Digital currency exchange Coinbase on Tuesday announced several key changes in its listing policy that will significantly increase its asset offerings, and alter the exchange from a primarily U.S.-focused cryptocurrency curator into a global cryptocurrency platform.
"Ultimately, crypto is a global phenomenon. You have software developers and entrepreneurs around the world building products on top of crypto, and it's unlocking a lot of use cases, particularly in emerging markets. I think we need to shift as a company to a more global perspective," Dan Romero, vice president and general manager of Coinbase Consumer, said Tuesday on CNBC's "Fast Money."
Beginning Tuesday, creators can go to listing.coinbase.com to submit an application to list their digital asset on Coinbase. Previously, Coinbase had to make the first move, and therefore bore the responsibility of identifying, selecting and vetting new assets for the platform. And Coinbase will no longer be restricting listed assets to those that comply with U.S. regulation. From now on, added assets will be regional and based on a specific region's regulatory framework.
The changes will allow for hundreds, if not thousands, of digital assets to be added to the platform. For some perspective, the platform supports five currencies right now: bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, litecoin and ethereum classic. There are thousands of cryptocurrencies Coinbase doesn't support, Romero said.
"It's responding to what customers want. Adding more assets is directly something customers are telling us. So, ultimately, by adding more assets, we are going to increase trust and make the platform easy to user for customers," Romero said.
But it isn't all about the customers, it's about the competition, too.
Improving the number of assets listed will increase Coinbase's trading volume and make it more competitive with foreign exchanges that offer more options for traders.
"There are some really high-quality, global exchanges that you're going to see in the coming months, as we add more assets, we are going to be more competitive with," he said.
And when you add more assets, "ultimately volumes are going to take care of themselves," Romero added.
Together, these changes open up the Coinbase ecosystem to an exponentially broader pool of blockchain-based projects around the world, in a move Coinbase hopes will expedite its mission of creating an open financial system for the world.
Coinbase has served more than 20 million customers and supported more than $220 billion in cryptocurrency trades since it was founded in 2012. The exchange operates in 33 countries and has more than 500 employees across six offices in the U.S., Japan and the U.K.