For Coinbase, Monero (XMR) isn’t in the cards for now. The baby of Bitcoin, Monero is a privacy coin. Born of mystery, Monero was a fork of Bitcoin and can be bought, sold, and traded almost completely anonymously. For Coinbase, Monero would expose it to too much liability to include in its exchange.
Public & Private
While Bitcoin is also a privacy coin, any exchange unwilling to include Bitcoin in its roster would be signing its own death certificate. Supporting the world’s most popular and the first cryptocoin, Bitcoin, is mandatory.
For Coinbase, Monero is too risky. Monero is more private and anonymous. Bitcoin and Coinbase have a constant fear that some ransomware pirate will hold a hospital’s entire computer network for ransom. So then, after demanding a huge Monero payment, Coinbase fears they will be held responsible in some way for the piracy.
Buying, Selling, & Trading
The buying, selling, and trading of Monero coins can’t be tracked or traced. Coinbase doesn’t want to be associated with perfect crimes against essential services such as hospitals or electrical plants, for example. Even though Coinbase doesn’t support Monero, you can add XMR to your Coinbase Watchlist and keep track of Monero news. Even without Coinbase, Monero is the 16th-largest cryptocurrency and Binance and Kraken do list it.
Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong, currently runs the most popular Crypto exchange. He works hard at placating regulators and making sure Coinbase is compliant with national, state, and local laws. But, US regulators are uncomfortable with Monero. Thus, executives at Coinbase did an internal risk assessment after discussing Monero with regulators and decided that Monero is currently too risky.
Adding Privacy Coins
The only way that Coinbase would add Monero to its 50 cryptocurrency lineup is if Monero became more mainstream and popularly accepted. While the cryptocurrency of choice of the darknet, pirates, and ransomware kidnappers, criminals have extorted Monero from ransomware victims instead of Bitcoin.
What Pirates Want
When ransomware hackers demanded $7.5 million from Telecom Argentina, the demanded it be paid in XMR, Monero. Even if Coinbase listed Monero, they could delist it in short order like Bithumb and Huobi did the moment they were associated XMR being used for crime.
The leverage that regulators and governments have over exchanges like Coinbase and their Monero listings are lawsuits. Being sued by regulators or other government agencies don’t only drain exchanges of their treasure but can also destroy the trust investors have for the exchange. In particular, big investors like banks, institutional investors, and even international conglomerates.
Even worse, it could hurt the hard-earned good faith relationship that Coinbase has with regulators, especially US regulators. So, no matter how much short-term profit and benefit that Monero might offer exchanges, it doesn’t benefit their long term reputation. Coinbase is conventional. Monero is too risky.
Coinbase has a long term vision that precludes adding potentially destructive privacy coins, which could be used to support terrorism, piracy, and crime. Not worth it to Coinbase, made very clear by Armstrong. Even with a legal team of eighty, it’s not worth the blowback. We live in the future, a future with less and less personal or corporate privacy.
Many think that not even Bitcoin is private enough (it’s not). In this climate of Big Brother and the panopticon, investors will always pursue privacy coins like XMR or zCash (ZEC). But these types of investors are surely not those who would be using Coinbase in the first place.