Ether, the digital currency used by the Ethereum platform, has gained traction among financial institutions like Barclays and UBS. Corporations such as IBM have also expressed interest in the technology and how it could enable communications and transactions between connected devices in an internet-of-things world.
According to Adam White, Coinbase VP of business development, bitcoin and ether are not necessarily competitors, meaning the addition of ether could help boost trading volumes for the exchange. Ether is the second most widely traded cryptocurrency behind bitcoin, with $44 million in average daily trading volume compared to bitcoin’s $134 million. And while both digital assets can serve as alternative currencies, ether can also be used to help developers build and run distributed applications and smart contracts on the Ethereum platform. Ethereum is a public decentralized blockchain, co-founded and created by Russian-Canadian programmer Vitalik Buterin.
Coinbase is expected to make an official announcement on Tuesday, March 24.
Pictured (let to right): Business Development Managers Nahid Samsami and Roger Gu demonstrated Coinbase Instant Exchange at FinovateSpring 2014 in San Jose.
The decision to add ether comes as part of a rebranding of Coinbase’s exchange service. The platform will be renamed “GDAX” (Global Digital Asset Exchange). The company will continue to provide basic “dollar for bitcoin/ether” conversions under the Coinbase brand.
Recent headlines for Coinbase include earning a spot on Fast Company’s Most Innovative list back in February. The company was featured in a round up of blockchain-powered digital wallets in April and added stop orders to its exchange platform in March. Coinbase enabled bitcoin purchases by debit card in March, as well,
Founded in 2012 and headquartered in San Francisco, Coinbase demonstrated its Instant Exchange technology at FinovateSpring 2014. The bitcoin wallet and platform has 3.8 million users and has raised more than $106 million from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, BBVA, USAA, and Ribbit Capital.