Coinbase Adds Shopify CEO to Board of Directors

In brief

Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke has been a long-time crypto supporter.
Shopify provides online shopping tools to millions of merchants.
Lütke’s appointment is expected to become official later this month.

Coinbase announced on Monday that Tobias Lütke, who leads the ecommerce giant Shopify, will be joining its board of directors.

In a blog post, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong touted Lütke’s early support for cryptocurrency and suggested the Ottawa-based Shopify could play a key strategic role in crypto’s future.

“Shopify sits at the nexus of three important areas that crypto seeks to revolutionize: Finance and payments, web applications, and the internet itself,” wrote Armstrong.

The overlap between Shopify and Coinbase is not new. The latter has long used Coinbase Commerce to offer crypto payment options to the millions of merchants, which include the likes of Pepsi and Tesla, that use its web-shopping service.

Lütke’s appointment to Coinbase’s board raises the possibility that the company, which recently announced it would accept Mastercard for NFT payments, could be contemplating new retail or shopping initiatives.

“With his guidance, we hope to unlock crypto’s potential to increase economic freedom in the same way Shopify democratized online commerce,” wrote Armstrong.

A person close to Coinbase, however, suggested Lütke’s appointment to the board came about in large part due to the good rapport he enjoys with Armstrong, and because both CEOs have similar views on keeping politics at arm’s length from their companies’ operations.

As for Lütke, he said Coinbase and Shopify share a similar vision about the benefits of decentralization, a core tenet of the crypto industry.

“The concepts of decentralized finance and entrepreneurship exemplify the promise of Web3 where opportunity exists for the many, not the few,” he said in a statement.

Lütke’s interest in crypto is also reflected in Shopify’s recent announcement it would help clients like the NBA’s Chicago Bulls offer NFT sales, and in the company’s decision to join Facebook’s now-defunct stablecoin consortium.

Lütke’s appointment is expected to be confirmed by Coinbase’s board later this week. If he is approved, he would become the eighth member of the board, which is chaired by Armstrong and whose other members include Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam and prominent venture capitalist Marc Andreessen.

In 2020, Coinbase added executives from Cisco and DoorDash to its board as the company sought to gain broader governance experience ahead of its public offering.

Coinbase, whose share price recently hit an all-time low, is expected to announce earnings on February 25.

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