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Scaling Content at Coinbase



By Clay Kohut, Senior Software Engineer

TLDR: Over the past year, Coinbase has invested in tooling to eliminate static content across our web frontend. This is the story of how we did it and why it’s important.

Coinbase Learn(ed)

The Coinbase educational portal, Coinbase Learn, launched in late 2020. Learn contains hundreds of beginner guides, practical tutorials, and market updates and is maintained by a dedicated team of content editors.

Our engineers explored various options for powering Learn. Ideally, we wanted a solution that would allow us to seamlessly integrate content into the Coinbase logged out experience.

Hosted options for blog-like content such as Medium provided too little flexibility.

The WordPress framework was too opinionated and directly tied to the UI.

We ended up opting for a headless CMS, specifically Contentful. Contentful is a content platform that delivers a headless approach to content as well as backend extensibility to integrate with our preferred tools and ways of working. Being “headless” means the CMS is UI agnostic — it separates the content from the experience, simply providing structured JSON to the frontend, which allows for us to totally control the frontend experience.

Integrating with Contentful was simply a matter of creating data structures representing different types of content (via the Contentful UI) and then mapping those data structures to React components (which handled actually rendering the data)

Our initial CMS architecture

Donning the Flightsuit

With Coinbase Learn under our belt and the Coinbase Direct Public Offering (DPO) on the horizon, a cohesion initiative kicked off (deemed Project Flightsuit). Project Flightsuit sought to bring a cohesive look and feel across Coinbase logged out properties as well as enforcing design standards across newly created landing pages.

While investigating the state of the Coinbase product landing pages, we uncovered 40 product surfaces spread across 15 different repositories / frontend applications. The various frontends were built using a variety of technologies — everything from React with Typescript (our current standard) to legacy Ruby on Rails templates, to static HTML.

A peek of our “Page Architecture” overview document

Leveraging the Contentful integration initially set up for Coinbase Learn, we began to create a set of “blocks” which could be used to standardize landing page layouts (while aligning around our new brand guidelines).

“Blocks,” also known as content types, are high-level components which combine to create landing pages. For example, a “Hero” block might contain a “Title”, “Subtitle” and “CTA Button” in the CMS, which corresponds to a React component on the frontend.

A “Hero Block” data structure (left) and the corresponding React component (right)

By creating a thoughtful “Block-based system” (and reworking our existing landing pages to use this system), we were able to efficiently migrate nearly all landing pages to a single frontend application, powered by React, and integrated with Contentful.

Once the block system was in place, migrating pages was a relatively simple task of dragging / dropping various blocks via the Contentful UI, and redirecting the old page routes to the new, CMS-driven alternative.

1, 2, Automate

Post-Project Flightsuit, our team focused on improving the usability and resiliency of the CMS. A few lessons learned:

  1. Making the CMS easy-to-use for non-technical team members is extremely important. With our first pass at CMS landing pages, we had created some data structures with advanced features (such as generic layout creation) which were mostly only understood and serviceable by Engineers (thus defeating the main value prop of the CMS). We countered this by favoring editor experience above all else. By automating advanced features within Contentful wherever possible (such as automatically determining which layout would best suit a set of content), we could allow editors to focus on editing rather than building.
  2. By integrating with Contentful (a third party), our frontends became dependent upon Contentful’s uptime. Contentful has a very consistent track record of nearly 100% uptime, but this reliance was challenged when Contentful experienced two outages due to some widespread DNS issues. (To be fair to Contentful, these outages were also experienced by some of the world’s largest websites and were the only instances we’ve seen where Contentful was unavailable). To ensure availability of our higher visibility pages (such as our homepage), we determined the best path forward was to introduce a reverse API proxy which leverages the stale-if-error header, in order for our CDN to serve cached content if the upstream call happens to fail. This allows us to stay up even if the CMS goes down (for X number of days).
Above: Our CMS architecture before and after adding the cached reverse proxy

3. Training new engineering teams on working with and extending the CMS was a primary focus. My team had become the sole source of knowledge of an increasingly-used system and were often sourced to onboard new engineers to the system on a one-off basis. To better spread the knowledge of the framework, we developed the CMS Ambassador Program, which aimed to train and bring together subject matter experts for the CMS throughout the company. The program begins with a 1.5 hour structured workshop where attendees learn the ins and outs of integrating with the CMS. While this program is currently driven in real-time and onboarding sessions are held as-needed, we are currently in the process of converting this to a self-service course via an internal training tool.

A snapshot of our internal CMS Ambassador workshop

Key Results

As 2021 comes to a close, we’re proud to look back at how far we’ve come over the past year. Here is the progress we’ve seen after successfully implementing our company-wide CMS:

  • Landing page creation time reduced from an average of 2 weeks to less than one day.
  • Content change turnaround time reduced from an hour-long process of code change/review/merge/deploy to under 10 mins, and without engineering involvement.
  • By the end of year, 90% of all top level surfaces will be covered. This means that nearly all top-level, logged out product surfaces on Coinbase will be powered via Contentful by end of year.

These efficiency gains have been achieved thanks largely to our leadership’s investment in infra and developer tooling. Coinbase truly cares about engineering excellence, developer experience, and automating routine processes.

We also couldn’t have achieved this without the hard work of some astoundingly thoughtful, talented individuals (each of whom I’m incredibly proud to work with):

  • Leon Haggarty, Askat Bakyev, João Melo, Stephen Lee, Wilhelm Willie, Bryant Gallardo, Guiherme Luersen, Raymond Sohn, Leonardo Zizzamia, Christopher Nascone (Eng)
  • Bobby Rasmusson, Russ Ballard (Product)
  • Ananth Chandrasekharan, Goutham Buchi, Manish Gupta (EVP of Eng)

We’re all excited to enter 2022 with a shiny, unified frontend and minimal one-off content change requests on the horizon. If you’re interested in joining Coinbase, check out our Careers page here. Here’s to a happy new year!

Scaling Content at Coinbase was originally published in The Coinbase Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Why Gold Is Beating Bitcoin In 2022



Bitcoin continues to underperform as a general “risk-off” sentiment has investors driving toward gold as a safe haven asset.

Not Risking It

Concerns about the Russo-Ukrainian war continue. The U.S. inflation struggles at a four-decade high and Fed rate hike fears prevail. The uncertainty extends to the world economy as a recession is expected instead of a recovery. The IMF’s managing director Kristalina Georgieva called it “a crisis on top of a crisis.”

“The war is a supply shock that reduces economic output and raises prices. Indeed, we forecast inflation will accelerate to 5.5 percent in advanced economies and to 9.3 percent in emerging European economies excluding Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. ” The IMF stated last week.

Reuters recently quoted Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann, who talked in a note about the factors that have “lent buoyancy to gold in recent days,” mentioning the “strong buying interest on the part of ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) investors” and news about the Ukraine war.

“Russia appears to be preparing to launch a major offensive in the east of the country – that is generating considerable demand for gold as a safe haven,” the analyst said.

This summarizes the “risk-off” sentiment at the moment. As expected, equities suffer as investors are selling risky assets and purchasing the ones negatively correlated to the traditional market. Thus, the crypto space is struggling alongside de stocks market and gold is rising.

Bitcoin Outperformed By Gold

Data from Arcane Research’s latest weekly report notes that it has been a gloomy year for the “digital gold.” In the first three weeks of 2022, Bitcoin sank 25% and it is still down by 18% in the year despite its slight recovery.

Similarly, Nasdaq records a 19% decline in the year, having underperformed against bitcoin “by a small margin,” notes the report, adding that “This is surprising given that bitcoin has tended to follow Nasdaq, albeit with higher volatility.”

The general fear over geopolitical and macroeconomic uncertainty has given gold the safe-haven asset spotlight once more. The asset outperformed all the other indexes seen below with a 4% gain.

Physical gold outperforming “digital gold” in 2022 | Source: Arcane Research

Meanwhile, the currency market is performing with “the same risk-off patterns.” The Dollar has been proving its “risk-off” dominance as the US Dollar Index (DXY) is up 7%. The Chinese yuan has taken a hit over concerns about the country’s “zero-covid” policy –which creates issues for the global supply chain– and the slowing down Chinese economy. In contrast, investors have been running to the US Dollar for safety.

Bitcoin supporters usually refer to the coin as “digital gold” alleging it is a safe haven asset, and this narrative had held well while BTC had been “uncorrelated with most other major asset classes,” but the tide is shifting with the 2022 scenario as investors are rather placing the coin “into the risk-on basket”.

A previous Arcane Research report indicated that bitcoin’s 30 -day correlation with the Nasdaq is revisiting July 2020 highs while its correlation with gold has reached all-time lows.

A pseudonym traded noted that “As Bitcoin adoption goes on and more institutional investors enter the market, the correlation of BTC and stocks becomes more and more tight. That is a paradigm that the crypto world struggled to come to terms with in the past but is now more real than ever. A healthy stock market is good for Bitcoin.”

Meanwhile, the general sentiment of traders seems to be bearish, with many saying that the coin could visit the $30k level soon.

Bitcoin trading at $39k in the daily chart | BTCUSD on

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Attendees talk the future of NFTs



The crypto community headed to Nassau in the Bahamas this week for the inaugural Crypto Bahamas conference.

Like most conferences, panels fill up the agenda and on Wednesday the topics at Crypto Bahamas ranged from NFTs to crypto in sports and to asset allocation in Web3. During one particular conversation, titled Evolution of NFTs: Culture, Utility and Regulation, panelists had some insightful musings on the NFT market.

To put the Crypto Bahamas conference into context, Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange FTX moved its headquarters from Hong Kong to the Bahamas in Sept. 2021. It recently inked a multi-year partnership with Anthony Scaramucci’s investment firm SkyBridge Capital, and its events arm SkyBridge Alternatives, or SALT. They jointly presented the conference.

That’s why the NFT panel consisted of multiple perspectives from Tristan Yver, head of strategy at FTX U.S., Joseph Doll, attorney at Fenwick law firm, Roham Gharegozlou, the chief executive officer at Dapper Labs, and Sarah Hammer, the managing director of The Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance at The Wharton School. Zack Guzman, writer for the Meta-owned newsletter platform Bulletin, moderated.

Gharegozlou pointed out how new the NFT market truly is when “most people have only been thinking about it for a year and a half,” making valuations “very immature.” As the CEO of Dapper Labs, the company behind NBA Top Shot,  Gharegozlou recognized that “utility, rewards and the how you value and NFT is primarily based on the strength of that of the community.”

He added that a good way for an NFT collection to build a strong community is to have multiple tiers of scarcity. In the case of NBA Top Shot, at the higher price end there is extreme scarcity, but there are also millions of “common” moments so that people can “get their first NFT and see how it feels without breaking the bank.” 

Tristan Yver echoed that the current valuation and pricing model for NFTs is based on a collective perception on value based on the amount of people willing to buy an asset for a certain amount. He anticipated a “movement away from this consensus view to a more unique singular view where people buy things that resonate with them rather than what resonates with a larger community.”

Joseph Doll chimed in to say that “communities need to be thoughtful about democratizing access.” There are some “massive” barriers to entry to certain projects, he said, including not being early enough or not having enough capital at the time. He questioned, “That’s not what crypto is about, right? It’s kind of about the exact opposite of that.” Democratization, he suggested, can come in the form of derivative projects at better price points.

Another important point brought up by Yver was the reality of scams, especially on Discord and Twitter. He said that “we need to move past security aspects to be able to really bring in the next large mass of users.” He recommended talking among family and friends or asking a Discord moderator to make sure “you click the right link when minting that NFT” because “wallet security sucks right now.”

Gharegozlou even said that Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, should use Web3 to fix Twitter’s fraud problem, just as Discord should use Web3 authentication and verification as well. “Once NFT’s are the sort of identity bridge across all these different social networks, identity and assets, authenticity, provenance,” then the system can be more resilient he added.

When asked what “main alpha” the audience should bear in mind, Doll said to engage with and be part of these NFT communities even if it’s “scary,” because getting scammed is a “part of the journey.”

Sarah Hammer, who leads the Cypher Accelerator at Wharton business school, said that the school is launching an incubator specifically for NFT projects in partnership with Dapper Labs because the “NFT model is a business model for the future.” She emphasized that the greatest way to grow and innovate in the space is to increase education efforts in order to get more people learning and working together.

Related: Goldman Sachs reportedly eyes FTX alliance with regulatory and public listing assistance

Recently the Bahamian government allowed residents to use digital assets, including the world’s first central bank digital currency, or CBDC, to pay for taxes in 2022.