UPDATE (4/1/2019 21:35 UTC): Following the publication of this report, a Coinbase spokesperson told CoinDesk in an email that the service has been available since Coinbase added XRP to its services on Feb. 28.
“It’s primarily designed as an educational resource for customers to learn about the benefits of using crypto for cross-border payments,” the representative said.
Coinbase appears to be offering a “fast and free” payments service for its users, according to the Coinbase website.
The exchange is using two cryptocurrencies for the service, XRP and USDC, the latter of which was launched last fall by Circle affiliate CENTRE. USDC was also the first stablecoin to be listed by Coinbase. XRP was added to Coinbase in late February, a move long sought by supporters of the Ripple-tied token.
Coinbase customers will have access to the no-fee service when sending to other users. Otherwise, Coinbase will charge “a nominal on-chain network fee for sending outside of Coinbase.”
“You can now send money to any user with a Coinbase account around the world using XRP or USDC. By using cryptocurrencies that are optimized for cross-border transmission, you can send and receive money virtually instantly by sending those cryptocurrencies and having the recipient convert them into local currency.”
On the page, Coinbase stresses that what’s being offered “is not a money remittance; rather, it is a cryptocurrency transaction with conversion into local currency after receipt.”
The company also notes that “in countries where Coinbase does not support the local currency, recipients need to transfer their XRP/USDC to an exchange that supports exchanges from XRP/USDC to local currency.”
Coinbase doesn’t seem to have made an official announcement regarding the service. A request for comment wasn’t returned by time of publication.