Coinbase, a popular site for buying cryptocurrencies, is soaring. In the last week, Coinbase’s app shot to No. 1 in the iTunes store, while a flood of interest from institutional investors briefly caused its trading platform to buckle from unprecedented volume.
All of this helps explains why Coinbase has been reaching for outside help as it navigates an enviable, though chaotic, period of growth.
The latest addition to its team is David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook and a former president of PayPal, who will be joining Coinbase’s board. His appointment was announced by Coinbase on Tuesday.
Marcus is known as something of a guru in the mobile payments space, according to Coinbase president Asiff Hirji, who himself only joined Coinbase last week as its second-in-command.
“David is a very well known financial tech leader in the Valley. He’s got a tremendous track record. He’ll have seen many of the issues we’re currently facing,” said Hirji, who formerly worked at HP and TDAmeritrade.
Hirji did not specify say what will be on the agenda at Coinbase for Marcus, who is keeping his current position at Facebook, but he did say that managing growth is the company’s top priority right now.
“Right now, we’re genuinely focused on the volume we’re facing. It’s yet another step in adding asset classes and scaling,” said Hirji, who added that Coinbase’s GDAX platform represents the highest volume of cryptocurrency trading in the world right now.
The unprecedented volume at Coinbase comes as media hype is leading everyone from ordinary investors to hedge funds to jump on the bitcoin bandwagon.
Meanwhile, Coinbase is also scrambling to build new products and features, including a new custodian service for large institutional investors like sovereign wealth funds.
The company is also seeing new volume as a result of the introduction this week of bitcoin futures contracts—a development some predicted would cause the price of bitcoin to decline, but for which the opposite has occurred.
Hirji said the company is paying close attention to the new futures market, which he believes is suffering from poor product design. He also said the current market lacks adequate arbitrage opportunities, which in turn has led to an usually wide price spread among different bitcoin exchanges.