Coinbase has announced that they are looking to add four new digital assets to their range of digital products.
Currently users of the largest crypto-fiat portal can trade only Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin, four of the largest cryptocurrencies. Users have been speculating for months that more assets would be added, with the news that the company had acquired decentralized Paradex exchange further stimulating the rumours. The announcement was allegedly made to both the public and the Coinbase team at the same time, as part of an ongoing effort to improve transparency.
According to the blog post, Coinbase is exploring adding Cardano, Basic Attention Token, Stellar Lumens, Zcash and 0x. All five projects are highly popular in the cryptocurrency community, however the list excludes OmiseGO, a frontline project many were expecting to be included. The assets were selected according to Coinbase’s recently published Digital Asset Framework.
The addition to the Coinbase exchange could be big news for these projects, as many cryptocurrency investors are only familiar with the Coinbase service and are uncomfortable venturing to other exchanges. When Bitcoin Cash was added it rose in price by 300%, an event which took place with zero public warning and drew criticisms of insider trading. It was damaging for Coinbase’s public image, and apparently the aspirational company is seeking to avoid future troubles by raising transparency.
What do we know about the currencies being added?
The Cardano protocol was created by Charles Hoskinson, one of the co-founders of Ethereum. Cardano’s Bitcoin-like Settlement Layer (CSL) mainnet is live and it has a functional wallet for its built-in ADA cryptocurrency. It has also taken a different technical direction from other blockchains on several axes, like its Ouroboros proof-of-stake algorithm, its use of Haskell, and its focus on formal verification. While Cardano’s Computation Layer (CCL) is not yet live, the project has published long-term roadmaps, has shipped working software, and appears to have a growing community.
Basic Attention Token (BAT)
Stellar Lumens (XLM)
Stellar is an open-source protocol for value exchange developed by Stanford CS professor David Mazieres, Rust language author Graydon Hoare, and Jed McCaleb. Lumens (XLM) are the native asset of the Stellar network. Stellar’s consensus protocol is different from proof-of-work in that it allows and requires individual nodes to choose the set of other nodes they trust as a group (a “quorum slice”) to give them accurate information about the state of the Stellar network. Stellar allows for the creation of anchors that can issue assets, use bridge servers to interface with existing banks, and follow Stellar’s compliance protocol. Initially funded by Stripe, Stellar’s board members include Khosla Ventures partner Keith Rabois, Stripe cofounder Patrick Collison, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, YCombinator President Sam Altman, MIT DCI head Joi Ito, and AngelList founder Naval Ravikant.
Zcash is a cryptocurrency which uses recent advances in cryptography to allow users to protect the privacy of transactions at their discretion. The distinction between Zcash’s “transparent” and “shielded” 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 see metadata associated with the communication or transaction, while the encrypted/shielded version protects this information. The Zcash protocol has been live since 2016 and the development team has published technical improvements that may reduce the memory consumption associated with transaction privacy by 98%.
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