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Has Coinbase Jumped The Shark?

Exchange Listings Just Aren’t What They Used to Be.

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Earlier this year, cryptocurrency media and fortune tellers made hay by predicting which assets would get score a spot on a big trading platform, and why. It was big news, and some coins lived or died on a big listing.

Since then, enthusiasm for new listings seems to have diminished, even as bullish sentiment returned to the market. Earlier this week, the market barely noticed as Coinbase added four new digital assets, including the Maker/DAI pairing and Zilliqa. CoinDesk didn’t even bother mentioning the new appearances, after devoting several articles each to the ETC/ BAT gossip.

The new assets were day nine of the “Twelve Days of Coinbase,” a festive promotion in which the San Francisco-based exchange is attempting to revive the market with holiday cheer. “Four tradeable ERC-20 assets” is a much more thoughtful gift than Nine Ladies Dancing, but the market looked them in the mouth anyway.

The other days of Coinbase came with Bitcoin and Zcash donations to the needy, new exchange functions and educational videos on cryptocurrency. None of them are things to complain about, but all the same, the market seems to be indifferent. Thanks, Coinbase, but we forgot to get you anything.


The Shrinking Coinbase Effect

We’ve previously reported on the Binance effect, whereby minor coins realize unexpected gains by being listed on one of the most reputable exchanges.

But that was nothing compared to the hype surrounding a new Coinbase listing.  One year ago, when Bitcoin Cash appeared like an unexpected present beneath Brian Armstrong’s tree, prices on Coinbase Pro pumped up to over $9000 per BCH—a rise so sudden that it led many hodlers to accuse the exchange of intentionally manipulating the price in order to profit, and causing Bitcoin Cash values to cross 4,000 in other markets.

A similar effect occurred a few months later— when Coinbase announced that it would list Ethereum Classic, the price of the ETC token briefly jumped 45% while also allowing the older dApp platform to stave off obsolescence for another four months. The pump surrounding the actual listing was much smaller. 

 

ZRX Coinbase Listing Pump
ZRX/USD. Via CryptoCompare.

 

Since then, each successive listing was accompanied by a smaller, and briefer, gain in value. ZRX gained 23% between the announcement and start of trading, but the Basic Attention Token only gained 17%, and the pump was over within five days. By the time Coinbase got around to Golem and Zilliqa, the effect could be measured in hours rather than days. 

 

ZIL/USD. Via Cryptocompare.
ZIL/USD. Via Cryptocompare

 

Part of that may be intentional, since the exchange has an interest in not thumbing the scales in cryptocurrency trades. But it also seems likely that Coinbase–which used to allow access to only the most reputable digital assets – is no longer guarding the gates quite so diligently.


Two More Days of Coinbase Christmas

That said, there are still two unopened doors in the advent calendar, and Brian Armstrong may yet throw us a stunner. Assuming Santa saved the best gifts for last, we may yet be in for a surprise.

The two logical guesses for the next two days would be new listings for Stellar and/or Cardano, as Coinbase has been hinting since last Spring. Although neither asset sticks to the letter of Coinbase’s Digital Asset Framework, they both have sufficiently large market caps to bring quite a bit of Christmas cheer.

Alternatively, they could also list an unexpected asset. Last Christmas, XRP prices spiked after online rumors of an impending listing. Those rumors were proved wrong, and then more wrong, over the past year. A surprise XRP listing, after a year of snubbing, would be nothing short of a Festivus Miracle.

 

The author is invested XRP, ADA and XLM, as well as BTC, which are mentioned in this article. 

 

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