unifying banks & blockchains at coinbase – live blogging at qcon

Unifying Banks & Blockchains @Coinbase
Speaker: Jim Posen

See the list of all blog posts from the conference

Coinbase converts blockchain currency with traditional/fiat currency. Started doing that in 2012. Then added support for European banks in 2014. Then in 2015, added an Exchange.

In 2016, the Rails app was becoming a problem and the BitCoin logic started to degrade. Created first microservice at that point. Now support multiple currencies. Still maintain monolithic Rails app.


  • definition – Bitcoin is a scarce digital asset and a protocol for transfering the asset over the internet. “Email” is overloaded in two ways as well.
  • Public transactions ledger
  • About 30 minutes for transactions to clear – regardless of hours and holidays
  • Irreversible payments

Coinbase architecture

  • Uploads batch file daily to the originating depository financial institution (ODFI). Clears thorough ACH operator to receiving depository financial institution (RDFI) and receiver receives
  • The RDFI has 24 hours to return for insufficient funds
  • Then the receiver can challenge/return for up to 60 days – important consumer protection, but a challenge
  • Bitcoin uses gossip protocol where nodes talk to other nodes

More happened after I left. The session was good. I had a hard stop today and had to leave.

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