In a somewhat surprising move, cryptocurrency stalwart Coinbase suddenly listed bitcoin cash on their exchange earlier today. In addition to listing the new currency, all holders of bitcoin before the fork last summer now will have an equal amount of bitcoin cash.
Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have been speculating for quite some time as to when Coinbase will finally make a new addition to their rather recent three asset lineup. Many had been suspecting that the next addition would be Ripple or perhaps a popular Ethereum token like Golem.
While Coinbase will now accept deposits and withdrawals of bitcoin cash, account holders cannot yet purchase the forked currency until a later date.
The Market Responds
Very shortly after the announcement went live, prices for bitcoin cash suddenly exploded to heights of up to $8000+ per BCH. This price spike lasted for less than an hour.
Prior to the announcement, BCH prices had already begun rising very suddenly. This has led to many speculating that Coinbase insiders were committing insider trading and dealing in BCH knowing that the impending release would inevitably cause a sharp increase in price. At press time, BCH is trading in the $3000 range. Prior to this, BCH was trading for around $1500-$1800.
In response to the suggestions that Coinbase employees may have been acting illicitly, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong made a statement clarifying that his company has policies against any of their employees trading on any assets they are about to list for a set period of time.
He further went on to state that his company was aware of the price increase that was occurring several hours before the release of the news. In light of this, he stated that his company would undergo an investigation. If it is discovered that any coin base employee was engaging in insider trading, they would be immediately fired and then perhaps may face potential litigation or legal action. According to the CEO, Armstrong:
Given the price increase in the hours leading up the announcement, we will be conducting an investigation into this matter. If we find evidence of any employee or contractor violating our policies — directly or indirectly — I will not hesitate to terminate the employee immediately and take appropriate legal action
The Future of BCH
In the past, when an asset is added to Coinbase, it is a signal to the cryptocurrency community at large that the asset listed is one that has a lot of potential. For example, Litecoin seems to have benefited very significantly due to its presence on Coinbase with its recent price surging getting close to $400 each. Ethereum tokens have also benefited and are hitting highs nearing $900.
The fork behind bitcoin cash has been contentious, to say the least. Many members of the cryptocurrency scene have been either supportive or very unsure about the fork. While its proponents such as Roger Ver believe that bitcoin cash represents the next evolution in bitcoin, and allows the currency to scale in accordance with Satoshi Nakamoto’s original plan, others are not so sure.
Some have accused the people behind bitcoin cash as being involved in a manipulative cash grab. At this point, however, all we know is there is a lot of disagreement within the community about what bitcoin cash really is.
In a recent tweet by Andreas Antonopoulos had this to say about the squabbles between zealous supports of the fork, and staunch defenders of bitcoin core:
Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash will coexist and serve different use cases, just like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Its not a zero sum game. Work on building your project, not on destroying the other
— Andreas M. Antonopoulos (@aantonop) November 12, 2017
Better or Worse, BCH is Here to Stay
While the futures of bitcoin cash and bitcoin core are unknown, we do know that now BCH has the support of Coinbase, the forked currency is most likely here to stay and will likely see regular growth over time. It is entirely possible that as bitcoin grows, bitcoin cash will grow right along with it.