In brief

  • Coinbase has filed for its initial public offering.
  • The filing confirms rumors that have been circulating for months.
  • The IPO caps an eventful year for the largest American crypto company.

San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has filed the necessary paperwork to officially go public with an IPO.

The exchange made the announcement today via a tweet and accompanying blog post, which stated that it had "submitted a draft registration statement on Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

Reuters first reported that the company was plotting an IPO this past summer. At the time, Coinbase was in talks with investment banks and law firms about the idea, but had not yet filed its intentions with the SEC, according to the report.

It’s unclear what, if anything, changed since July, though its announcement today comes at an opportune time: Bitcoin has surpassed its 2017 all-time high by $3,000, trading for just above $23,000, and the eyes of the financial world are once again squarely on the crypto asset.

"I believe that this will be a monster IPO and the first of many to come in 2021," said Meltem Demirors, CoinShares CSO, in a statement. "This and future IPOs will further enable investors at both an institutional and retail level to get more pure-play exposure to crypto-assets."

"As an investor in over 250 crypto companies over the last six years, I believe that this will be the first meaningful exit, which means more allocation to crypto companies going forward," Demirors said.

It’s been a big year for Bitcoin—and for Coinbase, now the largest American crypto company.

Crypto-minded VC Marc Andreesen joined the board back in August, and company brokered a deal for MicroStrategy (led by Michael Saylor) to purchase hundreds millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin earlier this year, which may have helped kickstart the bull run that’s picked up steam over the past couple months.

Coinbase has seen a fair amount of controversy, too. In September, CEO Brian Armstrong wrote a letter to employees insisting that politics be kept out of the workplace; the stance caused about 5% of the company’s workforce to leave the company.

And last month, the New York Times reported that 15 Black employees left Coinbase in 2018 and 2019, citing what they saw as a racist company culture—at the time, they represented three quarters of all Black employees at the 600-person company.

Coinbase did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the IPO.

Editor's note: This story was updated after publication to provide additional details and clarity regarding Coinbase's IPO.