Coinbase Pro Adds New Security Features and Support for USDC Stablecoin

Coinbase Pro has launched support for the Circle USDC stablecoin, and added two new security features to make the user experience safer and easier.

Circle's "USD Coin" (USDC) is a fully dollar-collateralized stablecoin. On 23 October 2018, Coinbase added support for USDC on its Coinbase Consumer (Coinbase.com) platform, the Coinbase mobile apps for iOS and Android, and Coinbase Wallet (a user-custodied Ethereum Wallet and DApp browser). One thing worth pointing out is that the "underlying technology behind the USDC was developed collaboratively between Coinbase and Circle" in their "capacity as partners and co-founders" of the CENTRE consortium.

In the post on the Coinbase blog that announced the launch of USDC on Coinbase Consumer, three use cases for USDC were given:

  • Improved Send and Receive: "Two Ethereum wallets can quickly send and receive any amount of USDC at any time of day. Large transfers for business purposes become as easy as small e-commerce payments. Consumers can use the Coinbase app to send USDC to someone, while remaining confident the value is stable."
  • Use in DApps and Exchanges: "There is a burgeoning ecosystem of crypto dApps, exchanges, and blockchain-based games. A USDC follows the ERC20 standard, which means it can be used with any app that accepts tokens based on that standard. The USDC can thus be used as a stable digital dollar to buy items in the crypto ecosystem, from Cryptokitties to tickets for blockchain-based games."
  • A Programmable Dollar: "For developers and fintech companies, a digital dollar like USDC is easier to program with. For example, given the private keys for USDC, a program can easily send and receive them back and forth using the public Ethereum blockchain."

At the time, Coinbase promised that USC would arrive on Coinbase Pro "in the coming weeks." However, just two days later (i.e. on 25 October 2018), Coinbase announced via another blog post that it was launching USDC on Coinbase Pro. This was good news for Coinbase Pro users who like USDC, but what made this launch special was that Coinbase was promising to make USDC behave like a real stablecoin should by offering to allow its customers to easily (with one click) convert between USD and USDC on a 1:1 basis with no fees and no exchange rate risk:

"One of the unique aspects of this launch is that while users may trade Bitcoin or Ether for USDC, the USD/USDC order book will not be available at this time. Instead we’ve developed something we consider better: an automatic tool to instantly convert USD to USDC and back, without exchange rate risk. What this means is that US customers will be able to buy 1 USDC for $1 or sell 1 USDC for $1, with no fees, in large volume, with one click... This makes USDC a true stablecoin, as it’s stable in value at Coinbase Pro"

Here is a screenshot from the blog post showing what the USD/USDC "instant conversion" feature looks like:

Coinbase Pro Conversion Feature.png

Of course, Coinbase users can also trade USDC against Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).

The next day, Coinbase Pro users received more good news via another blog post: Coinbase was making crypto transfers easier and more secure by introducing a crypto wallet "Address Book" and providing the option to "restrict crypto transfers to addresses in your Address Book."

The "Address Book" allows users to store an unlimited number of wallet addresses, which simplifies sending crypto to addresses "you know and trust", and eliminates the need for users "to do a manual address lookup, copy, and paste each time they want to withdraw crypto." A new address can be saved to the Address Book after "withdrawing crypto to a previously unsaved address."

Here is another screenshot from the Coinbase blog that shows what the new Address Book looks like:

Coinbase Pro Address Book Feature.png

Furthermore, the Address Book has an optional feature called "Address Whitelisting" that when enabled restricts transfers from a Coinbase Pro account to only those addresses already saved in the Address Book. For enhanced security, this feature also "adds a 48-hour delay to adding new addresses to your Address Book and disabling the Whitelisting feature."

All Images Courtesy of Coinbase

Bitcoin’s Price Surges Nearly 10% to Surpass $8,000 as Crypto Market Adds $20 Billion

The price of bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency, has recently surpassed the $8,000 mark in a move some believe is extremely bullish and could help it go up to $20,000. What’s behind the rise is unclear, although a counter trading indicator pointed towards it.

At press time, BTC is trading at $8,055 after rising 10% in the last 24-hour period, according to CryptoCompare data. The flagship cryptocurrency’s market cap is now of $142 billion, and its recovery came merely days after it had a $1,000 ‘flash crash’ caused by a 5,000 BTC sell order.

Bitcoin's price performance in the last 24-hour period

It’s currently unclear what’s behind the cryptocurrency’s rise, although some have pointed out tensions between the United States and China may be helping, as bitcoinj’s price has been moving up when trading volumes are higher on Asian exchanges.

The U.S. recently hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, with China retaliating with higher levies on billions of dollars worth of U.S. products. These developments severely affected the stock market, and could be seeing investors hedge with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Notably, some could have predicted BTC would surpass the $8,000 mark this weekend as CNBC’s Fast Money Twitter account recently posted a bearish tweet showing a head and shoulders pattern, which implied a drop was imminent.

In the cryptocurrency space CNBC’s tweets are seen as a counter trading indicator, as often bitcoin does the exact opposite of what the financial news outlet’s social media accounts predict will happen.

The cryptocurrency’s price rise also comes as search interest for it hits a 14-month high, according to Google Trends data. This means that search interest for BTC hasn’t been this high since February of last year, when it was trading between $8,000 and $11,000.

Mati Greenspan, a senior market analyst at eToro, has noted the cryptocurrency’s price performance is bullish, and that there could be “virtually no major levels of resistance until $20,000.”

Recently, the co-founder and CEO of digital asset exchange Gemini, Tyler Winklevoss, called bitcoin “gold 2.0.” Facebook has also shown it’s getting more serious about blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and payments, which could be heightening interest in the space.

Bob Iaccino, an experience fun manager and veteran trader, has earlier this week argued that the growth of BTC’s layer-two scaling solution, the Lightning Network (LN), could also be supporting the cryptocurrency’s rally.

Altcoins Follow Bitcoin’s Rally

Available data shows that most altcoins have followed the flagship cryptocurrency’s rally, with most being up well over 3% in the last 24-hour period. Top altcoins like Ethereum’s ether, litecoin, XRP, and Zcash are all up by over 7%, with ether rising nearly 10% to trade at $258.

Interestingly Bitcoin Cash, a cryptocurrency that has recently seen a hacker take advantage of an upgrade to get miners to mine empty blocks and that has seen a mining pool have over 51% of its hashrate for a brief period, has risen over 16% in the same period. BCH is currently trading at $415.

Dash and Cosmos are other cryptocurrencies that have risen over 10% in said period. Overall the rally has seen the crypto market add over $20 billion.