Coinbase Clarifies Token Listing Policy

The US crypto exchange shared its asset listing process after insider trading fears and deteriorating volumes


Blockworks exclusive art by Axel Rangel


key takeaways

  • Listing an asset on Coinbase is a fee-free process, but compliance and safety are top priorities
  • Altcoins may be delisted if they fail to meet standards, or if new facts emerge

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase laid out its asset listing process that shows no attached fees. Issuers won’t be charged to apply and list their assets on the crypto exchange, the company said in a blog post published on Tuesday. 

The first step for asset issuers wanting to list an altcoin is to create a Coinbase “Asset Hub” account and submit an application with pertinent details.

A special in-house committee called the Digital Asset Listing Group then makes a decision based on a review from a compliance, legal, and security perspective. CEO Brian Armstrong and other board members aren’t voting members of the group, according to the company.

“Our philosophy is to list every safe and compliant asset — we’re not here to pick winners or losers,” Coinbase said in its blog.

Upon approval by the DALG, the asset gets listed on Coinbase. Mere approval does not imply an endorsement of the asset — simply that it meets the exchange’s listing criteria, the crypto exchange stated. Coinbase further warned that an asset may be delisted if it ceases to meet required standards, or if new facts are uncovered. 

The publication of the asset listing process comes about a month after Coinbase announced a modification to its approach amid insider trading allegations.

Some observers pointed out that large sums were being poured into tokens right before their listings were announced on Coinbase. Armstrong acknowledged the allegations, saying the company works with external law firms that use blockchain forensic analysis to detect unwarranted activity by Coinbase employees.

The concern is not unique to Coinbase. In May, the Wall Street Journal highlighted analysis from a small New York startup specializing in compliance, that points to insider trading activity on the world’s largest cryptoasset exchange, Binance.

Coinbase offers 212 assets for custody and 172 for trading. Coinbase’s shares are down 72.8% so far this year, according to data from Tradingview. Total trading volume in the first quarter fell 44% from the prior quarter to $309 billion.


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