On July 13, Coinbase announced that it will explore the addition of five new coins. They are exploring the addition of several new assets, and are working with local banks and regulators to add them in different jurisdictions.
The exchange is exploring the addition of the following assets: Cardano (ADA), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Stellar Lumens (XLM), Zcash (ZEC) and 0x (ZRX).
As such, the announcement was made internally and also addressed to the public to provide transparency with customers on support for future assets.
Unlike the ongoing addition process of Ethereum Classic (ETC), which is technically very similar to Ethereum (ETH), these assets will require additional exploratory work. Therefore, Coinbase cannot guarantee that they will be listed.
The listing process may result in some of these assets being listed solely for customers to buy and sell, without the ability to send or receive them using a local wallet.
It is also possible that certain forms of interaction with these assets may be permitted through the Coinbase portal. For example, only allow deposits and withdrawals of transparent Zcash addresses.
Some of these assets may be offered in other jurisdictions before being listed in the United States.
As part of the exploration process, Coinbase customers will be able to see APIs in front of the public and other indications that they are being carried out, such as engineering work to support these new assets. While the company is not committed to when exactly these assets will be available, it is committed to providing customers with updates on the process and what to expect through its blog and Twitter account.
For the time being, all Coinbase users should expect similar announcements about exploring the addition of multiple assets. Some of them may be available everywhere, while others may only be backed in specific jurisdictions.
All information about the new assets on the exploratory list can be found on their respective websites.
The reason Coinbase has decided to explore these assets so far is because they largely meet the criteria of the Digital Asset Framework. Therefore, many of the criteria will require communication with external parties for a full evaluation. However, they found remarkable features about each of these assets that are worth working with.
Cardano (ADA): The Cardano protocol was created by Charles Hoskinson, one of the co-founders of Ethereum. Cardano's main network, similar to Bitcoin Settlement Layer (CSL), is active and has a functional wallet for its integrated ADA cryptocurrency. It has also taken a different technical direction from other blockchains on several axes, such as its Ouroboros proof-of-stake algorithm, its use of Haskell, and its focus on formal verification. Although Cardano's Computation Layer (CCL) is not yet operational, the project has published long-term roadmaps, submitted software, and appears to have a growing community.
Stellar Lumens (XLM): Stellar is an open source protocol for value sharing developed by Stanford CS professor David Mazieres, language author Rust Graydon Hoare, and Jed McCaleb. Lumens (XLM) are the native asset of the Stellar network. The Stellar consensus protocol differs from the working test in that it allows and requires individual nodes to choose the set of other nodes they trust as a group (a “quorum slice”) to provide them with accurate information about the status of the Stellar network. Stellar allows the creation of anchors that can issue assets, use bridge servers to interact with existing banks and follow Stellar's compliance protocol. Initially funded by Stripe, Stellar's board members include Khosla Ventures partner Keith Rabois, Stripe co-founder Patrick Collison, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, YCombinator president Sam Altman, MIT DCI director Joi Ito and AngelList Naval founder Ravikant.
Zcash (ZEC): A cryptocurrency that uses the latest advances in cryptography to allow users to protect the privacy of transactions at their discretion. The distinction between transparent and protected Zcash transactions is analogous to the distinction between unencrypted HTTP and encrypted HTTPS. In both cases, the unencrypted/transparent version of the protocol allows third parties to view the metadata associated with the communication or transaction, while the encrypted/screened version protects this information. The Zcash protocol has been active since 2016 and the development team has published technical improvements that can reduce the memory consumption associated with privacy of transactions by 98%.
Coinbase is also working on the engineering to add the Ethereum Classic (ETC), and is proceeding as planned. They are ready to begin the next phase of work to explore adding more assets to the platform.
On the status of the incorporation of the ERC-20 tokens, they announced the general intention to work with these assets since March. The BAT and ZRX assets are the first specific ERC20-based tokens they are exploring to add to the platform.
One of the most frequently asked questions from the community is how they will decide in which countries they will launch these assets. The company has stated that regional support will depend on a case-by-case analysis that takes into account legal, compliance and other factors relevant to each jurisdiction. In some cases, users must wait until certain assets are available in other jurisdictions before coming to the United States.
On Coinbase's consideration of whether these assets are not securities under the laws of a particular country, the company states that these legal analyses are ongoing and will vary by jurisdiction. Since they only plan to release assets that comply with local laws, some assets may only be available in specific jurisdictions.
In an effort to be as open and transparent as possible, the exchange makes every effort to announce that its teams are exploring the feasibility of supporting more assets. This is consistent with the process of adding new assets. But unlike the Ethereum Classic (ETC), which is technically very similar to the Ethereum, these assets will require additional exploratory work that may result in one or more of them being listed only in specific jurisdictions, or not at all.
So far it is not known exactly which Coinbase platforms will support these assets. But they expect to offer support for every asset through the widest variety of products in every jurisdiction.