Coinbase is going from strength to strength. Just a week ago, the Bitcoin startup set a massive new record for venture capital funding in the virtual currency industry; today, it launches the first US Bitcoin exchange.
Bitcoin got off to 2015 with a rough start, losing 30% of its value in less than a week. Despite this, Coinbase closed a $US75 million round of funding at an estimated $US400 million valuation — by far the largest ever for a cryptocurrency business.
The value of the currency is rising once more, and Coinbase has scored another win, launching America’s first regulated exchange today.
TechCrunch reports that the company already operates exchanges allowing users to trade Bitcoin among one another in 19 other countries. Coinbase will take a 0.25 per cent commission on transactions, according to the WSJ — though these will be waived for the first two months of the exchange’s operation.
The exchange currently has approval in 25 US states, including New York. It reportedly took the company five months to acquire the necessary approvals.
Coinbase also offers payment platforms to businesses. In 2014, CEO Brian Armstrong said that of the 10 billion-dollar businesses that had begun accepting Bitcoin in the last year, his company was responsible for closing 9 of the deals.
As CoinDesk points out, the news of the exchange comes shortly after the Winklevoss Twins announced their intention to launch their own exchange, Gemini. Armstrong however told the website that the “launch time was not influenced by the Winklevoss announcement… Coinbase is launching the exchange simply because it is ready.”
Either way, it’s good news for the virtual currency community after a rough few months. The declining price had previously forced cloud-mining service CEX.io to halt operations because it was no longer profitable. And UK exchange Bitstamp was hacked, it announced in early 2015, with the attackers making off with $US5 million in Bitcoin.