- Coinbase launches crypto lending for US institutions, drawing $57 million in just a few days.
- Regulatory hurdles and past setbacks in the crypto lending industry pose challenges.
- Coinbase’s vision aims to revolutionize the century-old financial system using digital assets.
Coinbase, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange, has announced its newest initiative: a crypto lending platform specifically designed for institutional investors in the US. This decision emerges in light of recent disruptions in the crypto lending landscape.
A Deep Dive into Coinbase’s Institutional Lending
On September 6, an official from Coinbase shared details about their institutional-grade crypto lending platform. This service is an addition to their current offering, Coinbase Prime. The official stated, “Coinbase is initiating a digital asset lending program for its institutional Prime clients.” Importantly, this platform allows institutions to lend digital assets to Coinbase under standardized conditions. Moreover, it aligns with a Regulation D exemption.
Recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission data reveals that the lending program has garnered $57 million since its start on August 28. By September 1, it had piqued the interest of five investors.
Coinbase’s new product reflects its broader vision. An official highlighted their aim to “revise the financial system established over 100 years ago.” They see crypto as a tool to offer individuals enhanced economic freedom and opportunity. However, it’s crucial to note that Coinbase had previously ventured into lending. In May 2023, they suspended new loan issuances on Coinbase Borrow, a scheme that permitted users to obtain up to $1 million using Bitcoin as collateral. This fresh institutional initiative also operates under Coinbase Credit, the entity responsible for Coinbase Borrow.
The Road Ahead: Challenges and Controversies
Before this announcement, the U.S. SEC had taken issue with Coinbase over the alleged offering and sale of unregistered securities. This centered on its crypto staking services, where users could earn yields by lending their crypto to the platform. Coinbase countered these claims, asserting that their staking services weren’t securities. As a result, they temporarily ceased their staking program in four states: California, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.
Beyond these hurdles, the crypto lending sector encountered a significant setback last year. Key entities like BlockFi, Celsius, and Genesis Global faced bankruptcy. This was largely attributed to a liquidity shortage during the 2022 bear market. Some crypto observers argue that the industry needs to extract lessons from these downturns. They stress the need to tackle challenges related to short-term assets and liabilities.
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