When does Coinbase go public? The crypto exchange platform explained, is it safe - and how to buy shares

Coinbase became the first cryptocurrency exchange platform to direct list its shares to IPO

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 2:23 pm

Coinbase has made history by becoming the first cryptocurrency exchange platform to be directly listed as an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the United States.

The company broke new ground in the crypto community by offering its previously privately owned shares to the public in a new stock issuance on Wednesday 14 April.

It has been heralded as another significant milestone in the crypto revolution, which has seen digital currencies like Bitcoin and Dogecoin surge in popularity since the start of 2021.

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Coinbase is listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, which typically trades technology and internet-related companies, and is second in size to only the New York Stock Exchange. (Pic: Shutterstock)

Garry Tan, Initialized Capital Managing Partner, invested early in Coinbase.

He said: “Crypto is software eating money, and it's happening in the real world, not some shadow imaginary realm. Coinbase is the keystone to connecting the crypto world with the real world. That's why it's such a powerful moment for all of us.”

What is Coinbase?

Coinbase is a cryptocurrency exchange platform founded in 2012 by former Airbnb engineer Brian Armstrong and one-time Goldman Sachs trader Fred Ehrsam.

The company is named after coinbase transactions which introduce cryptocurrencies into circulation, starting with service to buy and sell Bitcoin through bank transfers.

It has since added Ethereum and Litecoin among its cryptocurrencies and has become a digital stablecoin for customers to exchange physical currency for cryptocurrency.

The company also has a Coinbase Card, which allows customers to spend cryptocurrency anywhere Visa cards are accepted in the US, as well as a payment service for merchants.

Is Coinbase safe?

Coinbase is the largest crypto platform in the US and up until the start of the Covid pandemic was based in San Francisco's Silicon Valley, until it moved to remote operations.

It is the second largest crypto platform in the world, by volume, to Bitcoin, according to MarketWatch, which reports Coinbase’s value at over $65 billion (£47.25b).

A review on bitdegree.org gave Coinbase a 9.8 rating and stated that the crypto platform has more than 40 licences to operate in the US alone, one of 31 countries it can legally operate in.

The review states: “Coinbase keeps its assets insured, so you can’t technically lose any of your money by hacking and theft! Another thing that makes Coinbase so safe to use is the fact that it can’t be used anonymously.”

It offers words of caution that any online exchange is “never 100% safe” but adds “Coinbase is one of the safest web wallets you can use”.

How can I buy Coinbase shares?

Coinbase is listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, which typically trades technology and internet-related companies, and is second in size to only the New York Stock Exchange.

Coinbase will trade under the ticker ‘COIN’ as a direct listing, which MarketWatch clarifies as meaning “it isn’t raising any new money, as a company would under a traditional IPO”.

Traders wanting to invest or buy and sell shares in Coinbase can do so through brokers such as Binance, IG UK, Hargreaves Lansdown, Etoro and Fineco.