The Hustle

Coinbase is eyeing a $65B+ public debut

Coinbase is winning on trust, high take rates and a crypto bull cycle. Will it continue?


April 14, 2021

Internet browser Netscape went public on Aug. 9, 1995.

In the decades since that date, the phrase “Netscape moment” has been used to signal the mainstreaming of a new industry.

Crypto-trading exchange Coinbase is going public today. With the NASDAQ setting a reference price of $65B+, it could be remembered as the crypto industry’s “Netscape moment.”

In the lead-up to this listing…

… Coinbase shared its Q1 2021 numbers; as detailed by VC Tanay Jaipuria, the results are staggering:

How is Coinbase doing so well?

Jaipuria credits the exchange’s strong results to 2 things:

“As the price of Bitcoin has increased from $7K to ~$60K, trading volumes have increased fourfold (16X when annualized) from $80B (2019) to $335B (Q1 2021),” he writes.

But such a juicy take rate brings competition

And Jaipuria notes that a bear case for Coinbase is that its fees will fall as more players — from consumer fintech (Square, PayPal), brokerages (Fidelity), crypto exchange (Gemini, Binance) — take share.

Crucially, the fintechs and brokerages can subsidize crypto trading with other business lines.

Coinbase’s potential moat is the trusted brand it’s built.

Either way, there will be countless Coinbase winners today from what could be the largest public debut since Facebook’s $104B bonanza in 2012.

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