Coinbase has been seduced by Wall Street

May 16, 2018
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The new financial paradigm is starting to look a lot like the old one

Coinbase is undoubtedly one of the most-successful crypto-related companies. They were among the first companies that made buying cryptocurrencies easy for Americans.

In the excitement the company is increasingly catering to Wall Street rather than crypto investors.

I’ve long said there are three types of Bitcoin buyers: 1) True believers 2) Criminals 3) Speculators.

The final two will be there as long as crypto is useful to them but the first category is the people who will be there first and who will Hodl the longest. They’re the people who saw a decentralized economy in crypto, who hated the friction and costs in the financial system, who were trying to change the world with something better.

With its latest moves, Coinbase is seemingly catering to the speculators with moves that will undoubtedly alienate the true believers.

The biggest change is an embrace of high-frequency trading. It’s building out a low-latency platform and is going to allow co-location of their servers. That means HFTs can run their algorithms from servers physically right beside those of Coinbase. It’s the kind of thing (right or not) that encourages people to believe the deck is stacked against them.

As part of the same embrace of Wall Street, Coinbase is also rolling out custodial services and a platform with the Wall Street-like name Coinbase Prime that’s centered on research and market data geared toward institutional clients.

It’s enough to make a crypto enthusiast wonder if the new paradigm is just like the old one.

Bitcoin hit a three-week low of $8102 today.

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