Coinbase Launches New Crypto Think Tank

The latest attempt of Coinbase to shape the debate around a crypto policy is the formation of a new think tank.

Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange, has established a “crypto native think tank” to help shape the global conversation about digital asset policies.

The newly formed Coinbase Institute will also publish crypto and Web3 research.

Hermine Wong, Coinbase’s Director of Policy, has been appointed to lead the institute. She previously worked at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis, and before that at the Department of State.

The Coinbase Institute Advisory Board has also been formed, and it will include academics from top universities such as Harvard, MIT, Duke, and John Hopkins, as well as an academic partnership with the University of Michigan.

The University of Michigan has conducted surveys for the United States Census Bureau and the Department of Defense, and it will collaborate with Coinbase on an annual survey of cryptocurrency adoption and sentiment toward digital assets in the United States.

The institute released the first in a series of “Coinbase Primers” — reports that explain key issues in cryptocurrency. On May 19, it published a report titled “Crypto and the Climate” to justify the high energy consumption of proof-of-work blockchains such as Bitcoin (BTC).

The first monthly insight report in crypto markets, which compared market movements in crypto and traditional finance, was also released. Each report will concentrate on a specific theme.

Coinbase’s establishment of the institute is yet another example of the company’s efforts to influence the cryptocurrency conversation. It launched a “fact-checking portal” in May 2021, with CEO Brian Armstrong stating that the blog would be used “to combat misinformation and mischaracterizations about Coinbase or crypto that are being shared around the world.”

Coinbase also established a political action committee in February 2022, ahead of the November 8 midterm elections in the United States. Coinbase spent over $1.3 million lobbying in 2021, the most by a blockchain company that year.

Coinbase split from the Blockchain Association, the crypto industry’s largest lobbying group, in August 2020, ostensibly in protest of Binance’s admission.

In April 2021, the company formed the Crypto Council for Innovation with Jack Dorsey’s Square (now Block) and crypto investment firm Paradigm, with the goal of engaging governments, regulatory agencies, and policymakers on crypto regulation.

The institute has not specified which policies it will advocate for, but its next step will be to publish more original research that “will provide the public, policymakers, regulators, and academics with a better understanding of crypto’s diversity and interconnection to the overall economy.”