John D’Agostino is the Institutional Lead for Advisory and Strategic Partnerships at Coinbase. In this interview, we discuss his background working for the New York Mercantile Exchange, seeking out enjoyment, and the flip side of getting kidnapped. We also talk about the maturity of the Bitcoin market, covering both the regulatory threats and institutional appetite.
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John D’Agostino is certainly a unique character. He was the subject of a best-selling book back in 2007 after he set out to open up the first oil exchange in the Middle East, which acted as a catalyst for capital markets in the region. However, his life has produced enough for more than a single book: he is the first person I have spoken to who has been kidnapped.
As someone who seeks out new exciting opportunities, it’s not a surprise that John landed a prominent position within the digital assets industry. As a senior advisor to Coinbase, he’s well-positioned to reflect on the state of the industry as it navigates a period of uncertainty. Post FTX, what is the direction of government regulation in the US and abroad? Furthermore, what are institutional investors waiting to do?
John sets out what he sees as a huge gap between the US and the rest of the world in terms of digital asset regulation. And yet, not least because of the popular support for digital assets among the electorate, he views this as being a temporary situation which provides international players with a headstart over the US.
John is strongly optimistic about the future of Bitcoin and other digital assets, particularly because of the potential to unlock value through programmable and immutable instruments. He’s also seeing the backed-up demand from institutional investors, just waiting for regulatory clarity. He’s been part of shaping change in the financial world once already. Who’d bet against him doing it again?