Coinbase, arguably the most well known “Bitcoin Bank” in the United States, made headlines this week by opening up America’s first Bitcoin exchange. Previously Coinbase had been focused on wallet based and merchant services, but with this recent move they’ve given themselves first mover advantage in digital currency exchanges within the states.
Antiquated Financial System
This comes on the heels of another successful funding round of $75MM which included big names like the NYSE and the Spanish bank BBVA backing the investment. Slowly but surely, “Wall Street” is entering into the digital currency conversation – they see change on the horizon and will work to adapt their business models to the winds of change. It’s adapt, or die when it comes to the antiquated financial system.
Much was made of Coinbase opening an exchange in the US without the proper licenses, particularly within New York and California, as a sign that they were moving too fast. What started as a somewhat grand opening transformed into the press throwing dirt at Coinbase for not being fully regulated before launch. Reality being, exchanges deal with legal wrangling almost constantly as a cost of doing business. By releasing the first exchange Coinbase has first mover advantage even if it’s not licensed in all 50 states. Plus, dealing with the lawyers was an inevitability when you’re at this stage of the game…I imagine they anticipated and were prepared for the regulatory fallout.
Bitcoin has been written off so many times it’s difficult to count. Every time it’s left for dead it survives and grows into the evolving ecosystem of the digital currency space. Hardcore crypto-anarcho-capitalists may not enjoy the digital currency industry becoming increasingly centralized with power being held in fewer hands, however, this is part of the natural process of a brand new technology hitting the market. Coinbase’s brand continues to legitimize the cryptocurrency, something the community can all unite around as this Bitcoin Bank is going to be a big part of bringing democratized money to the world.