Coinbase Confidentially Files for Public Offering

  • The firm has submitted draft registration on “Form S-1”, which is required for both Initial Public Offerings and direct listings.
  • Coinbase was valued at $8 billion in 2018, but new estimations place the firm closer to $28 billion.
Coinbase co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018. Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has taken the first step towards a public offering by filing a draft registration with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the firm said in a blog post on 17 December.

According to the announcement, the firm has submitted draft registration on “Form S-1”, which is required for both Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) and direct listings. While the information in the form is confidential, we do know that Coinbase was valued at $8 billion back in 2018. By going through the firm’s business segments — such as trading, custody, and debit cards — research company Messari estimated that the current value of the company should be close to $28 billion. Messari wrote:

“This listing is important even for Token valuations as Coinbase will provide a valuation anchor — not only for future equity listings — but also for crypto-native exchange tokens.”

While it remains unclear if Coinbase will to go public through and IPO or a direct listing, rumors of the firm eyeing an IPO have been floating around since July, when Reuters cited “three people familiar with the matter”. Either way, Coinbase’s draft registration is still awaiting the SEC’s review. The firm wrote:

“The Form S-1 is expected to become effective after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.”

Coinbase is one of the biggest names in crypto, with it having influence in many corners of the industry. The firm is already one of the largest gateways for cryptocurrency trading in the world, not to mention it has released a popular stablecoin in partnership with Circle. Coinbase has also been working hard throughout 2020 in releasing new products for its customers, such as its bitcoin-backed loans released in August, which allow customers to borrow up to 30% of their BTC holdings in cash.

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