Here’s something that’s a big deal. Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase – arguably one of the biggest and most popular digital asset trading platforms in the United States – has announced that New York residents will have the option of trading, selling and purchasing units of XRP, the official cryptocurrency of digital coin company Ripple.
A Big Change of Heart
Why is this a big deal, you ask? For two reasons. First off, Ripple has often been scorned by Coinbase and other exchanges in the past that have sought to adhere to present security laws. Coinbase has often stated that it will never trade or sell anything that likely won’t qualify as a security either now or in the immediate future, so its attitude towards XRP has significantly changed.
Many consider XRP to be a centralized unit of currency, predominantly because most of the XRP units in circulation are still owned by Ripple executives including Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple. This ultimately defeats the purpose of cryptocurrency, which is designed to possess the opposite structure of a traditional bank or financial institution. With most of the units being owned by the “men in charge,” Ripple can be considered a centralized unit of finance.
In fact, Ripple recently faced a class-action lawsuit from several traders who insist that XRP was wrongfully portrayed and marketed as a decentralized asset.
The second reason is because only New York residents currently have access to Ripple’s XRP. Coinbase has been particularly open regarding its anti-New York attitude. To clarify, it’s not so much anti-New York as it is anti-BitLicense, which they claim places unusually high fees on crypto companies and traders and stifles innovation through its strict laws. Coinbase has since given in and obtained a BitLicense.
Many times, whenever Coinbase Pro has provided access to new coins for customers, the access is limited to regions outside the Big Apple. Coinbase has seemingly denied its services to many users in New York in the past, so this marks a huge change of heart for the billion-dollar enterprise.
What XRP Is Used For
Coinbase has released the following statement:
XRP is the cryptocurrency used by the XRP ledger, which supports international currency exchange and remittances. The ledger is powered by a network of peer-to-peer servers. All accounts on this network can send or receive XRP to and from each other, while XRP can be used to send underlying fiat currencies between two parties. In this way, XRP can function as a bridge currency in transactions involving different currencies such as US dollars, Japanese yen, Euros, Francs and others in use on the XRP network.
To be fair, XRP has been available to several users of Coinbase Pro, the exchange’s trading platform designed for both professional and institutional traders. This marks the first time that the currency will be available on the standard trading exchange.