It’s not every day we get a glimpse into what it takes for a cryptocurrency to get a listing on a major exchange. But today we learn the lengths that Ripple, the No. 3 digital coin by market cap, would go to get its XRP coin listed on the leading trading platforms alongside bitcoin and Ethereum.
According to a report in Bloomberg, the cross-border payments startup is willing to pay millions to get XRP listed on the US trading platforms where there’s the most liquidity. The report says that Ripple offered “financial incentives” to bitcoin exchanges Gemini of Winklevoss twins fame as well as Coinbase in exchange for a listing. It’s standard procedure to pay for a listing in the equities markets, but not necessarily the loosely unregulated cryptocurrency markets.
Ripple reportedly offered $1 million cash money to Gemini for a Q3 2017 listing and proposed a loan of $100 million in XRP to Coinbase with which investors could trade on the exchange. The report suggests that Ripple would have taken repayment either in fiat money or XRP, which would have given the US-based exchange an opportunity to profit from the deal.
A Ripple spokesperson denied some of the details, though which ones are unclear, telling Bloomberg: “We want XRP to be the most liquid digital asset possible to enable faster, cheaper global payments.”
But market participants worry that when US policymakers clarify the regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, XRP will fall in the securities camp. Meanwhile, the greater the speculation that more leading exchanges will support XRP, the more the digital coin’s price has benefited, such as at year-end 2017 and last month, for instance.
It’s not that traders don’t want XRP, as they have been demanding it on forums and in social media. But Ripple hasn’t been able to secure a listing on these major US trading platforms. This despite the fact that San Francisco-based Ripple has been the one blockchain startup that’s been able to bridge the gap between cryptocurrency companies and traditional banks around the world.
According to Autonomous Research, it can cost an issuer anywhere from $1 million to $3 million for a listing, with the higher end of the spectrum providing faster access to liquidity. An attorney cited in the Bloomberg story says what Ripple proposed to Coinbase and Gemini may very well be legal.
But where the gray area comes in is whether or not XRP gets characterized as a security token, in which case that muddies the water. For instance, if regulators decide XRP is an unregulated security, as they’ve been labeling some ICO tokens of late, it could lead to problems both for Ripple and the exchanges that support it.