North America’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase will make its NASDAQ debut on April 14 through a direct listing. It will trade under the ticker symbol COIN. In its last filing with the SEC, the San Francisco-based company said its shares were changing hands at $343.58 in private markets, giving it a valuation of approximately $68 billion. It reported net income of $322 million on revenues of $1.14 billion in 2020. Last month, it paid a fine of $6.5 million to the SEC on charges of self-trading its digital assets to inflate volumes at its venue.
Coinbase’s entry into mainstream public markets marks a coming of age for cryptocurrencies, an asset class that has been shunned and criticized by economists, policymakers, and politicians in its 13-year existence. Coinbase’s trajectory reflects crypto’s wild ride. The company’s income is heavily dependent on trading volumes for cryptocurrency. It spikes with an increase in Bitcoin chatter and crashes when the cryptocurrency retreats to the margins. For example, the company’s profits this year are a contrast to its loss of $30 million on revenue of $483 million.
Coinbase is bankrolled by several big names, such as Andreessen Horowitz and Tiger Global Management, in venture capital. Its decision to eschew the traditional IPO process, which involves underwriters who take a cut of the proceeds, will provide them with a big payday, if the company’s share price pops on debut.