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Year in review: Coinbase reflects on VC funding, DeFi investments & NFTs

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Coinbase is looking back on 2021, and there are some formidable stats to wade through as we understand the growth of the exchange and the crypto space in just a year.

Time to have “fund”

In 2021, venture capital funding hit a never-before-seen high as close to $30 billion entered the crypto sector. This was more than the VC crypto funding secured between 2012 and 2020 – combined. About its own milestones, Coinbase said,

“2021 was also a record year for Coinbase Ventures, with just under 150 deals, averaging a new deal every 2.5 days. On a cumulative basis, more than 90% of the capital Coinbase Ventures has deployed since inception was deployed in 2021…”

Another area where Coinbase was a major stakeholder was the DeFi space, which makes up 23% of Coinbase Ventures’ Portfolio. Coinbase stated it was “most active” in Ethereum’s DeFi ecosystem, but also invested in Solana (Orca, Solend), Cosmos (Umee), Algorand (Folks), Polkadot (Acala, Moonbeam), NEAR, Polygon, and of course, Bitcoin.

It’s important to note here that Coinbase’s investments in Ethereum could be a stepping stone as it prepares for the much-anticipated launch of Coinbase NFT. In late 2021, Vice President of Products at Coinbase, Sanchan S. Saxena, shared that while the NFT marketplace would be cross-chain, it would start with Ethereum.

Venturing into controversy

While Coinbase might be bullish about the future, there’s been some furore surrounding Coinbase Ventures, VC-backed tokens, and whether Coinbase’s listing activities pose a conflict of interest.

Furthermore, Startups and Econ newsletter author Fais Khan studied 128 of Coinbase’s listings, and observed,

“Once a coin has been on Coinbase for a year, it appears to lag Bitcoin and Ethereum pretty soundly.”

For its part, however, Coinbase published a statement that stressed on the distance between Coinbase and Coinbase Ventures’ operations.

Coinbase NFT?

Coinbase reported that Ventures had invested “heavily” in “utility” based NFT projects, such as audio and avatars. However, the crypto exchange’s outlook for 2022 did not specifically discuss the Coinbase NFT marketplace. When announced last year, the news led to an explosion in interest and over 1 million people reportedly joined the waitlist.

When Coinbase NFT finally makes its debut, however, it will have to face off against not one but two NFT marketplace giants: OpenSea and LooksRare.

That said, a preview of Coinbase NFT has been released for those who can’t wait to break out their art supplies – and crypto wallets.


Sahana is a full-time journalist at AMBCrypto. She has a Masters in Journalism and her areas of study include crypto-regulation, digital society, privacy, and intersectionality. Ask her about film photography and philately.
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