Crypto space is growing with institutional money, says Coinbase VP

Institutional investments in cryptocurrency are helping to grow the industry, Coinbase Vice President and General Manager Adam White told CNBC.

“What’s so unique about cryptocurrencies, and in many ways this asset class, [is that it] was driven by retail investors — not institutions,” White said on “Fast Money” Monday.

So it was surprising that his firm, a San Francisco-based digital currency exchange, has had “unprecedented” interest from institutional investors throughout 2017, he said.

The “institutional conversations have become more and more profound,” White said. In response, his firm has opened a New York office and launched new products and services.

Last Friday, Coinbase, which is also the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S., announced it was considering adding five coins to its platform, including cardano, basic attention token, stellar lumens, Zcash and 0x. All five assets moved higher after the announcement.

“The idea of adding new assets is very simply: our customers want it,” White said.

But so far, none of the coins have been approved, and it’s not yet been determined if they are securities. The company said in a blog post on Friday that some of the assets may have limited functions, and may only be available in some countries.

The firm has previously been cautious about the addition of new tokens despite user demand, as the cryptocurrency universe endured increased regulatory scrutiny. Up until now, Coinbase has only listed four coins on its platform.

“We have a long-term vision for the space,” White said. “And we are focused on building the exchange, the wallet, the custodian, that allows capital to move into the space.”

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