The cryptocurrency service Coinbase announced on Monday night it would add a fifth digital asset—known as Ethereum Classic—to its trading platform in coming months.
The announcement, which came in a Coinbase blog post, saw the price of Ethereum Classic spike from around $13 to over $16 in the hour after the news was announced. As of late Monday night ET, the price hovered around $15.50.
Here’s a screenshot courtesy of the price-tracking site CoinMarketCap:
Ethereum Classic is an off-shoot of the better known Ethereum, and was created in 2016 by a faction of developers who objected to a modification of the original cryptocurrency. It is currently the 18th most valuable digital currency and its market cap of approximately $1.5 billion is dwarfed by that of Ethereum ($53.3 billion) and of Bitcoin ($117.8 billion).
Coinbase, which currently offers four digital currencies (Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin) says it is working on the technical integration for Ethereum Cash, and its launch will occur in the near future:
As part of this process, customers can expect to see public-facing APIs and other signs that the asset is being added. When we reach the final testing phase of the technical integration, which we expect to occur over the next few months, we will publicly announce a launch date for trading via our blog and Twitter (Step 5).
The news came amid long-standing speculation that Coinbase, which is the most popular trading service the U.S., would add new assets.
While other exchanges offer a wider selection of digital currencies to trade, Coinbase has elected to proceed cautiously while regulators evaluate the legal status of the currencies. The Securities and Exchange Commission has made it clear it regards many digital tokens as securities that must be registered—it appears unlikely, though, that long-standing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum fall in this category.
Coinbase said it took measures to ensure insiders did not have an early opportunity to trade on the news, which is what critics say occurred when the company added Bitcoin Cash to its platform.
“We followed our public process for adding new assets to Coinbase. Also, any personnel at Coinbase who were aware of the company’s plans to add Ethereum Classic were subject to a trading blackout,” the company said in the blog post.
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