Coinbase is trying to establish itself as a mainstream gateway to the world of cryptocurrency, a place to routinely deposit paychecks, expense reimbursements and tax refunds.
On Thursday, the company started a direct deposit program with the software company TurboTax to send state and federal tax refunds to Coinbase accounts, with the option to automatically convert dollars into cryptocurrency, the DealBook newsletter reports.
“We’ve seen a rise in alternative investments, in a new class of investors beyond just high-income earners,” said Randy Hellman of TurboTax’s investor segment.
Coinbase sees itself as an “on-ramp” to the crypto economy. It wants to make things easy for people by offering direct deposits of all kinds, said the company’s head of product, Prakash Hariramani.
Coinbase just finished the rollout of a paycheck program in the United States, with Mayor Eric Adams of New York naming the company in a statement on converting his first mayoral income from dollars to crypto. Coinbase also lets people direct corporate expense reimbursements to their crypto accounts.
But holding a digital currency like, say, Dogecoin isn’t the same as having a dollar. Given crypto’s high volatility, even enthusiastic early adopters of these sorts of services are proceeding with caution.
“The education piece is really critical,” said Sally Shin, who leads strategy at the music distributor United Masters, which is working through the initial phases of a partnership with Coinbase to design a crypto payment program for employees and artists.