Coinbase Announces Major Policy Shift for Listing Expansion

The US-based cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, released an official announcement on September 25th regarding a change in listing policy for new digital assets hoping to significantly expand their range of digital tokens exchanged on the platform. The new policy allows any user to apply for a listing form provided online, which assesses the validity of new and emerging digital currencies under the exchange’s crypto guidelines. For currencies that fall in line with those selected criteria are eligible for being listed on the exchange, however, remain subject to availability for all Coinbase users.  


New listings will also be framed around regions and added to the list of tradable digital assets based on local regulations. This system is entirely new to the exchange as it previously provided all listed digital currencies to their global audience. In this sense, select digital tokens will not be available to traders in countries that follow strict regulations prohibiting them or remain uncertain about their legal status.

This shift in listing policy is a significant move forward for digital asset developers now offered the ability to potentially expose new cryptos to mainstream audiences. However, it's important to note that the company plans to charge fees for applying in addition to listing fees associated with approved cryptocurrencies. The total amount of these fees remain undeclared however are expected to be within a reasonable price range. Such fees are in place to avoid the occurrence of spams, whereas listing fees are designed to cover associated costs Coinbase will face to evaluate and maintain new cryptos’ commercial potential.

Coinbase’s Chief Technology Officer, Balaji Srinivasan, explained that the exchange will evaluate new and emerging cryptocurrencies on a global or regionally selective basis based on two major listing criteria, legal regulations, and demand within the market.

Regional Compliance Structure

The exchange has moved into uncharted waters concerning a jurisdiction-based digital asset listing, as such a system breaks the mold in terms of the way most crypto exchanges run today. Such a policy is guaranteed to complicate the exchange’s current mode of operations, as a restricted listing process will require the company to ensure users only take part in trading digital currencies that comply with local governments. The CTO explicitly stated that Coinbase has every intention of performing the necessary steps to abide by all local regulations, which may result in utilizing user ID information in addition to associated IP addresses.

Policy Shift Sparks Relevant User Questions

This new system has stirred many questions that remain unanswered regarding Coinbase’s policy shift and how that might affect the platform’s users. For example, if users were to travel from one region to another, will this result in the loss of assets or prohibited access to previously held digital currencies? Another major issue concerning pro-privacy users pertains to the exchange’s decision to block the use of VPNs. For users who travel to regions such as China where the use of VPNs is necessary to access regular websites, this change in policy can cause significant user unrest. Equally troubling, the concept of charging specific listing fees to developers and teams may not sit well with the greater digital community particularly since the topic of unnecessarily high fees have been a hot topic of controversy within the industry.

In response to the topic of required fees, the founder of Swatt Exchange, Marshall Swatt, responded to queries from CoinDesk, stating that such listing fees are in fact an industry standard and a major aspect of successfully operating a crypto exchange. He explained that the costs associated with onboarding new digital assets are extremely high with no way to sustain such losses. For each new blockchain that is added, an exchange faces more risks. He declared himself in favor of requesting such fees even if that means allowing the market to set rates, agree on flat fees, or any other appropriate arrangement necessary to satisfy both parties.

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