Crypto Long & Short: How Coinbase Going Public Is Reshaping Trust in Markets

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The data divulged in Coinbase’s long-awaited S-1 filing is eye-opening. But it’s what the document means for the crypto markets of today and the capital markets of tomorrow that is more meaningful.

Finally, what we’ve been waiting for: the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commisison has published Coinbase’s S-1, clearing the way for a direct listing on Nasdaq.

While some major details are still missing (most notably when they plan to list), we now have a glimpse into how a major crypto exchange works, what it’s worried about and just how much the market is growing.

The figures are indeed eye-opening: in the fourth quarter of 2020, the number of verified users on Coinbase’s platform reached 43 million after adding almost 45,000 new users a day. The average number of monthly transacting users grew by over 30% in the fourth quarter alone, to 2.8 million.

Also eye-opening is the inflow of institutional investors, something that we’ve talked about often in this column. Over the fourth quarter, institutional trading volume grew over 110% to $57 billion, while retail trading volume grew by almost 80%. The company services 7,000 institutional accounts.

The Coinbase filing gave everyone who works in this industry something to chew on. There was the bold vision, the numbers, the services overview, and some details on their recent acquisitions. There was even a nod to Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, who was featured on the front page as a designated recipient of copies of the filing documents.

And for those interested in the future of work, the customary physical location of the filer was given as “Address not applicable,” with the footnote: “In May 2020, we became a remote-first company. Accordingly, we do not maintain a headquarters.”

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