Blockchain Bites: Bitcoin’s Rich List, Coinbase’s Latest Acquisition

Ripple tried to settle with the SEC before the watchdog’s XRP-related lawsuit. The “bitcoin rich list” has more names than ever. Grayscale reports an uptick in interest from pension funds and Coinbase makes an acquisition to beef up its institutional bitcoin offerings. It has been a huge news day, so buckle up.

Top shelf

Frontrunning action
Ripple tried to settle charges of conducting $1.3 billion worth of unregistered securities transactions when selling XRP to exchanges and the public, before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued in December, CEO Brad Garlinghouse said Wednesday. In a Twitter thread, Garlinghouse addressed what he described as five “key questions” about the SEC’s argument, though he warned that he was limited in what he could say because the case is ongoing. Several exchanges have moved to delist or stop XRP trading.

Pensions or bust
Grayscale is reporting increased “participation” in its flagship bitcoin and crypto investment products from institutions, pensions and endowments, not just hedge funds. Newly named CEO Michael Sonnenshein told Bloomberg, “The sizes of allocations they are making are growing rapidly as well,” with some $27.5 billion in total assets under management. (Grayscale, like CoinDesk, is owned by Digital Currency Group.)

Rich list grows
The number of addresses holding over 1,000 bitcoin stands at a record high of 2,334, indicating that large bitcoin holders have been accumulating bitcoin during the market run-up. This comes after a brief depression in the total number of bitcoin “whales” in December. “The dip and renewed increase at the end of December shows relatively little interest in profit-taking on the part of these large holders, even though almost all holdings are currently in profit,” according to CoinDesk Research’s quarterly review report.

First acquisition of the year
Coinbase has acquired trade execution startup Routefire to bolster the exchange’s suite of institutional…

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