Tremors passed through the stock market as America’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc. announced on Thursday that it has confidentially applied with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to go public. This move, coming soon after popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin hit a record high and passed the $50,000 milestone for the first time, will make Coinbase the first major US cryptocurrency exchange to list under the stock market.
The company announced that it would not raise any proceeds in the transaction.
The cryptocurrency exchange is also set to be the first major direct listing on the NASDAQ, since all previous ones, including Spotify Technology SA, Slack Technologies Inc., Asana Inc., and Palantir Technologies Inc., were listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Coinbase started in 2012 and is also the hope for major cryptocurrencies across the globe to finally attract mainstream investors and the public, who have remained skeptical due to their speculative nature and potential for money laundering. The platform currently has more than 35 million users in more than 100 countries. It was valued at more than $8 in December 2018 after it had raised $300 million from a funding round that year.
The cryptocurrency exchange has already raised more than $500 million to date from investors that include Andreessen Horowitz, Y Combinator, and Greylock Partners.
The company had a strong year in 2020, reporting a net income of $127.5 million on net revenue of $1.28 billion for 2020. Its revenue more than doubled from 2019, and it also grew over 139% last year. This is not surprising at all, as cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether saw their values balloon up to never seen before values, and it’s natural that the effect would ripple into Coinbase as well.
Cryptocurrencies have soared in demand in 2020, buoyed by the tide of monetary and fiscal stimulus to fight the impact of the pandemic. Bitcoin has soared in recent weeks thanks to Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Bitcoin and Ethereum, another cryptocurrency, make up a majority of Coinbase’s net revenue.
The company said that the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies remains their main concern. “If demand for these crypto-assets declines and is not replaced by new demand for crypto assets, our business, operating results, and financial condition could be adversely affected,” the filing said.