Silicon Valley-based cryptocurrency platform Coinbase announced Monday plans to add a fifth digital asset to its trading service. Ethereum classic (ETC), jumped from around $13 to $16 in the one-hour period following the news posted on the Coinbase blog. The addition of the cryptocurrency, which is an off-shoot of the better-known ethereum, reflects Coinbase's broader move to add new assets to its platform now that it boasts more account holders than Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW). (See also: Coinbase Tries to Reel in Institutional Investors.)

Ethereum classic, created in 2016 by a group of developers who objected to a modification of the original cryptocurrency, is the 18th-largest digital coin by market capitalization, at about $1.5 billion, compared to ethereum's $52.5 billion and bitcoin's $115.8 billion. Trading at a price of $15.07 at 14:00 UTC, according to CoinMarketCap, ETC has lost nearly half of its value in 2018 as the digital currency market suffers through a period of heightened volatility following all-time highs reached at the end of 2017

Top US Platform Seeks to Expand Offerings

The ethereum classic listing should be the first of many for Coinbase this year, and will join bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum and litecoin

"As part of this process, customers can expect to see public-facing APIs and other signs that the asset is being added. When we reach the final testing phase of the technical integration, which we expect to occur over the next few months, we will publicly announce a launch date for trading via our blog and Twitter," read the Coinbase blog. 

This week's announcement comes as the digital currency exchange reiterated an intention to add support for ERC20 tokens, the type that are generated by an initial coin offering (ICO), a cross between an initial public offering (IPO) and crowdfunding, by which startups offer digital tokens instead of stock to backers. 

A Cautious Approach

The most popular trading service in the U.S. has been cautious to add a larger selection of digital currencies, as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) weighs whether it will consider various digital assets as securities, which are subject to regulatory oversight regarding proper licensing.

"Also, any personnel at Coinbase who were aware of the company’s plans to add Ethereum Classic were subject to a trading blackout," read the blog. Coinbase had been accused of offering insiders an opportunity to trade early on news of the addition of bitcoin cash to its platform back in December. (See also: Why Coinbase Bought a Broker-Dealer.)