Coinbase expands USDC trading to 85 countries in a bid to onboard more customers

Quick Take

  • Coinbase announced today that trading of stablecoin USDC is now available in 85 countries and its crypto-to-crypto trading is live in 103 countries
  • The firm is tapping into some global markets with demonstrated interest in crypto and leveraging stablecoins as a gateway to onboard more customers
  • The global expansion will also render Coinbase a stronger rival against popular exchanges like Binance 

Coinbase has deepened its reach around the globe and is leveraging stablecoins as a gateway to onboard global investors into crypto trading. 

The San Francisco-based crypto exchange announced on Tuesday that it has added stablecoin USD Coins (USDC) trading to 85 countries and launched crypto-to-crypto trading in 50 new ones. USDC was born out of a joint venture between Coinbase and fellow exchange Circle, called the CENTRE Consortium. The company now has a presence in a total of 103 countries, where customers can access both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro, its professional trading platform. 

Coinbase's ambition for global presence is nothing new. Less than a month ago, the exchange made its crypto-to-crypto trading available in 11 more countries. Now the company is putting a new spin to its global offering by allowing USDC trading. With its price being less volatile, Stablecoin like USDC usually acts as a gateway for new investors to tap into the crypto market. Coinbase thus hopes that its USDC-crypto trading pairs can attract more people around the globe to trade the new asset class. 

"We’re welcoming more people around the world to trade between different cryptocurrencies on a trusted platform," Coinbase stated in the blog post. "This helps accelerate the global adoption of crypto trading, and with USDC, enables access to a stable store of value." 

Some of the newly enlisted countries already showed strong interest in crypto trading prior to Coinbase's entrance. For example, Turkey's fiat currency lira is ranked as the fifth most-popular fiat-to-crypto pair in the world, per CoinDesk. Meanwhile, BBC reported that Kenya's total Bitcoin transactions are worth over $1.5 million. 

The exchange also claimed that USDC can be beneficial to customers in countries like Argentina and Uzbekistan, where inflation rates are high. To make more stablecoins available for daily usage in these countries, Coinbase committed to increasing its USDC circulation, which is at over 300 million USDC now.

With a presence across six continents, Coinbase will very likely run head-to-head with Binance, one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world that is trading in over 190 countries. Meanwhile, USDC also faces competition from other stablecoins such as PAX and Tether. The 300 million USDC in circulation is just a fraction of Tether's 2.8 billion, although the latter's clash with New York Attorney General may drive investors to alternatives. Paxos, the issuer of PAX, is also stepping up in the game by offering immediate conversion between the stablecoins and USD on its revamped platform. 

Whether Coinbase could onboard more global customers or cede the regional dominance of its stablecoin trading and exchange business remains to be seen, but the company is on track for a strong global presence. 

"Today’s news is an important milestone for Coinbase and crypto adoption everywhere," the company stated in the blog post. "A year ago, Coinbase was only available to customers in 32 countries... Today, we serve customers in 103 countries across every major continent."

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