There have been a lot of winners and a lot more losers in the rise (and fall and rise again and so on and so forth) of cryptocurrency. One clear winner has been Coinbase. With more than 12 million users, Coinbase is the biggest cryptocurrency platform in the country. The buzz surrounding the possible addition of new coins has been nonstop for much of the past year.
Most recently, the company announced that it is “exploring” the addition of five specific coins: Cardano (ADA), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Stellar Lumens (XLM), Zcash (ZEC), and 0x (ZRx). This is a pretty diverse group from use standpoint: Cardano is developing a smart contract platform; Basic Attention Token focuses on digital advertising in the Brave browser; Stellar Lumens is in the cross-border payments business; Zcash is a privacy coin; and, 0x hopes to offer a decentralized exchange for Ethereum tokens. Mass hysteria quickly ensued following this announcement.
Additional buzz surrounding Coinbase has arisen from its moves towards listing securitized tokens. Last week, there was a bit of an uproar over news that it had been “approved” by the SEC and FINRA to list tokenized securities. They quickly had to walk back or clarify the news because Coinbase itself has not received such approval--yet. Coinbase has, however, received approval from FINRA (and talked informally with SEC regulators) to move forward in its acquisition of a number of companies that would expand its current offerings in the general direction of listing securitized tokens.
Coinbase currently occupies the throne amongst us commoners in terms of U.S. cryptocurrency platforms. It is in hot pursuit of accredited investors (i.e., the bourgeois) and is working to gain regulatory approval to offer its own broker-dealer services. We also recently learned that it has secured a $20 billion hedge fund client for the digital asset custodian service it recently launched. Coinbase is also actively pursuing other hedge funds and rumors have arisen that it has plans to offer financing services by the end of the year. Coinbase is hard at work in making itself more attractive to institutional holders of digital assets, and institutions that have an interest in entering the cryptocurrency space.
And what’s a good business expansion plan without a complimentary government affairs strategy? Well, it’s a not a good business expansion plan. Enter: Coinbase’s political action committee (PAC). Late last week, documents were made public that showed that Coinbase created a PAC. And this is an election year. You do the math. Long live the king.