pegs its value to the CPI, offering stability and resistance to inflation—unlike the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies or fiat-backed stablecoins.

This novel concept could empower smart contracts to maintain purchasing power and mitigate inflation risks across international borders.

On-chain reputation:

The Coinbase CEO suggested the application of blockchain technology to track entity reputation, combating fraudulent activities. He referred to Ethereum Name Service (ENS) and the absence of a reputation system in connection with it.

Drawing a parallel with Google’s PageRank algorithm, Armstrong visualised a scoring mechanism for blockchain addresses and ENS names, centred around transactions. This would establish trusted identities and thwart fraudulent behaviours.

On-chain advertising:

Armstrong contemplated the potential of “on-chain ads,” proposing a unique approach where advertisers are billed only upon the completion of specific actions, in contrast to traditional display ads. He surmised that the distinct properties of Web3 might enable this model.

The implementation of smart contracts could facilitate pay-per-action advertising, particularly if transactions encompass optional referral data.

Selkis comments, “I’ve invested in Antonio García Martínez’s crypto adtech company Spindl (focused on attribution), but haven’t seen many onchain ad plays yet.”

On-chain capital:

Armstrong endorsed the notion of “on-chain capital formation,” tracking the net accumulation of capital goods—from equipment to transportation assets, thereby enhancing access to fundraising.

He advocated for tools to assist projects in forming entities, registering securities, and connecting with investors, ultimately fostering innovation on a global scale.

Selkis adds, “Scaled, legal DAOs like Tribute Labs and Syndicate are two good starts.”

Decentralised labour market:

The high-profile CEO proposed the creation of a “global marketplace for labor,” harnessing cryptocurrencies for cross-border payments. Capitalising on the efficiency of cryptocurrency-enabled low-cost cross-border transactions, this concept could streamline income generation worldwide.

Selkis comments, “This is related to my personal number one, onchain payroll. Multis and Superfluid are hanging out in this area.

“If I had known this STILL wouldn’t be a solved problem, I would have started this company and not Messari in 2017. I am shocked it hasn’t been built yet.

Layer-2 privacy:

Armstrong pinpointed the need to introduce privacy measures to layer two transactions, paralleling the transition from HTTP to encrypted HTTPS online. He recommended optional, premium-priced private transactions, which could attain mass appeal without misuse concerns.

Selkis simply adds, “early and obvious needs here.”

True peer-to-peer:

Armstrong’s concept of a fully decentralised peer-to-peer exchange, underpinned by auditable smart contracts, could revolutionise solutions for escrow, reputation, and dispute resolution. This model could circumvent the frequent shutdowns experienced by centralised counterparts.

Selkis adds, “They always get shut down when centralised. We’ve had some false starts here, but it feels like the infra[structure] can support this now.”

Web3 game economies:

Armstrong envisions on-chain games that confer genuine ownership of in-game NFT assets, nurturing persistent virtual worlds with tangible economies.

Selkis expressed reservations on this one, saying: “I know this is big, but I just can’t get excited for GameFi. You can’t torture me into getting excited about it, but I’m open to change my mind if there’s something that is fun first, then financialised.”

Tokenise everything:

Armstrong explored the idea of tokenising real-world assets and enhancing market liquidity through encoded metadata. He noted that blockchain-based debt could facilitate decentralised ratings and exchanges, revolutionising the financial landscape.

Network states:

Drawing inspiration from Bitcoin entrepreneur Balaji Srinivasan, Armstrong posited the concept of “network states” as successors to contemporary “nation-states,” structured as decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs).

Armstrong advocated for the creation of tools to support governance, fundraising, access control, and services in this new paradigm.

To conclude his thoughts, Armstrong extended an invitation to the inaugural Coinbase Ventures Summit scheduled for October in Malibu, California. The event aims to unite a select group of innovators to discuss these groundbreaking ideas and explore further possibilities.

(Image Credit: TechCrunch under CC BY 2.0 license)

See also: SK Telecom and Polygon Labs partner to build Web3 ecosystem

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