Coinbase to Congress; More Clarity not Regulation Needed

Coinbase spokesman Mike Lempres told a congressional hearing that more regulation would only add to the confusion of the hodgepodge regulatory statues which already exist.

Coinbase Asks for Clarity

The House Financial Committee held a hearing entitled “Examining the Cryptocurrencies and ICO Markets.” yesterday. This was the first hearing that members of Congress specifically addressed the crypto market as reported by Forbes.

Paramount to the hearings, mandate was to examine existing regulation of the markets and establish whether there is sufficient oversight. Among those invited to testify was Mike Lempres ,chief legal and risk officer for the San Francisco based exchange Coinbase.

Lembres took the position that there is no need for further regulation but a dire need for clarification of the regulatory bodies in charge now. Pointing out that Coinbase is subject to numerous regulators at the state level including the SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in addition to meeting the different licensing requirements in 38 states.

Lambres went on to chart the confusion between meeting regulations by saying.

“Today’s environment calls to mind the parable of the blind mice and the elephant – each agency looks at tokens from its own narrow perspective: the SEC says these assets, particularly ICO’s, are probably securities; the CFTC says tokens are commodities, unless they are securities; the IRS says they are property; FinCEN says tokens are money; and other agencies see tokens through their own lens.”

Lambert went on to explain that Coinbase only trades four currencies (Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin) because they have all be solidly determined to be currency and not securities.

“We are studiously avoiding listing tokens that could be determined to be securities because we are not currently licensed to trade securities and cannot take the risk of inadvertently trading an asset that is later found to be a security,” he said.

Congressional Voices For and Against.

The most outspoken critic of the cryptocurrency market was Democratic Rep. from California Brad Sherman who summed up all of the complexity of Bitcoin and like currency as ‘a scam’.

He went on to paint a picture of traders sitting around in their pajamas with dreams of becoming overnight millionaires. Also of terrorists and criminals sending money around the world to fuel their empires. Near the end relenting to say that perhaps one percent of the time a useful business comes out of it.

To balance that Rep. Tom Emmer, a member of the congressional blockchain caucus, said that the innovation from blockchain technology happening in America is something both democrats and republicans should get behind; “I hear elected officials who don’t have any concept of what we’re dealing with here and how exciting it is, talking about how we got to regulate and create more government infrastructure.”

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Today, under Chairman Rep. Bill Huizenga of Michigan, the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, & Investment held a hearing (watch it here on Youtube) entitled “Examining the Cryptocurrencies and ICO Markets.” The primary focus of the hearing was to further facilitate dialogue between crypto-industry insiders and lawmakers.

Hearing: Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, & Investment

After an introduction by Chairman Huizenga, the four panellists — academic and industry insiders — read their opening remarks. The rest of the hearing saw these panellists yield questions from the subcommittee members. Members of the panel were as follows: Mike Lempres, Chief Legal and Risk Officer at Coinbase, Dr. Chris Brummer, Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, Robert Rosenblum of Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich, & Rosati, and Peter Van Valkenburgh, Director of Research at Coin Center.

The main question at hand regarding regulation in the U.S. is who’s going to do it — the SEC or CFTC — and which laws apply. Despite speaking for over two hours, the answer to this question is still not completely clear. But that said, this was the first hearing of its kind and there are to more come: Chairman Huizenga closed the day by declaring optimistically that it was more of “a hello than a goodbye.” 

The majority of the topics discussed revolved around the regulatory parameters in place in the U.S. today, and what those need to look like moving forward to accommodate the crypto space. In discussing this issue more broadly, topics such as how to deal with ICOs, the problems surrounding state and federal agency overlap, and wallet and asset security were touched on too.

Differing Viewpoints

Despite a wide array of perspectives  — with one subcommittee member going as far as calling cryptocurrencies a “crock” and inferring that crypto-enthusiasts were just unemployed men in their pajamas sitting on couches — when the dust settled, many members seemed to have similar ideas in mind: striking a balance between oversight and the accommodation of technological innovation.

Rep. Maloney, a ranking Democrat on the subcommittee from New York, announced that she is working on a cryptocurrency oversight bill that would cover exchanges that offer trading services for digital assets. And Chairman Huizenga also announced his intention to pursue some kind of legislative action, saying: “This panel, this Congress is not going to sit by idly with a lack of protection for investors.”

The issue of exactly how to balance regulation was contended. One particular standout was Minnesota’s Rep. Tom Emmer, who said, “I find myself maybe not with my colleagues on some of this.” He went on to say: “I hear elected officials who don’t have any concept of what we’re doing here … talking about ‘we have to go in and regulate.’”

“I realize there has to be some regulation, but it’s the balance,” Emmer remarked. “And I’ve heard from the panel we have regulation in place but we just need clarity.”

Emmer’s views were closely aligned with a lot of what the panellists were expressing — arguing that more clarity is needed around the regulations in place today versus the imposition of new rules on the industry. His sentiments were mirrored by Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina, who argued that oversight in this area is something that the U.S. “has to get right.”

“Regulation in this space is something that the U.S. has to get right. Because poor or rushed policy in cryptocurrencies really threatens our reputation in finance and technology.”

Banks are slowly changing their opinion on cryptocurrencies. A few institutions still prefer to restrict access to this new form of money altogether. Barclays, on the other hand, has entered a partnership with Coinbase. As such, the popular cryptocurrency exchange now has a UK bank account which opens up a lot of new opportunities.

Barclays and Coinbase Team Up

People who have kept an eye on the cryptocurrency may have noticed there’s a lack of GBP support. Most non-UK exchanges seemingly prefer not to deal with GBP as we speak. It seems Coinbase is taking the completely opposite approach in this regard. By partnering with Barclays, the company becomes the first major partner for a UK bank.

The goal of this partnership is straightforward. Coinbase wants to make Bitcoin more accessible to British customers. With British lenders distancing themselves from Bitcoin in the past, this is a major milestone for the cryptocurrency industry. There is another benefit to this new partnership as well, though. Coinbase now also has an e-money license in the United Kingdom. As such, they can now benefit from the Faster Payments Scheme.

Making it easier and faster to deposit and withdraw money to and from Coinbase is always a positive change. Until now, UK users had to rely on an Estonian bank for these transactions. It is far from an ideal solution. With Barclays now on board, all of those problems have become a thing of the past. For now, the Faster Payments Scheme support will only roll out to a select group of users. Eventually, this feature will become accessible to all users across the UK.

The Purpose of the e-Money License

The biggest part of this new deal is how Coinbase now has an eMoney license. Coinbase can effectively issue e-money and offer payment services within the United Kingdom. Moreover, customer funds deposited to the exchange are separate from the company’s operational funds. This is a big step forward for the company and its users as a whole.

Even if the exchange were to halt its operations, customer funds will still remain accessible. This is not the same a shaving customer funds protected by a regulator, but it is a big step in the right direction. This new feature will certainly attract a lot of positive attention in the UK and even Europe. With the exchange meeting strict rules enforced by the FCA, the exchange is now legitimized even more.

How all of this will affect the company, remains to be seen. More specifically, the exchange has seen major growth prior to this announcement. With UK Bitcoin enthusiasts soon able to benefit from an optimal service, interesting things are bound to happen. Considering how Coinbase is the first exchange to incorporate the Faster Payments Scheme, they have a competitive edge over other UK-based exchanges.

My previous longer article was about the January Miami BTC conference and the promised follow up is Al Capone style criminally overdue. The event moved at breakneck speed and had such a driven, positive vibe. Dealing with the atomic aftermath took till now to become a cohesive-ish write up. In short, the journey was a f**k yes, as I tend to vulgarly state in social occasions seemingly inappropriate for the expression. I’ll keep this punchy.

Coming To My Senses

Having scored the perfect Airbnb place 5 minutes from the conference center (actual balcony view pic below), I was pumped to get going but jet-lagged beyond available bodily resources. Getting everything ready for a two fair trip, including an overnight ‘stay awake painting’ just before the flight, took its toll. The free flow whiskey pouring by my generous hosts was a welcome edge smoother but not too many before a 48hr crypto sprint. Right? The fleeting pleasure of alcohol was replaced by a sauna, jacuzzi, and a city view pool. I realised also that I was staying with people who run a high-end print place. This trip is going to roast like a Run The Jewels track.

Being new to blockchain conferences, the hunger for the next new thing felt all around was inspiring. No joke. The integration solutions to the ‘real world’ in service prospects or made human connections were a much-needed chilli infusion for the brain. Much respect for Keynote for sponsoring the booth and helping me get physically visible in the scene.

Out of talking so much, my voice blew out halfway conference. At one point I got badly distracted from talking to a Coin Telegraph guy due to another conversation starting with a couple who represent the graffiti artist Banksy. Apologetic as I was about it to him upon this dawning on me, it was a good problem to have. It felt like being able to charge my phone from the surrounding air alone.

Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

The buzz around my booth gave me a sense that I’m really onto something with crypto art. It’s nothing short from being able to tell the story of a vast societal change in visual form. To uniquely communicate it to insiders and outsiders alike. One of the chance encounters was Eben Pagan popping by the space with his lovely wife Annie Lalla. It was a strange moment, as I must have spent thousands of hours with his material since 2004 and he hadn’t a clue the other way around. I rarely loose my cool but embarrassingly enough, this was one of those times. Appropriately so I think.

Far too many memories struggling with childhood trauma, depression, figuring out relationships and finding my way in life in general came flooding in talking to him. During those times, the abundance of value Eben delivered to my life through video seminars was a 100% unparalleled. There is no way my other platform Artevo, the LUX project nor my engagement would have happened without the influence his work had on me.

Some people in the crypto space, who think Lambos are the answer, could greatly benefit from his ‘ManTransformation’ program for example. There is a bunch of millionaires within the community still living their ‘Sweet 16’ at 30 and beyond – during global crisis times. Some really need to wake the hell up to smell the ‘more to life than a bit of money’ monologue. As he came to my booth space, I interrupted him eating a sandwich by asking: “Eben Pagan. What are you doing here?” He simply replied: “I’m eating”. Glad to know he is into crypto and I’ll make a better first impression next time.

Eben, Annie and their daughter in Miami.

The Emerging Collector Class

The nr.1 “T(r)opical – Gold Edition” piece, central to the booth picture, was sold to the striking model Gabriella Katia and her entrepreneur husband Matt Crown via Litecoin. By chance encounters, the three of us would all later on end up at a club for a night out. I’d spent a full month working my ass off to be ready for the trip and the official business of the conference was done. It was time to let loose before the coming AFL fair.

Matt & Gabriella

The other awesome person at the afterparty, clearly responsible for me drinking straight from the vodka bottle at the end of the night, was my new collector Michael Jonsson. After mentioning this personal responsibility disclaimer I can admit to literally waking up with my boots still on the following morning. A true flashback to some 20 years ago at a University party in Newcastle. We decided to meet up on Miami Beach for some breakfast to follow up.

His Bitcoin 1/1 piece “Unblocked” is now safely in Toronto being float framed.

A Worthy And Relevant Sidenote

The whole trip was quite an investment so could’t hodl all the benefits. Now if only Coinbase would sort out their customer service I could actually use the converted money trapped behind their non-service lines. Anyone else have this with them or just me?

Bit rude to hold someone else’s money for over a month, not reply to emails and then ask them to ‘rate their service’ – if you are really asking. The survey request was two weeks ago and I’m yet to hear back from them. Ok. Enough complaining. Still with me? Golden nudity ahead.

A 5m$ Home Full of Art Anyone?

Next up was the Tranter-Sinni Gallery organised participation with Art Fort Lauderdale. This fair was our first collaboration with the gallery. They had a few of my large Artevo pieces in their multi-million dollar homes loaded full of art, facilitated a keynote spot and a temperature rising performance at the W Hotel titled ‘Kintsukuroi’.

Watch the performance here

It was rejuvenating to be in front of people performing again so felt it best midway through to drown my suit in gold paint, with a little help from a fellow performer Dayanis Mondeja.

Much love also to the phenomenal dancers of the other performance Carlos Torres and Evelyn Robaina. They did a more classical dance performance version of the same theme. The passionate professionalism of all three performers blew me away. Thanks also for Alexis Espejo at W Fort Lauderdale for facilitating this madness. The plan is to repeat these at crypto conferences all over the world. It’s appropriate as the blockchain is helping to fix money.

Youtube here.

Mom, I’m on TV.

The below segment of the Deco Drive TV show features the Artevo works, the houses and quite prominently, the back of my head. Both Evan Snow and Andrew Martineau did an ‘all in’ job getting this whole fair organised so props to those guys for pulling it off. Bring on AFL 2019.

Watch it here

Crypto Giveth and Crypto Taketh Away

And will likely soon giveth again. Some of you might have seen the previous announcement for the crypto art tour with 4NEW as the primary sponsor. Unfortunately, the recent events in crypto forced them to focus on their live ICO for now, so the mentioned tour is now open for a new main sponsor. 

I’ll be attending the crypto investor show this coming Saturday here in London regarding this. The tour is ready to take off and everything is in place with regards to the gallery and most locations. All that is needed is a funder ready to make some international waves with guaranteed traditional and blockchain press. On April 18th at 5pm I’ll also be presenting at the Ethereum London slot of the London Blockchain conference. Big ups for Stephan Tual for giving me my first crypto keynote opportunity. More to come this year as this fresh speaker page suggests.

2018 is going to be a massive year for me personally and about as exciting as it gets for crypto. None of the people, organisations or businesses in this article have paid to be mentioned. In case you are wondering if what you just read was news, promotional, a blog or something else, all I can say is that I don’t represent legacy media.

This is  the circle of transparent good stuff.

 V E S A
Visual Artist
London / Helsinki

Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in America, has updated its tax tools to help its U.S. customers comply with IRS guidelines for reporting digital asset gains.

Coinbase Updates Tax Tools For U.S. Customers

While not being legal or tax advice, Coinbase’s post may prove to be very useful to US customers afraid of failing to report their taxable digital currency sales and exchanges. Customers can now prepare their tax filings in three easy steps: establish a complete view of the customer’s trading activity to determine the cost basis; calculate gains/losses; file taxes.

To establish a complete view of trading activity to determine the cost basis, customers must create a complete view of all digital asset transactions. By clicking here, Coinbase customers are able to generate a single report with all buys, sells, sends, and receives of all currencies associated with their Coinbase account. Data with all costs and proceeds from purchases and sales, including Coinbase fees, are necessary to determine gains/losses.

“Please be advised that transactions with payment reversals and refunds may not be reflected in this report. Remember, this report only details transactions associated with your Coinbase account. In order to create a complete view of your digital asset investments, you will need to download similar reports from all other exchanges you have used”

The statement said.

To calculate gains/losses, customers have to subtract cost basis from the proceeds for each individual sale or exchange. Adding the gains/losses from all sales and exchanges will give a read of the total gain/loss for the year. As there is no standard guidance from the IRS on how to apply your cost basis to individual sales or exchanges of digital assets, Coinbase refers two common approaches:

“First in first out (FIFO)”— This method assumes that the first assets you purchased are also the first assets you sold or exchanged. Your gain/loss is calculated based on the price you paid for the oldest assets in your portfolio, and the asset price at the time of sale or exchange. This is the most common approach for traditional investments.

“Specific Identification (SpecID)” — This method relies on investors to specifically identify to their tax professional the assets they sold or exchanged. This is also a common approach for traditional investments, but requires significant effort from the investor.

The exchange suggests that customers contact their tax professional before pursuing alternative approaches. Example of accounting for gains on selling two of five ETH purchased using FIFO and SpecID methodology. The last step is to file taxes after calculating the gains or losses on digital assets investments, but Coinbase keeps from making suggestions other than consulting a tax professional.

The Limits of The Gain/Loss Calculator

Additionally, the exchange is providing a gain/loss calculator for customers who have only bought or sold digital assets on Coinbase. It automatically calculates gains or losses based on a first-in-first-out (FIFO) accounting method. According to the exchange, it should not be used as official tax documentation without validating the results with a tax professional.

A lot of people made a lot of money out of Bitcoin. Most of them invested in the early stages many years ago and sold recently near the top. Industry experts are predicting the next big thing may not be Bitcoin but Ripple. The company has made a lot of news lately with new partnerships and adoption across the financial industry. But could it really be bigger than Bitcoin?

A number to crypto experts were recently interviewed by Forbes during which they predicted that Ripple and its cryptocurrency, XRP, could be the thing to invest in now. One prediction is that larger gains would be possible due to its low price below a dollar. Bitcoin is already trading at around $10,000 so to go up significantly from there it will need a lot of in-flowing cash.

Ripple Already has a Foot in the Door

With Ripple’s faster transaction speeds and lower fees it offers an easier way for financial institutions to embrace the digital currency, and over a hundred of which already have. That is according to Craig Cole from Cryptomaps who also attributes this to XRP’s monumental rise year on year. This time last year Ripple’s cryptocurrency was trading at just $0.006, it has risen over 14,300% to its current levels today. Cole also went on to say;

“Ripple just might be the catalyst in making cryptocurrency more mainstream. The virtual currency is certainly on the rise and has the potential to be the first token to truly disrupt an industry, and if it does, expect XRP to reach Bitcoin-like levels of ubiquity in the near future.”

John-Paul McCaffrey, Associate Director at Long Island University, added that “Although currently there isn’t a platform to exchange fiat currency for Ripple (XRP) this may change sooner than you think,” fueling the rumors that Coinbase may list the altcoin later this year. Another industry expert, Roman Guelfi-Gibbs, Director of Operations at Pinnacle Brilliance, thinks it will take another year before Ripple makes the big-time;

“Ripple certainly has the potential to move up a notch in 2018, but I think it will be more likely in 2019. As the market observes more projects being coded in other algorithms such as XRP, ETH will likely take a backseat to the next big coin/token. It will take some time for the markets to digest this, so I am projecting 2019 to be the likely time for it to take place.”

Global Block Chain Technologies president, Shidan Gouran, said that the dollar volume separating the top three market capacities would need to be closer for XRP to improve. Additionally consumer awareness needs to increase and it needs to be available to the masses on the same level as Bitcoin and Ethereum which can be bought in fiat.

Company CEO Brad Garlinghouse stated in a separate interview with CNBC that the crypto industry needs to work with regulators to go forwards.

“It’s incredibly important that the entire industry recognizes that we have to work with the regulators, we have to work with the system. The blockchain revolution is happening from within the system it’s not going to happen from outside the system.”

He went on to state that There are some within the bitcoin community that really advocated not just down with banks but down with governments, we have been a contrarian relatively speaking in that regard,”

Naturally being a private and centralized company Ripple will have a different take on the ethos of cryptocurrencies. However, being of that nature has provided it more partnerships and adoptions than any other similar digital currency. As these continue, its role in the future of blockchain technology and mainstreaming cryptocurrencies will no doubt expand.

Index Funds have always been pretty popular in the financial sector. They offer a lot of advantages, especially for unaccredited investors. Coinbase, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, is looking to launch such an Index Fund soon. This is a positive development for the cryptocurrency industry as a whole.

Why Index Funds Are a Good Thing

For those unaware, Index Funds have been around for quite some time now. Their main benefit is how they offer investment opportunities for less wealthy investors around the world. This does mean such a vehicle will be accessible to more people than just the traditional wealthy individuals. In the case of cryptocurrency, allowing more people to be exposed to these markets is only a good thing.

Another benefit of Index Funds is how they offer lower transactions costs, which is always a good thing. Regardless of which amount you are investing, lower costs are always a benefit. Especially when venturing into multiple assets or markets, any way of lowering costs is a positive thing. One needs to keep in mind there is always a commission cut to contend with as well. Higher costs mean you need to make more profit before actually increasing your portfolio’s net wealth.

Moreover, most Index Funds use a minimal turnover structure. This means it is a great tool to benefit long-term investors. In the world of cryptocurrencies, going the long-term route is always the best course of action. It will be interesting to see how Coinbase decides to tackle this business model exactly.

Coinbase Has Big Plans

It became evident Coinbase wants to get involved in the Index Funds market very soon. As such, the company may bring a lot more positive interest to the cryptocurrency space. Opening up this market to a lot of smaller investors will undoubtedly result in positive market traction. Right now, all cryptocurrencies are stuck in the dirt a bit as not enough fresh capital is entering the market.

Making the cryptocurrency ecosystem more appealing to investors has been a challenge. The launch of Bitcoin futures has not generated the buzz most people expected. Things are still heading in the right direction in this regard, though. Overall, the uptake of this new investment vehicle has been a lot slower than people would like it to be. With these volatile markets, it is only normal bigger investors will remain wary first and foremost.

These new Coinbase Index Funds can mean positive things for the industry as a whole. Exposing more people to this innovative form of digital money is always a double-edged sword. More investors will undoubtedly lead to more speculation as well. For now, we have to wait and see how Coinbase will move forward in this regard. The company has yet to unveil the specific details of their new venture.

The price of Ripple’s XRP token which spiked on Monday falls back beneath a dollar as the Coinbase rumor is officially quashed on twitter.

Ripple Falls Back Under One Dollar Mark

The third largest trading cryptocurrency Ripple lept up 17 percent on Monday amid rumors it was to be listed on Coinbase, one of the worlds most popular exchanges. Only to fall back beneath $1 today as Coinbase officially denied the listing on Twitter.

The rumor which gained momentum on social media over the weekend and through to Monday was based in large part from announced appearances of both Brad Garlinghouse CEO of Ripple and Coinbase CEO Asiff Hirji on CNBC’s “Fast Money” program.

Although there was never an official announcement nor even an indication the two would be appearing together or if it was just a coincidence the news helped push XRP’s price over a dollar to trade at $1.05, a 17% increase over 24 hours according to

Coinbase which is the leading U.S. marketplace for buying and selling cryptocurrency currently trades bitcoin, bitcoin cash, litecoin, and etheruem. The addition of a new coin to the lineup would likely bring in many new buyers and boost its selling price.

As it turns out the rumors were false. The appearance by the two CEO’s on “Fast Money” was just a coincidence and even though Coinbase made a statement on Monday there was no agreement made it reiterated the news on Twitter today.

Our January 4th, 2018 statement continues to stand: we have made no decision to add additional assets to either GDAX or Coinbase.

Any statement to the contrary is untrue and not authorized by the company.

Since the official announcement was made XRP has fallen back beneath a dollar to just about where it was pre-rumor at $.96.

Rumors Fuel FOMO

This isn’t the first time Ripple has experienced gains because of rumors of a Coinbase partnership. It also saw a price surge to an all-time high of $3.84 in December 2017 that was driven by speculation it would be added to Coinbase.

A spokesman for Ripple declined to comment on the trading activity telling CNBC only that the company doesn’t respond to rumors or speculation.

The quick spike and drop in the price of XRP are demonstrative of the capricious nature of the cryptocurrency market where rumors spread on social media sites like Twitter and Reddit can create a buying frenzy based on FOMO (fear of Missing out).

Larger buyers will make moves based on market scuttlebutt and are inevitably followed by retail players who are most likely to suffer the loses when the rumors turn out to be false and prices fall.

There are always interesting developments to take note of in the cryptocurrency world. Right now, the XRP price is surging once again. Thanks to solid gains over the past few hours, the XRP price surpassed $1. Most of this excitement is fueled by speculation and hype, though.

XRP Price is Soaring

No one will deny the XRP price is moving up quite nicely as of right now. Its 17% gain over the past 24 hours should not be taken lightly whatsoever. As is usually the case in this industry, the current price jump is primarily fueled by hype, speculation, and expectations. That doesn’t mean Ripple is not a solid project, though, but it is evident all things need to be put into their proper perspective at all times.

This time around, it seems most people expect Ripple’s asset to be added to the Coinbase exchange. It is not the first time such rumors surface. Last time around, the information was completely bogus, eventually triggering a massive market sell-off in the process. It is not unlikely history will repeat itself in this regard.

There is no indication Coinbase will list XRP anytime soon. The company has made no official announcements as of right now. That doesn’t mean the digital asset will never find its way to this exchange in the future. For now, however, the company is seemingly not interested in dealing with XRP.  Situations like these are always subject to change, though. For now, there is no indication such a listing will occur anytime soon.

The Positive Momentum for Ripple

Although speculation fuels the XRP price right now, parent company Ripple has made positive strides. Their xRapid solution is of great interest to major remittance providers. Some of the world’s biggest names have signed up to trial this technology. It is unclear if this will lead to real-world integration in the future, but the tone is set. xRapid makes use of XRP for cross-border liquidity, thus the use cases for this asset will eventually increase in number.

Even so, it remains unlikely either Coinbase of GDAX will enable XRP trading. While anything is possible in this industry, nothing is true unless an official statement is issued by the company in question. So far, that has not happened in any official capacity as yet. With positive things happening to the company, the value of its native asset will increase eventually. Unfortunately, a lot of people want to get rich quick in cryptocurrency, which often leads to awkward price momentum.

On paper, XRP has a good chance to become a major player in terms of real-world adoption. Unlike traditional cryptocurrencies, this asset can effectively make a positive impact right now. If xRapid turns out to be a success for players such as MoneyGram and Western Union, the world of remittance will look very different very soon. That would be a much better reason for an XRP price rise compared to fake Coinbase rumors.

Coinbase recently reported to investors that it made $1 Billion in revenue through 2017.  An independent assessment finds that 43% of that was in December alone.

Bitcoin Run Responsible for 43% of 2017 Profit

The San Franciso based exchange Coinbase was one of the first interfaces to make Bitcoin accessible to the masses using credit cards and bank exchanges.

Credited with bringing cryptocurrency transactions out of the shadows by putting a public face to Bitcoin exchanges and raising investment capital from Silicone Valley, Coinbase was initially expecting a 600 million profit for 2017 but the bull run in the final weeks of the year nearly doubled that estimate.

Analysis of the year’s profits provided by Superfly Insights was measured using receipts from 25,000 users.

Coinbase makes it’s money from transaction fees so it makes sense that during the fury of trading that went on from about Thanksgiving through to New Years the exchange would have seen much higher profits. According to the New York Times, Coinbase was receiving eight times as much traffic in December as it was in June.

Coinbase Adapts Model for 2018

It won’t be possible to match those numbers in 2018 unless there is another surge in cryptocurrency trading. Which many pundits predict there will be, with some calling for a bull market to re-emerge around March and continue through the summer gaining momentum until the end of the year.

“There is no reason why we couldn’t see bitcoin pushing $50,000 by December,”

Thomas Glucksmann, head of marketing at cryptocurrency exchange Gatecoin, told CNBC earlier this month.

Another factor that may cut into 2018 profits for Coinbase is a new breed of competition. Many new exchanges emerged during 2017 but the new generation like Robinhood are promising no fee transactions.

Coinbase is looking to counter this competition with a new merchant platform Coinbase Commerce which will  enable vendors to accept virtual currencies. This would generate profit from participating merchants while encouraging the growth of cryptocurrency use, garnering fees from those transactions as well.

This Holy Grail of the digital currency world though is a high hurdle to leap.   “Most merchants are not that interested in the (relatively small) number of BTC or ETH holders.” Said Jonathon Meiri CEO of Superfly Insights.

In regards to tax issues the company has been dealing with for several years they sent out a notification to users Feburary 23 on the support page of their website. The notification is an update on the ongoing IRS demand that Coinbase turn over records concerning 500,000 users of their exchange. The entire notification here.