Friday, December 14, 2018


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A visual representation of the digital cryptocurrency, XRP.

S3studio | Getty Images
A visual representation of the digital cryptocurrency, XRP.

XRP fans may finally get what they’ve loudly been calling for on Twitter and Reddit.

said Friday it’s considering adding a broad range of assets, which includes the second largest cryptocurrency, XRP.

“We are continuing to explore the addition of new assets, and will be working with local banks and regulators to add them in as many jurisdictions as possible,” Coinbase said in a blog post Friday.

Earlier this year, the company updated its framework for how it judges whether or not to add a new cryptocurrency. It lists certain objective factors like security, compliance and other less tangible ones like if a project aligns with Coinbase’s “mission of creating an open financial system for the world.”

To be sure, all of the 30 assets still require significant exploratory work from both a technical and compliance standpoint. The company did not guarantee that all the assets will ultimately be listed for trading. Other digital currencies under consideration include EOS, Cardano, Stellar, Tezos, ChainLink, Mainframe and Dai.

Source: Coinbase

XRP, the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, had notably been left off of Coinbase’s small but growing list of options. Fans of the cryptocurrency constantly call for its addition to Coinbase, which many say would boost volume and as a result, prices.

The speculation reached a fever pitch in March ahead of an appearance by Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and Coinbase President and Chief Operating Officer Asiff Hirji on CNBC’s “Fast Money.” The two executives were scheduled to appear in separate, unrelated interviews.

Still, the cryptocurrency spiked 10 percent that day on rumors on Twitter and reports by other news outlets that XRP would finally make its debut on Coinbase. There was no such announcement.

Working with the regulators

Coinbase, recently valued at $8 billion, like most other crypto start-ups has been on high alert to stay on the right side of regulation.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has repeatedly warned cryptocurrency founders that initial coin offerings, aside from bitcoin and ether, are classified as securities and have to register accordingly.

In November, the SEC had its first settlement with an exchange for not registering with the agency. In addition to settling with crypto exchange EtherDelta, it also settled its first civil penalties solely for initial coin offering, or ICO, for a registration violation.

San Francisco-based payment company Ripple, which owns roughly 60 percent of the XRP in existence and uses it for its cross-border payments products, has been in talks with Coinbase since at least April about adding the cryptocurrency. But whether or not XRP was a security, and its regulatory status was never discussed, Ripple’s chief market strategist Cory Johnson told CNBC at the time.

Right now, Coinbase lists nine cryptocurrencies in the United States, up from just four options earlier this year.

After notching a record high of $3.84 in January, XRP has pulled back significantly to around 29 cents, according to CoinMarketCap.com. It was down 10 percent Friday as bitcoin dropped to a 15-month low.

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