What does Coinbase Wallet’s latest DM feature mean for the ecosystem?


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Crypto exchange Coinbase has launched a direct messaging feature on its wallet app, negating the need to copy-paste 42-character wallet addresses to and from other messaging platforms to send or receive digital assets, the company exclusively told TechCrunch+.

The feature also lets NFT and POAP holders connect with others who own the same asset by directly messaging their address.

All messaging is encrypted, Coinbase says, and is powered by XMTP, the open-source messaging network. The inbox is also portable, meaning that messages, interactions, transactions and profiles can be transferred to platforms that are compatible with the network.

But that’s just the news. What is this new feature really good for and how will people use it? We had a few thoughts:

Jacquelyn Melinek: Alex, you’ve been covering crypto for more than a decade now. What does this news mean to you?

Alex Wilhelm: I find it pretty bullish! One complaint that I have had with crypto in general is that it has long felt too financial. As someone who doesn’t really love spending time doing accounts, I have never really wanted an entirely new way to make my life more accounting-based.

I have to say, though, that adding messaging to wallets seems to transform them into something far more? So much so that calling them wallets seems like a bit of a misnomer. Perhaps we should call them identities?

Regardless, I am very curious to know if this is a feature that the crypto community writ large has been asking for or working towards. From my limited vantage point as someone who spends more time in meetings than breathing, it’s de novo!

Jacquelyn: I think this feature isn’t necessarily something that has been asked for, but it would be helpful. Kind of like when I order takeout, I don’t always think to get cutlery (it’s not always necessary), but when I do, I’m like, “Great! A fork! I don’t have to do dishes!”

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