Cormac Dinan, a former senior director in Deloitte, has taken up a position in Crypto.com, becoming the country manager in Ireland of Coinbase, one of the largest crypto-trading platforms in the world. Dinan is a lifelong institutional finance professional who sees himself and Coinbase as part of the infrastructure and systems that established companies and institutions are starting to use. He believes that people are becoming more savvy in how they consider crypto from a different perspective, and as the technology continues to develop, they are starting to see greater utility. Dinan believes that crypto or Coinbase’s operations are about a gradual shift in infrastructure as well as letting people indulge more in peer-to-peer transactions. Coinbase is one of the companies at the cutting edge of new technology.
Dinan believes that Coinbase is light years ahead of traditional banks in certain areas, with a more digitally automated system, faster processes, and easier peer-to-peer transactions. He thinks that giving people more control over their finances and identity is hugely important, and a lot of that has come down to the ongoing development of blockchain. However, things have not been smooth for Coinbase. The company shed a large percentage of its workforce in Ireland as part of the layoffs wave hitting the wider tech sector. The job cuts are especially notable because the company is so secretive about them, not only on the question of how many were actually let go, but the number it employs here.
When we met in Coinbase’s office space in a WeWork building in central Dublin, there was almost no-one else on the floor as it is a remote-first company. Dinan concedes that the reported figure of 100 people let go from the company’s Irish operation is “about” right. He won’t budge on the number left working at the Irish office beyond saying: “It’s our third largest office outside the US.” The Irish office passports services around Europe, where Coinbase has a number of other offices.
Like everyone else, Coinbase is waiting for the Markets In Crypto Assets (Mica) legislation from the EU that will tighten and clarify some aspects of handling and dealing in crypto currencies and assets. But while this seems to be regularising crypto’s fate among EU institutions and governments, there is still considerable regulator hostility. Ireland’s Central Bank governor, Gabriel Makhlouf, is an arch-critic, recently commenting that cryptocurrency has “no social value whatsoever”. “Unbacked crypto is essentially a Ponzi scheme,” he told an Oireachtas committee in January. “People who put their money into unbacked crypto, and most of the significant stock of crypto out there is essentially unbacked, are essentially gambling.”
Dinan says that the criticism from many financial figures of Ponzi schemes and gambling has been due to bad actors, and unfortunately, there are Ponzi schemes in every aspect of financial services, not just crypto. He believes that the regulatory environment in Europe is helping to prevent such schemes, and firms like Coinbase are focused on getting regulators to be just as interested in compliance as they possibly can. Dinan thinks that this will help tackle the general impression that crypto dealings, for institutional interest, are fundamentally unstable and unreliable. He believes that the idea of instability and unreliability couldn’t be further away from the truth.
In conclusion, Dinan is optimistic about the future of crypto and the role that Coinbase will play in building the next financial services industry. He sees himself as part of the infrastructure and systems that established companies and institutions are starting to use, and he believes that people are becoming more savvy in how they consider crypto from a different perspective. Dinan is confident that the ongoing development of blockchain technology will give people more control over their finances and identity, and he thinks that this is hugely important. Despite the challenges that Coinbase has faced, Dinan believes that the company is at the cutting edge of new technology and light years ahead of traditional banks in some areas. He is committed to helping Coinbase get regulators to be just as interested in compliance as they possibly can, and he thinks that this will help tackle the general impression that crypto dealings, for institutional interest, are fundamentally unstable and unreliable.