According to three people familiar with Coinbase, Coinbase has launched plans for a stock market listing, which may come early this year, which is the first US cryptocurrency exchange to go public.
The listing would require the blessings of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It was the watchdog to watch, it represented a historic victory for cryptocurrency advocates for mainstream support.
Coinbase may pursue listings later this year or early next year, with sources saying plans are still subject to change. Sources said the company has not yet registered an intention to go public with the SEC, but is in talks to talk to investment banks and law firms.
Sources requested anonymity because the listing’s preparation is confidential. A Coinbase spokesperson said the company does not comment on rumors or speculation. The SEC declined to comment.
Although the SEC has stated that some cryptocurrencies may be treated as securities and subject to regulation, specific guidance on most virtual coins is yet to be issued. Many cryptocurrencies have struggled to gain legitimacy among mainstream investors and caution a general public of their speculative nature and ability to money laundering.
Valid for $ 8 billion
One of the sources said that Coinbase, which was valued at more than $ 8 billion in its latest private fundraising round in 2018, is going public through direct listings rather than a traditional initial public offering (IPO).
In a direct listing, a company does not sell new shares as it would in an IPO and existing investors are not bound by the lock-up restrictions when they can divest their holdings after the start of the market.
Established in 2012, Coinbase is one of the most well-known cryptocurrency platforms worldwide and has over 35 million users who trade various virtual coins including bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP.
New York Stock Exchange, BBVA and former Citigroup Inc. CEO Vikram Pandit are among those who have invested in the San Francisco-based company. It was one of the top beneficiaries of the bitcoin boom in 2017, a year in which the original cryptocurrency grew from $ 1,000 to about $ 20,000. Bitcoin is currently close to $ 9,400.
On Wednesday, Coinbase said it has appointed Facebook Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal as its chief legal officer.