Coinbase, Ripple Blast Company Creating Tokens in Their Name

Update 13 June 2018: Robinhood told CoinDesk in a statement that «As a company, Robinhood is not aware of Swarm, or any such plans to tokenize equity in Robinhood. We are not affiliated with Swarm in any way, shape or form.»

Blockchain startup Swarm announced Wednesday that it was launching new «equity tokens» that would represent equity in notable blockchain startups like Coinbase and Ripple – but those companies have pushed back swiftly against the idea.

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Coinbase's New Index Fund for Investors Is Now Live

Coinbase has formally launched a new index fund product aimed at large investors.

Announced Wednesday in a blog post by product lead Rueben Bramanathan, the Coinbase Index Fund is now «open for investments» with a minimum required investment of $250,000.

The fund will give investors access to all of the assets currently listed on Coinbase, which at present include bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, litecoin and now ethereum classic. The assets will be weighted by their market capitalization, according to the post.

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Coinbase Says It's 'On Track' to Become a Regulated Securities Firm

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced Wednesday that it was making strides toward its goal of operating a federally regulated broker-dealer.

Chief operating officer and president Asiff Hirji wrote in a company blog post that the firm is in the process of acquiring a broker-dealer license, an alternative trading system license and a registered investment advisor license. Once it has these licenses, the company intends to seek approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to offer blockchain-based securities.

Part of this effort includes Coinbase's acquisitions of Keystone Capital Corp., Venovate Marketplace and Digital Wealth LLC, he wrote.

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Coinbase Rolls Out Crypto Custody Product for Institutions

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced Tuesday it is formally launching Coinbase Custody, a product aimed at aiding institutional cryptocurrency adoption.

First announced last year, Coinbase Custody is a crypto storage service directed specifically at large financial institutions, as previously reported by CoinDesk. At the time, the exchange said users would have to pay a $100,000 set-up fee and keep a minimum of $10 million in deposits. Further, there is a minimum monthly fee based on the assets stored.

«We have leveraged our experience safely storing more than $20 billion of cryptocurrency to create Coinbase Custody, the most secure crypto storage solution available,» the firm said today.

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Coinbase Discloses Corporate Data In Response to NY Crypto Inquiry

Coinbase, the U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange startup, has publicly shared part of its response to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's ongoing inquiry.

«We applaud the [Office of the Attorney General] for taking action to bring further transparency to the virtual currency markets,» Coinbase's chief legal and risk officer Mike Lempres wrote in a five-page letter.

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Coinbase Has a New Chief Financial Officer

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase hired a new chief financial officer.

Alesia Haas, the former CFO at Oz Management and OneWest Bank, will take on the role at Coinbase effective immediately, the company said in a blog post on Tuesday. At the same time, Haas is set to assist Oz with the transition through June 1.

Coinbase's president and chief operating officer, Asiff Hirji, said that Haas «will allow us to accelerate our goal of building a world-class financial team that scales with the company through this period of profound growth,» adding that she has «extensive experience in managing highly regulated complex financial institutions.»

«I'm incredibly excited to have Alesia join Coinbase as our new CFO. She brings deep financial services experience to our growing company. As a fintech company, finance is core to everything that we do,» Brian Armstrong, Coinbase's co-founder and CEO, said in a statement.

Haas' hiring represents the latest talent grab for Coinbase, which has been on a bit of a hiring spree in recent months.

Earlier this month, Coinbase hiring former Facebook and Twitter communications lead Rachael Horwitz as its new communications vice president. In March, Coinbase tapped former New York Stock Exchange executive Eric Scro as its new finance vice president and former LinkedIn executive Emilie Choi as vice president of corporate and business development.

Coinbase has also grown its ranks through the acquisitions of bitcoin startup and ethereum wallet Cipher Browser.

A Tangled Web: Will Coinbase Ventures Lead to Conflicts of Interest?

Coinbase always seemed destined to add litecoin.

Even amidst an early sea of competing cryptocurrencies cloned from the bitcoin codebase, litecoin had secured a special place. Early adopters used it as a way to extend bitcoin gains and test out the tech, while effective marketing attracted mainstream interest (even without the technology offering much in the way of novel improvements).

That said, its own creator, developer Charlie Lee, didn't prioritize the project, and in 2013, decided to go full-time into bitcoin, joining what was then a San Francisco startup known for being the fastest and most friendly way to buy cryptocurrency in the U.S.

Indeed, on Aug. 2, 2013 Lee left Google to join Coinbase.

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Coinbase Hires Facebook, Twitter Vet As Communications VP

Coinbase has hired a new vice president of communications, the cryptocurrency startup announced Monday.

Rachael Horwitz joins the company from Spark Capital, a Coinbase investor. She previously held high-level communications roles at Facebook and Twitter.

«Incredibly grateful and excited to join Coinbase as the company's Vice President of Communications,» Horwitz wrote on LinkedIn. «An amazing company with a terrific story to tell. Time to get to work.»

Horwitz told Recode that the size and buzz around Coinbase reminded her of Twitter, which she first joined in 2011. She acknowledged that the role could be challenging, however, given that the public — and even some Coinbase users — is largely mystified by cryptocurrency.

«The range of audiences who are probably reading about this stuff, seeing it in their feeds and seeing it in headlines but don't totally grasp where we're at in the history of all this,» Horwitz said. «There's a huge educational challenge.»

Horwitz is the latest executives to join Coinbase's ranks in recent weeks.

The firm hired Emily Choi as vice president of corporate and business development in March — strongly hinting that the company was eyeing acquisitions — and Eric Scro as vice president of finance the same month. Tina Bhatnagar joined as vice president of operations and technology in January in order to beef up the startup's customer service resources.

Coinbase to Let Users Withdraw Funds from Bitcoin Forks

Cryptocurrency startup Coinbase said Thursday that, in the coming months, it will let customers withdraw funds resulting from forks of the bitcoin network.

In a blog post, the startup announced that it was adding withdrawal support for the forks, though the post did not announce a firm timeline.

«This change will allow customers to more easily withdraw assets associated with Bitcoin Forks across all Coinbase Products,» the startup wrote, adding:

«As always, we look at technical, operational, and legal considerations when deciding which Bitcoin Fork assets to support and will always state on our website which particular assets are supported.»

That being said, Coinbase noted it was «not announcing support for any specific assets at this time.»

In the announcement, Coinbase explained that it will work to support future bitcoin forks on its Coinbase Custody product, adding that this platform «will likely support more forked assets than GDAX or Coinbase for the foreseeable future.»

GDAX, its digital assets exchange, will allow customers to withdraw bitcoin forks, but not trade them. Similarly, Coinbase's basic platform will also allow customers to withdraw the forked assets but without enabling trades. Further, the startup noted that an asset may be added to GDAX in the future without being added to Coinbase.

Coinbase Commerce, a merchant-focused service it unveiled in February, will not support any forked assets, and the Coinbase Index Fund will not list any assets that are not available on GDAX for trading, according to the statement.

In a separate announcement on Thursday, the startup unveiled a new early-stage venture fund that will provide financing to companies working with the technology.

«At least in the beginning, our goal is simply to help the most compelling companies in the space to flourish,» Coinbase said.

Reddit Drops Bitcoin Payment Option For 'Gold' Membership

Social media website Reddit is no longer accepting bitcoin as payment for its Reddit Gold membership program.

On Friday, users began commenting in the /r/BTC subreddit that the only available payment methods for the service are credit cards and PayPal, whereas previously people were able to pay for gold using bitcoin.

A Saturday post in the same forum attributed to Reddit administrator «emoney04» explained that the change was due in part to Coinbase's decision to discontinue their Merchant Tool product in favor of Coinbase Commerce, which will enable «merchants to accept multiple cryptocurrencies directly into a user-controlled wallet.»

The administrator went on to explain:

«The upcoming Coinbase change, combined with some bugs around the bitcoin payment option that were affecting purchases for certain users, led us to remove bitcoin as a payment option.»

They also indicated that Reddit has yet to decide if it will reintroduce crypto payments after Coinbase implements its new Commerce service.

«We're going to take a look at demand and watch the progression of Coinbase Commerce before making a decision on whether to reenable,» the administrator said.

Reddit first started accepting bitcoin in its now-defunct merchandise store, RedditMarket, in 2015.