The San Francisco-based company confirmed the move on Twitter, where it registered an official GDAX account. Coinbase stated its consumer product is not rebranding.
Forbes reported that Coinbase decided to add ether due to the excitement over and rate of progress observed with the cryptocurrency.
“[Ten] months ago [Ethereum] didn’t really exist,” said Coinbase VP of business development Adam White to Forbes. “It was still a white paper, a concept. And now here it is with hundreds of dapps or decentralized applications built on top of it, a ton of developer interest in it… It just surpassed a $1 billion market cap, so there’s a lot of value in the Ethereum network in a short period of time.”
Customer demand for the startup to add ether to its exchange was “unprecedented” compared to requests for other cryptocurrencies, said White to the magazine.
As Quartz noted in its report about the decision, the support by Coinbase, which has raised $106 million in four VC rounds, signifies confidence in ether and Ethereum. “Adding Ethereum will not only help the virtual currency,” the publication said, “but could generate more trading on Coinbase’s exchange.”
Chris Burniske, analyst and blockchain products lead at ARK Invest, the first public funding manager to invest in bitcoin, told Forbes that Coinbase’s move validates ether as a cryptocurrency.
“I would argue Coinbase is the gold standard within the Bitcoin community both on the wallet and increasingly so on the exchange side,” he said. “They are the most liquid U.S. Bitcoin exchange and they custody more Bitcoin than anyone else. Their choice to offer Ether really validates Ether as the second cryptocurrency at scale, further defining cryptocurrencies as an asset class.”
Burniske was also supportive of the exchange rebranding, telling Forbes that “GDAX’s name rings true within the financial services landscape, joining the ranks of NYSE, NASDAQ, CME, ICE, and so on. This is an important step for people to realize Bitcoin, Ether and other cryptocurrencies are no longer fringe technologies.”
Coinbase’s White told the magazine that GDAX’s name represents the company’s vision to be global and to offer a range of digital assets.
“At this nascent model continues to build, you can look at new and emerging digital assets, be that a digital currency like Ethereum, Bitcoin, Litecoin and so on, or even digital assets, like DAO tokens – these are second-order digital assets built on top of digital currencies,” White said.
He added, “We do see a world developing where there will be a need for liquidity where people will be able to convert into and out of one digital currency to another but also from fiat currency. Coinbase … is still our parent company – our goal is to connect that Finance 1.0 to Finance 2.0.”
Coinbase logo – Courtesy of Coinbase
Ethereum logo – Via their website’s Assets page
Chris Burniske’s photo – Courtesy of ARK Invest