The “Coinbase Effect”: How the exchange’s IPO success is changing the crypto world

The following article was written by Richard Perona, VP of Institutional FX at Advanced Markets LLC.

Coinbase Global, Inc., the first company of its kind without an official, physical headquarters, went public on 14 April 2021.

Founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam from a $150K start up incubator, now it is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States by trading volume and has almost 43 million verified users (almost 4 times that of Robinhood).

Last month Coinbase went public on the Nasdaq exchange via a direct stock listing. Coinbase’s (COIN) stock opened at $381, valuing the company at almost $86 billion, peaked at $429.54 and then dropped.

Coinbase reported in its SEC filing net revenue of $1.14 billion in 2020, up from $483 million the previous year. The company also saw net income of $322 million for the year after posting a loss in 2019. The platform holds $90 billion worth of crypto assets out of $782 billion worth on the crypto market.

Fortune wrote last moth about the “Coinbase Effect” – a new phenomenon in the crypto world. It is observed that the price of cryptocurrencies, planned to be listed for sale on a dominant crypto exchange such as Coinbase, started to increase in the days after the listing news becomes public. The cryptocurrencies listed on the exchange influence which cryptocurrencies gain acceptance and which ones are left behind.

Pro crypto analysts describe Coinbase’s listing as a turning point, while others say that that it is only because crypto has now become more widespread. Some even caution that implied valuation for the company as a crypto exchange has become too high compared to traditional stock exchanges such as Nasdaq Inc.

Lisa Ellis, an analyst from Moffett Nathanson, urged investors to have a long-term investment strategy, at least for one year in the future on bitcoin, because it could still go to zero. She said that a three-year plan is better as crypto complex cycles of boom and bust tend to happen over three years.

Advanced Markets compares this to the FX world and examines if the Coinbase’s IPO success can be replicated. According to their research on merger/acquisition deals of FX brokerages “there has been an average of $3.6 million median capital invested per year and a total of $6.3 billion dollars invested in the past 12 years.” Valuation of FX Brokerage considers tangible assets, intangible assets and goodwill. The article states that “tangible assets assume the highest weighting, including the financial license, clients and IBs, software license and others. Intangible assets are human talents, reputations and leads lists.”

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