How coinbase dominated crypto market with it’s positioning & ux

Alexander Mihailovskis
3 min readApr 14, 2021


Coinbase goes public today with a crazy valuation.

Big chunk of the exchange success is: credibility. Making the crypto trustworthy and userfriendly.

Here is a breakdown how Brian Armstrong (Coinbase co-founder and CEO) and his team prevailed others in their ux.

The year is 2013. Bitcoin is gaining momentum outside the tech bubble.

However, most places to buy BTC still looks shady and overcomplicated.

How coinbase competitors looked in 2013

Coinbase steps out of the crypto-landscape with its elaborate website.

It resembles most of the bleeding edge silicon-valley startups:

When you click on the info you are sent to this friendly explainer video:

Coinbase screams 2 themes
1. We are safe
2. It’s easy to use

Just looks how these 2 themes are overarching the whole homepage:

These are the features/theses they using to signal that to users:

Difference can be seen even stronger when youwondered how to buy bitcoin.

BTC-e and bitfinex welcomed you with the dull text. Not that exciting, right?

On the other hand, If you went Coinbase you were welcomed with a simple 3-step guide. Written in “human” language and with easy-to-understand illustrations.

Lesson to be learned from coinbase

If the niche that you are entering has a negative connotation (in this case crypto in 2013) — put the efforts into building trust and solidity.

This can be done with the solid website among with good positioning as coinbase did. There are many more of other ways to do that: endorsements, team transparency, you name it.

The worser connotation for the niche your product is aiming — the more trust you should intent to build with your users

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