Coinbase Explores Adding Dozens of Altcoins for Custody, XRP Included

Leading U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is mulling the expansion of its custody platform to include approximately three dozen altcoins, a sign that it is anticipating more institutional investor capital. Among the coins being added to custody is XRP, which investors have anxiously been awaiting access to on the exchange’s trading platform. But Coinbase made clear that “this announcement has no bearing on trading-based products,” leaving traders back where they started in their push for greater access.

Coinbase walks a slippery slope with the addition of new assets, as it was blamed for alleged insider trading in the rollout of Bitcoin Cash. In the custody announcement, the exchange carefully worded its actions, maintaining that it “has not yet considered these assets for trading.” A list of the digital currencies that Coinbase wants to add can be found here in an announcement by Coinbase Custody Product Lead Sam McIngvale.

Coinbase can’t be too careful, as even today The Wall Street Journal reported about scams that affecting trading on major cryptocurrency exchanges, including the likes of Binance, the Journal story reveals. According to their analysis, which involved scouring “trading data and online communications among traders,” nearly 200 pump-and-dump schemes involving $825 million in trades unfolded across more than 100 coins in 2018 through July 31.

It’s a type of scam that the U.S. SEC has warned investors about, and the Journal documents an apparent quick and sharp increase in the price of coins followed by a similarly sharp and quick decline. Trading groups like Big Pump Signal are reportedly using popular crypto platforms like Telegram to pump a little-known coin, after which time the curious trading begins.

Coinbase Lack of Effect

Clearly, Coinbase’s announcement did little to bolster the mood of the broader cryptocurrency market, which has been trading in the doldrums all weekend. One of the standout altcoins has been Ethereum Classic (ETC), which is only up fractionally in the last 24-hour period but yesterday was up by a double-digit percentage. Coinbase is in the midst of testing the integration of ETC onto its trading platform, which is something traders want more of and are willing to celebrate.

Meanwhile, reports earlier this year revealed that Ripple was trying to buy its way onto U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and Gemini to no avail. While regulators cleared bitcoin and Ethereum from being designated as securities, they stopped short of including the third largest cryptocurrency in their decision, which suggests that they may be leaning toward a security classification for the coin in which Ripple is the majority investor.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Gerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.