Kraken Trolls Coinbase — Who Ordered The Code Red?
July 15, 2018 by Paul de Havilland
In an apparent attempt to mock Coinbase’s announcement that it is considering adding five more cryptocurrencies to its suite, Kraken tweeted that it may add support for over 1600 new coins. But why?
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Coinbase Might Add a Few Good Lumens
As reported by Bitsonline’s William Peaster last week, Coinbase announced on July 13th that it had begun exploring the possibility of adding “several new assets” to its cryptocurrency slate. The assets in question are 0x (ZRX), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Cardano (ADA), Stellar Lumens (XLM), and Zcash (ZEC).
Today we are announcing that we’re exploring the addition of the following assets to Coinbase: Cardano (ADA), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Stellar Lumens (XLM), Zcash (ZEC) and 0x (ZRX). https://t.co/qoECyR0V1f
— Coinbase (@coinbase) July 13, 2018
In typical Coinbase fashion, it pointedly refused to guarantee the additions, citing the need to conduct “additional exploratory work” and remain compliant with suspicious regulators. As Peaster pointed out, the company was quite guarded in its blog post announcing the news.
The San Francisco-based giant listed a range of conditions, disclaimers, and potential outcomes — such as the ability to buy and sell but not send the new currencies to an external wallet and the coins’ possible unavailability in certain jurisdictions — that would render listing them at all practically pointless.
Coinbase Shifts Focus From Retail to Institutional Investors
Coinbase has perhaps forgotten that its history of carrot-dangling, its extremely limited line-up of cryptos, and its eagerness to court U.S. securities regulators makes it little more than a fiat on-ramp to bitcoin, from which hodlers and traders move on to binance or OKEx. Coinbase’s relative impotence as a centralized exchange for individual crypto enthusiasts is explained by ambitions that far outnumber its meager line-up of crypto assets.
It announced a venture capital arm, Coinbase Ventures, in April of this year, which it plans will help fund crypto and blockchain startups. The same month it reportedly began talks with the SEC on becoming a licensed brokerage firm. GDAX was rebranded Coinbase Pro in May, just as the company created a suite of products with institutional investors in mind: a liquidity pool in Coinbase Markets, a trading platform in Coinbase Prime, and the Coinbase Institutional Coverage group, which offers white-glove services to institutional clients meandering into crypto.
Those changes followed the announcement of its Coinbase Custody services aimed at large holders of crypto assets. It also successfully received an e-money license from the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority and created a point-of-sale solution for merchants in Coinbase Commerce. Coinbase, armed with its crypto-fueled war chest, is aggressively sliding into mainstream financial services.
Kraken Can’t Handle the Truth, Still Ordered the Code Red
Kraken, a fellow resident of San Francisco, met with a series of malicious attacks throughout 2017. In January this year, it closed its exchange for fifty-four hours to perform upgrades it said would take two, leaving traders anxious. It also announced its intended departure from Japan by June, citing rising costs. Ironically, it closed its Japanese doors in the same month Coinbase moved into the country.
As Coinbase rises as an institutional-level player in the cryptocurrency and wider financial services arenas, it has been forced to abandon some of its customers — Wikileaks and CheapAir being two widely cited examples. Its posture of compliance-readiness contrasts starkly with Kraken’s of defiance. The latter recently rejected the New York Attorney General’s request for customer data (with which Coinbase incidentally complied).
Per Coinmarketcap, Coinbase Pro and Kraken rank 24th and 25th respectively for daily trading volume. Coinbase’s movement away from being a pure cryptocurrency exchange makes its plans to consider adding support for new cryptocurrencies perplexing. Kraken’s trolling response reached new heights of senseless audacity, even by crypto standards:
Exciting and important revelation for the community today. Kraken has been contemplating the exploration of maybe adding over 1600 new coins, pending the outcome of our highly sophisticated review process. For a glimpse of the possibilities: https://t.co/dmfd5yr48s
— Kraken Exchange (@krakenfx) July 14, 2018
When Bloomberg News took aim at Kraken for unusual USDT trading patterns on the exchange in early July, it responded ferociously, especially considering it is the exchange from which Bloomberg Terminal gets its crypto price data. Kraken’s sense of humor appears to have returned. And it has always been a rather mercurial beast. But its motives for the trolling remain even more elusive than Coinbase’s for looking to add new currencies.
Have your say. What do you make of Kraken’s brazen trolling of Coinbase?
Images via Pixabay, Wikipedia