Image source: Coinbase Global
By Noor Zainab Hussain, Joshua Franklin
(Reuters) – Coinbase Global Inc, the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, said on Wednesday recent private market transactions had valued the company at around $68 billion this year ahead of a planned stock market listing.
The eye-popping valuation underscores how the perceived value of Coinbase has rallied in lock-step with the surge in the price of cryptocurrency bitcoin.
In a regulatory filing, Coinbase said its shares in the private market traded at a weighted average price of $343.58 apiece in the first quarter of 2021 through March 15, up from $28.83 per share in the third quarter ended Sept. 30.
That represents a nearly 13-fold jump in its valuation in the space of a few months. According to data platform PitchBook, Coinbase was valued at a shade over $8 billion during its last private fundraise in October 2018.
Coinbase’s implied potential valuation eclipses that of New York Stock Exchange parent ICE, Nasdaq Inc and the London Stock Exchange, and puts it $4 billion short of futures exchange operator CME Group, according to Refinitiv data.
The latest filing from Coinbase also signals heightened confidence that the listing will be approved by regulators.
A successful listing by Coinbase, whose business is primarily focused on digital currencies, would represent a landmark victory for cryptocurrency advocates vying for endorsement for a sector that has struggled to win the trust of mainstream investors, regulators and the general public.
It could also be seen as a tacit regulatory approval of assets traded on Coinbase’s platform. The company has more than 43 million users in more than 100 countries.
Coinbase did not indicate in the latest filing if it had received approval from regulators that would allow it to trade cryptocurrencies that have been classified as securities in the United States.
San Francisco-based Coinbase’s potential listing also comes at a time when the value of bitcoin continues to surge, it hit a record high of $61,781.83 on Saturday. The price of the digital currency has fallen since then as investors consolidated gains and on news of plans by India to ban cryptocurrencies.
A regulatory filing last month, which provided the first detailed look at Coinbase’s finances since it was founded in 2012, showed it swung to a profit last year as bitcoin surged.
Coinbase, among the most well-known cryptocurrency platforms globally, has registered about 114.9 million shares for its listing, according to its filing.
The low and high sale price per share in the private market was $200.00 and $375.01, respectively, in the quarter through March 15.
In December, Coinbase confidentially submitted paperwork with the U.S. regulator to go public through a direct listing. This means it is not selling any shares ahead of its market debut.
Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru and Joshua Franklin in New York; Writing by Anirban Sen; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta.