Ripple, the company behind the XRP token that’s currently the number three cryptocurrency by market cap, reportedly tried to pay for listings on two major US cryptocurrency exchanges: Coinbase and Gemini.
According to a report in Bloomberg, the cross-border payments startup offered significant financial incentives to the two cryptocurrency exchanges, but failed to get XRP on either platform. The report, citing four people with direct knowledge of the matter who didn’t want to be identified, claims part of the reason Ripple’s XRP was denied was that it may be seen as a security.
US officials have warned exchanges not to list such tokens. As such, when Ripple approached Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange ran by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, with a $1 million cash payment offer, the exchange said ‘no’. The attempt was followed by others, that saw Ripple offer to pay out rebates and cover listing-related costs.
Last fall, Ripple also approached Coinbase, offering the San Francisco-based company a loan of over $100 million worth of XRP for users to start trading. Without writing down the proposal, Ripple further told Coinbase the loan could be paid back in US dollars or in XRP. If Coinbase had chosen the latter, it could have made millions as XRP’s price would likely surge on the listing.
Both Gemini and Coinbase declined the proposals. Confronted with Ripple’s proposals to the exchanges, company spokeswoman Emmalee Kremer claimed some of the information is wrong, but didn’t specify details on what she was disputing. She further stated:
“Regardless, Ripple has always been transparent about our focus on building and growing a strong XRP ecosystem. We want XRP to be the most liquid digital asset possible to enable faster, cheaper global payments.”
It’s worth noting that paying for listings isn’t unheard of, even in the crypto space. According to a study published by Autonomous Research, getting a cryptocurrency listing on a popular exchange can cost $1 million for a “reasonably regarded token” or as much as $3 million for quick liquidity.
Moreover, paying for listings is a perfectly legal, common practice in traditional markets. An attorney cited in Bloomberg’s piece stated that what Ripple proposed to both Coinbase and Gemini may also be legal.
This can, on the other hand, be seen as a gray area, as it is unclear whether US regulators will see Ripple’s XRP token as a security token or not. If it’s seen as a security, both Ripple and the exchanges listing it may face regulatory trouble.