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Coinbase to Go Public Via Direct Listing

The major cryptocurrency trading platform will bypass a traditional IPO, becoming one of a handful of tech companies to have done so.

Posted: 29th January 2021 by
Jacob Mallinder
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Coinbase, the most prominent cryptocurrency exchange platform in the US, is planning to go public through a direct listing, the firm announced in a statement on Thursday.

The San Francisco-based firm previously stated in December that it had confidentially filed registration documents with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), though it hadn’t disclosed that it would pursue a direct listing rather than a traditional initial public offering. Its statement on Thursday did not detail when the stock would be listed or under which ticker.

The SEC has approved a proposal from the New York Stock Exchange to allow companies to raise primary capital while listing directly, removing what had previously been a significant drawback of bypassing an IPO.

Direct listings enable companies  to skip elements of the standard IPO. The need to price and sell a block of new equity is removed, allowing the firm to simply list its shares to become available for trading. This method usually requires a high degree of visibility to prove attractive.

As it goes public, Coinbase will join a small number of other tech companies that have previously undergone direct listings. Consumer-facing companies like Spotify have listed directly, and online video game company Roblox Corp has also announced its intention to go public via direct listing.

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Founded in 2012, Coinbase allows its users to buy and trade decentralised tokens including bitcoin and Ethereum. It has raised $547.3 million in funds as a private company.

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