U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has approached the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) commission about becoming a registered and fully licensed brokerage firm and online trading platform, reports the Wall Street Journal.
In a market that has suffered a serious blow since the start of 2018 for various reasons including regulatory headwinds, consumer doubts surrounding the integrity of trading systems, and questions surrounding the legitimacy of projects within the blockchain sector, the move by one of the world’s leading and most trusted platforms signals a new direction that could soon have a meaningful impact on building trust and credibility with mainstream retail investors and large investment funds.
The step would allow Coinbase to expand the group of assets it offers to include digital tokens that the SEC has argued are securities and could put pressure on other cryptocurrency trading venues to submit to U.S. oversight
“The assets that we do list have all had some amount of regulatory certainty,” Coinbase President Asiff Hirji said on CNBC on Thursday. “As soon as there is more regulatory clarity than there currently is you would expect us to start listing more assets.”
In the last several weeks Coinbase has announced the addition of token support to their platform, including ERC20 and Bitcoin forks.
In March the company introduced what some have dubbed the “Dow Jones” of cryptocurrency – an index (Coinbase Index / CBI) designed to track the most popular cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. Coinbase also plans to introduce funds similar to stock-based Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) that would let investors purchase a basket of cryptocurrencies.
With over 100 million potential investors sitting on the sidelines worldwide and a mountain of money waiting to move into the cryptocurrency sector, Coinbase’s product offerings appear to be geared for mass market adoption of digital assets as investment vehicles.