Why Did Coinbase List ETC?

Part 1: The Tech and Community

ETC is going to be listed on Coinbase. ETC fans are obviously over the moon. This listing gives us exposure to a wider audience. It shows that sticking to your principles is both vital and valuable.

Me every day since

XRP fans have lost their minds.

Shh. Shh. Is okay.

A small contingent of ETH fanatics are hurling FUD and misinformation.

First 3 seconds = how they see themselves. Next 3 = how they are.

However, many are simply confused. Why is ETC listed? What does it bring to the table that other chains do not? How is it different?. These are fair questions; and I’ll do my best to answer them below.

Before we begin, if you’re a supporter of an unlisted currency then I’m sorry your coin did not get a listing announcement this week. It says nothing about what Coinbase does in the future. Moreover, a success of one does not determine the failure of another. Try and remember that.

The GDAX Digital Asset Framework

First and foremost, no Coinbase did not list ETC because they are “lazy” or because they want to pump-and-dump ETC. This is a huge exchange with scores of talented engineers that pulls in ungodly amounts of money daily. Risking that is incredibly irrational.

Instead, let’s look at the criteria for GDAX and how ETC performs within it. While not Coinbase-specific there is certainly going to be a lot of overlap; plus these are some pretty common-sense guidelines.

Open Financial System

At our core we solve the need for a proven, decentralized, and immutable blockchain where mission-critical transactions and smart contracts cannot be censored. This gives everyone using ETC the freedom to use it how they want.

Freedom looks like this.

ETCDEV, for example, is building out improvements for machine-to-machine communication using ETC with SputnikVM. This project will allow a lot more devices, particularly low-powered devices, to interface with ETC. By extension more devices working with ETC means more accessibility for end users.

Staying open and accessible requires staying decentralized. We approach decentralization on two fronts: mining and community.

On the mining side our blockchain is staying PoW; which is the only field-proven decentralization method. We’re also working to bring as many mining manufacturers on board as possible so that no one group can control our chain. ASICs are unavoidable for PoW. Resisting them will lead to more centralization. This is too big to cover here so if interested please read this article by David Vorick.

7 miners are better than 1; 4 pictured

For community we have very distributed control. No single person or group can shutdown, abridge, or censor communication across channels. This prevents contentious changes. In our model, failure to achieve consensus is a halt rather than something that can be forced or coerced through.


We are open source and working in production without issue since 2015. We were robust enough in 2016 to survive a sudden loss of development funding. Since then we’ve become stronger and well supported.

Our teams have a track record of solid development of our core clients and rapidly respond to security issues. We don’t mess around. During the recent Parity consensus issue we responded within minutes of being notified and did heavy outreach to miners and node operators. Darcy Reno and I worked very late that night.

Me last week.


Most blockchains have only one core team that does everything. We have several strong teams supporting ETC software, community, and 3rd party application development. You can learn more about each by following the links on our teams page. A quick explanation:

  • Core network: ETCDEV and IOHK
  • Developer tools: ETCDEV
  • Community: IOHK and ETC Cooperative
  • 3rd Party Development: ETC Labs
  • Wallets: ETCDEV, Ethereum Commonwealth, & many multi-coin wallets

Our teams push out regular updates to very stable and reliable software. They take a mission-critical approach and prefer a steady and incremental release cycle to rapid move-fast-and-break-things development. This provides a more secure and reliable network. It’s less flashy but we don’t like flash or making promises we can’t keep.


We have a successful ECIP process that has led to multiple high-consensus hard forks. Our previously-mentioned community structure ensures this.

ETCDEV and IOHK self-fund their own projects while ETC Cooperative, ETC Labs, and the Community Fund are all available to fund future development. Good ideas must make it through a substantial majority of our community and teams in order to end up on chain. Think 90/10 and not 55/45.

Attempting consensus is hard


ETCDEV is creating Sidechains to allow for off-chain scaling of ETC this year and developing on-chain scaling solutions for 2019 onwards. You can track the progress on the roadmap.

An extensive explanation of Sidechains can be found on ETCDEV’s Github. They’ll support a variety of consensus methods that allow businesses to choose what works best for them while our main chain remains open and permissionless.

Developer Friendliness

ETC is becoming much more developer friendly with ETCDEV’s Emerald Platform. This project will make development of ETC programs and contracts quicker, easier, and more secure.

An excellent example of what Emerald Platform can do is Emerald Wallet which was built with this project. I recommend you install and try it. If you don’t want to check out my review of Emerald Wallet at the end of this article.

In Conclusion

ETC has all the key fundamentals of a cryptocurrency. We are our own blockchain with active development and a no-hype mentality. We are very much alive and thriving. So get excited for the future of ETC because I certainly am.

Stay tuned for part 2 where I dive into the economics of ETC. After all, we’ve got a lot going for us on that front too:

  • We have incredibly high volume relative to market cap. This implies that our coins are liquid and freely circulating like a currency should be. Not heavily locked up in crowdsale contracts and founder’s accounts. The latter is unfortunately common and a systemic risk for many coins.
  • We’re on every major exchange across the globe. Fiat/ETC pairs were the last holdout.
  • We do 2x the transactions of Bitcoin Cash and are neck-and-neck with Litecoin. Since we’re account-based (rather than UTXO-based) we’re at least twice as efficient on simple value transfers.