The decentralized virtual currency called bitcoin has been around for nearly a decade, but it’s just recently starting to find mainstream attention and, in some circles, acceptance. That shift is thanks in no small part to the skyrocketing value of bitcoin, the world’s best-known “cryptocurrency,” from $1,000 near the start of the year to nearly $20,000 today.
For investors like Spark Capital General Partner Megan Quinn, “the toothpaste is out of the tube.” On the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Recode’s Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Casey Newton, Quinn explained her investment in Coinbase, a company that is trying to position itself as the safe place to trade cryptocurrencies.
“People were sleeping on each others’ couches and renting rooms before Airbnb, but Airbnb provided that really safe, clean, approved — you got feedback, it was a transaction,” Quinn said. “You felt good about it. We think Coinbase is providing that sort of experience for trading crypto.”
Someday, Quinn said, the value of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will level off enough that we will be able to start treating them like real money. But that day is not today.