Breaking Down the Kraken Announcement

ICONists were treated to some unexpected – but certainly welcome – news today, when the U.S. exchange Kraken announced ICX trading would begin on September 12th.

This is positive news for a few reasons:

  • With Binance’s announcement during the summer that their platform would no longer be available for U.S. customers, it was uncertain if any major exchanges operating in the U.S. would be listing ICX. While a couple smaller exchanges – like VELIC – already provided ICX pairs, Kraken is the first major exchange to launch U.S. trading of ICX.
  • Kraken announced that ICX would trade with the following pairs: ICX/USD, ICX/EUR, ICX/XBT, ICX/ETH. That means there is a direct gateway for U.S. and European customers who want to buy ICX directly with fiat currency. No need to buy another cryptocurrency (on another exchange) in order to purchase ICX. This will make it much easier for retail investors without much cryptocurrency experience to purchase ICX.
  • Kraken doesn’t just list any coin that asks (or pays a listing fee). As an exchange with U.S. operations, they face a higher regulatory bar when it comes to the assets they trade. They aren’t interested in listing projects without potential use cases, capable leadership, or existing liquidity. The fact they’re willing to list ICON sends a signal of confidence throughout the rest of the market. ICONists know this is a good project; Kraken is telling the crypto community that it agrees.

Ever since Litecoin’s price exploded after being listed on Coinbase in 2017, it became a consensus belief that Coinbase would lead to price pumps as a result of it’s volume. This belief may or may not reflect reality in 2019, but it’s nonetheless still led to a lot of “When Coinbase?” discussion among the ICON community. 

However, when it comes to volume, Kraken and Coinbase are basically in the same league. In terms of 24-hr volume, Coinbase is the 46th highest volume, while Kraken is 50th, according to CoinMarketCap.

In terms of liquidity, the listing on Kraken is basically equivalent to a listing on Coinbase – just without the hype. 

So, what now?

Now that ICX has been listed on Kraken, it’s more likely that we’ll see a listing on Coinbase, and perhaps Binance US as well. From the standpoint of Coinbase, decentralization is an important requirement for listing; by the end of this month, ICON will be decentralized.

While uncertainty around listing on these exchanges remains, one thing is certain as of today: U.S.-based ICONists (and future U.S.-based ICONists!) won’t need to worry about access to liquid fiat & crypto trading markets for ICX.